MANCHESTER outfit The Travelling Band have won many admirers over the course of their first two albums, including Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis, and their career looks like moving in a new direction with their third record planned for later this year. The Mail spoke to vocalist Jo Dudderidge ahead of a mammoth UK tour which arrives in Birmingham tonight.
The Travelling Band are, as the name suggests, ever willing to travel around the country to perform their life-affirming songs which have made them such live favourites.
Over five years and 400 plus shows since their formation, the band have garnered a great reputation as a live act and won many admirers including Eavis, who said the sounds the band generates took him back to his musical roots and was ‘marvellous music to savour and enjoy’.
It has meant the band had, over their first two album runs, written and recorded as they went but with forthcoming third album The Big Defreeze, the band made a notable decision to take time out to really concentrate on producing a really focused record.
It has meant though that the band have had to take time away from the road, but they have certainly made up for it as they currently continue on a 24-date tour across the UK.
“We are really excited about going on the road,” Dudderidge admitted as he spoke with the Mail before departing on the tour.
“For once in our career we have actually taken time out to write rather doing it on the road so 2012 was spent writing and recording, rather than just gigging, which is our lifeblood.
“We have been sitting in a tiny box for far too long. There is something great about getting out on the road and going to different places and just playing music every day to crowds that are into it.
“I certainly don’t find touring a chore at all.”
It will be interesting for fans to see whether the time taken on The Big Defreeze will be worth it.
It was certainly a great experience for the five-piece as they worked with acclaimed producer Iestyn Polson, who has worked with the likes of David Bowie, Patti Smith and David Gray, at the iconic Church Studios in London’s Crouch End.
Dudderidge said the album is now all ready to go and admitted working at such a studio had been an experience the band will never forget.
He said: “The album is complete. It is more now about making the plan to put it out in the right way. We are happy to come back with an EP first and then for the album to come out a bit later.
“You’ve got to play the patient game sometimes. It is just part of it and in the meantime we can get out gigging and write other stuff as well.
“It is all part of the cycle and it was frustrating at times last year waiting to record after writing the songs.
“There was a good six months between finishing writing to getting the money to be able to record.
“When we got round to recording though it was worth it as it was an incredible studio and it was always a dream to record in a big space.
“Iestyn had been working there for years and recommended we try that place and we just fell in love with it.
“It was a great time working with him. He came up to Manchester for a couple of weeks for pre-production and we then went down to The Church Studios to record over two weeks. It was an experience we won’t forget.
“I think taking the time out to do write and record the album has shown benefit in the music. There is something good about writing 25 songs and choosing the best 12 and being really methodical about it.
“It was also good recording in a short period of time as you are capturing a moment in time rather than just a collection songs and recordings over a number of years.”
The excitement of having new songs in the band’s locker which they are so proud of means fans will be able to hear plenty of the album live prior to the release, on the current tour.
Dudderidge said: “I’d say about 75 per cent will be new stuff. We will be introducing the fans to what will be the album when it’s eventually released.
“There is a lot of new material and it will be a different show really, with a lot more electric guitar and a new direction.
“It’s always about the song for us. Our sound has developed gradually over the years and we are constantly evolving and our fans understand that.”
The group teamed up with Pledge Music to crowd-fund the album, a tactic used by many such bands in recent times.
Dudderidge said to see the fans universally get behind the album and the concept has given the band a real boost.
He said: “It just made sense for us at this time in our career. We have a strong fanbase and the music industry is very fraught at the moment and we don’t want to have to wait around for other people.
“Pledge Music allows you to cut out everything else and just to find out if people want to hear your music.
“If we had done Pledge Music and our fans did not seem interested then that would have been it but it gave the band a real lift to know the fans were willing to support the record.”
The Travelling Band perform tonight at Birmingham Hare and Hounds. See the venue for tickets.