ITN Magazine: Let's talk a little about the history of your band. When did you originally form and is this the original line-up?
We originally formed in 2012 but me Simon and Becca had already been in a band together. The line up hasn't changed too much -- we had the welcome addition of Tony Wade on keys in 2015.
ITN Magazine: How would you categorize the style of the band?
It's a British take on traditional American genres: Rock, Blues, Country, Gospel, etc. When we released our first album "Backwoods Crackin'", one of the torrent sites listed our origin as "USA", so we must sound reasonably authentic!
ITN Magazine: What image do you want your music to convey to your fans?
That's not something that I've thought about to be fair. If people like our music then that's good enough for me. I wouldn't want to worry about conveying an image. I think consistency is important when you are building a fan base but at the same time you don't want to be too confined.
ITN Magazine: Who are your influences and how have they shaped your bands sound?
Taj Mahal, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, The Stones, Captain Beefheart, John Lee Hooker, Phil Cook. I was definitely motivated to buy a harmonica when I first heard Taj Mahal and that instrument features a fair amount on our new album. Also, the brass on various Stones tracks (especially on Exile on Main St) inspired me to put that on our stuff. Besides guitar I also play trombone and trumpet (badly). Thankfully I can layer up plenty of takes in the studio and it sounds pretty decent in the mix. I have to admit that we don't have a brass section when we play live (yet) which is a shame.
ITN Magazine: Let's talk a little about your latest album what are the listeners in store for with this release ?
It sounds more confident than our first album and there's a certain swagger to it. We've managed to get a pretty big sound without losing the dynamics and it sounds great on vinyl. Liz is singing lead on three tracks this time and I'm really pleased about that. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy singing but I equally enjoy listening to Liz belt out her vocals whilst I'm concentrating on guitar.
ITN Magazine: Where did record your latest release at?
We recorded it at Laurel House Studios in Wakefield. It's partly our studio so we don't have to worry about the cost. That also gives us plenty of control over how the recording sounds.
ITN Magazine: Producers are a very important factor in recording a good record. Who did you use to produce your record?
We produced it ourselves, as we did with our debut album. Matt Knee engineered some of the record and I'd love to get him on board as producer for the next one.
ITN Magazine: Does the entire band contribute to the writing process?
I find it easier to write songs on my own but the best song on the album (Cursed) was jammed together. Simon comes up with the barebones for some of our songs and I add lyrics and a melody. Other times I write songs in my head when I'm sat on a train or stuck in traffic.
ITN Magazine: How do you feel the band has evolved musically and personally over the last year?
Liz has been taking some time out after having her second baby and we've adapted to this by getting Becca to sing on more tracks. She's done a great job too although it is great to have Liz singing with us again.
ITN Magazine: Where do you draw the inspiration for the songs you write?
There are loads of different sources. Sometimes I write a song based on personal experience. Other times I like to pick a situation or topic that I find interesting.
ITN Magazine: How important do you rate the lyrical side of your albums?
I think the lyrics are equally as important as the music. That said, I don't set out to create something that's overly cerebral. I think it's important that the sentiment of the lyrics has to fit the song. Even if lyrics don't make sense they should connect with the listener in someway.
ITN Magazine: What are your current tour plans, if any?
We've got a small number of gigs and festivals around and on the run up to the launch.
ITN Magazine: Describe your live performance for those who have never seen you live?
We sound pretty similar to how we do on the recordings -- bottle neck slide, bluesy riffs, harmonies, hammond organ, big drums and bass.
ITN Magazine: What do you think of the music industry right now?
The artistic side of music is more important than the commercial side. Putting out an album on a small budget without any constraints is infinitely more satisfying than compromising the art to sell more units.
ITN Magazine: Did you find it hard to break into the business and what was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
There are fewer obstacles to getting music out there these days. A digital online release can be done cheaply and to great effect. Building an audience is possibly easier too. I remember the good old days of signing people up to a mailing list and having to post newsletters out to fans and now the same can be achieved faster through social media.
ITN Magazine: Tell us about your thoughts on your local music scene?
We're from Wakefield in the UK and at one time I heard that we had more signed bands per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. That might not be the case now but we've still got a really vibrant music scene for a small city. Drahla, The Sourheads and The Piskie Sits are great Wakefield bands and are totally worth checking out.
ITN Magazine: How has Social Networking (Facebook,Twitter, etc.) impacted your band?
It's easier to build an audience and connect with it. You can get feedback on the things you are recording as you are recording them. That level of rapid feedback is really cool.
ITN Magazine: Where can our readers find you on the web?
ITN Magazine: What equipment is the band using and do you have any endorsements currently?
We don't have any endorsements currently but I did have one with Bordello guitars back in 2015 - they made my custom natural wood telecaster. For guitar amps we tend to use Orange, Fender and Vox. We used a really nice Selma valve amp for bass on our new album. In the studio we use a locally made "Highwood" drum kit and it sounds gorgeous.
ITN Magazine: Thanks for answering these questions. Do you have any last comments for our readers?
Please check out our new album "Wasters Regards" when it gets released digitally on June 1st. Vinyl copies will also be available to purchase at gigs and online from our website.