He issued a tweet before boarding the plane, a propos his Glasgow arrival. "If there's not a red carpet, Irn-Bru, a chippy, the First Minister, fruit gums and loads of people waving Saltires I'll be raging," quipped the frontman of the Top 40 band,who soundtracked last Sunday's Red Bull Stratos space jump.
McTrusty touched down on Tuesday morning to pouring rain and a Glasgow warehouse, but with Twin Atlantic's biggest-ever UK headline tour approaching, there's a fair bet that the flailing insignias, fried food and jellied confections will follow.
Meanwhile, the newly-moustachioed McTrusty is reunited with his bandmates to discuss a year that's seen them spend 20 weeks on the Radio 1 playlist, grace the covers of Kerrang and Rock Sound, win the public vote in the Scottish Album of the Year Award, and enter the Top 40 with their debut long-player, Free (the follow-up to 2009's mini-LP, Vivarium). They also reflect on what they might have done if they hadn't formed a rock band – hence the warehouse full of abacuses, cameras, orchestral instruments and golf clubs.
The golfing kit belongs to McTrusty, who formed Twin Atlantic with Ross McNae (bass, piano), Barry McKenna (guitar, cello) and Craig Kneale (drums) in Glasgow in 2007. He's allied with the gilded likes of Alice Cooper, Lloyd Cole and Justin Timberlake as a golf-playing pop star.
"I was thinking about this the other day – golf and music are the only two things that I've ever disciplined myself to learn," the singer and guitarist offers. "I got into golf through my dad playing, and it's not like you just automatically stand up and hit the ball – you have to work at it every day for years, you need that determination, you have to teach yourself discipline, and that's probably the first time I did that. I think everything I learned from that I eventually transferred on to the guitar, and into music. Then it just grew arms and legs."
McTrusty also studied drawing and painting – does he think the visual aspect of creativity informs his songwriting?
"Yeah, they're kind of the same approach," he nods. "If you had to listen to a song that only I'd worked on they'd probably be really close – but no-one would ever get to hear those songs at that stage because they'd be awful," he laughs. "That's kind of how we work together – Barry and Ross have got a knowledge of how music actually works, the theory and training, whereas Craig and I are selftaught and kind of go with instinct. That's how I paint too."
It's also why art school didn't agree with him.
"I liked art, but it was meant to be a personal escape for me. I didn't like having to explain my work – I always felt like as soon as it had been explained, it wasn't worth showing to anyone else. Sorry, that sounds really Morrissey-esque," he deadpans.
So McTrusty takes a sketch or abstract of a song to the band and they develop it together? "Yeah, nine times out of 10, that's how it'll be," he says."There'll be a skeleton of chords, a rough idea of words and melody and then we just work on it, until someone comes up with a part that completely changes the idea of the song – Craig'll have a drumbeat I'd have never imagined, or a bass or guitar part will change the whole groove."
Barry McKenna believes his classical background and tenure as an RSAMD junior opened up musical worlds to him (and by extension, to Twin Atlantic), but it was not without its drawbacks.
"I've played cello since I was seven, and as I got older and played in more serious orchestras, I was taught all about posture and the visual side of performance.They train you to become almost motionless, to express everything through the music – we had one conductor who'd throw his baton at people if he caught them moving at all," he says. "So when I came to be onstage with the band, I'd be stood there with the guitar and I had this total rigid thing going on. I realised I looked like a bit of a serial killer," he laughs. "I had to teach myself to loosen up and enjoy myself onstage again."
Does McKenna think that learning to channel his feelings into the music has impacted on the band's intensity or dynamic? "Yeah, and I guess my background's also helped me look at the guitar slightly differently," he says. He identifies Dvorak, Saint-Saens, Mahler, "and a lot of baroque music – Bach and those guys" as enduring classical favourites.
Ross McNae also studied piano and trumpet from an early age, and later picked up his dad's guitars, but his first love was photography. "My dad was a photographer, and his cameras would always fascinate me – I've actually just realised I'm slowly retracing his steps," he smiles. "I got into photography when I was in my teens, and I studied it at the old College of Building and Printing. I had this mad ambition, I thought it'd be cool to be a photographer, but – I know this sounds really out-there – I wanted to work in conflict zones."
He laughs and shakes his head, as if joining a rock band was a much more sensible, viable option: a viewpoint that's shared by every band member as regards their alternative callings. Does McNae ever have the urge to explore with his camera when they're travelling on tour? "Yeah, but you get so caught up in doing music, and it's so hands-on, that the last thing I want to do is something else that's practical at the end of the day. I'd rather learn about things," he says.
His quest for knowledge is shared by drummer Craig Kneale, who was so enamoured with maths as a youth that he sports an abacus tattoo. The pair first shared a stage at Glasgow's Cathouse around 2005 – McNae was in a band called Long Story Short; Kneale was in Ernest. McTrusty (then a member of Arca Felix) was in the audience, and responds with a friendly laugh when grilled about the quality of the bands on that fateful night.
Both McNae and McKenna (the latter's bygone troupe was Think: Fire) discern parallels in Kneale's scientific mind and his metronomic drumming patterns. "Yeah, I suppose," the sticksman concedes. "And maybe it helps with working out and memorising all the different time signatures and stuff. I always liked problem-solving."
Does part of him still identify as a maths buff? "I guess it never really left me – that's why I got the tattoo," he nods. "It's one of those things I'd love to do again when I'm older, and so it's kind of to remind myself that I always liked using my brain for maths and physics."
With a UK tour starting next week, it's unlikely Twin Atlantic will find much time for golf, trigonometry or photo-journalism in the near future. How does it feel, looking back on a year that includes a silver-selling debut album (more than 60,000 sales)?
"I'm going to be honest – I've no idea," says McTrusty. "I don't know whether it's because I don't want to think about it or because reflecting upon something suggests the end of it and I'd rather continue being caught in the riptide – it's always been fun being that way, and it's kept us fairly grounded. But it's great to be playing bigger shows outside of Scotland. It feels like we're making real inroads in certain places in America, in Canada, in Germany, and we're playing bigger venues in England."
There is something inherently charming, and Scottish, about a homegrown rock band whose epic moniker, sound and outlook straddles the Atlantic yet whose spirit is temperate and cautious. McTrusty's pragmatism is upheld by McNae.
"That's my main worry at the moment," he says, when faced with a sold-out Scottish tour, including two dates at the Barrowland. "I think with how the album's done, and with these dates coming up, we're maybe at the point that we've been aiming towards for the last year. To think about that now almost means that the challenge is over," he says, and the band nod in unison. "We don't want to stop."
Twin Atlantic play Glasgow Barrowland on October 26 and 27, Aberdeen Music Hall on October 29 and HMV Picture House, Edinburgh, on October 30.