The Travelling Band is a 5-piece group who are currently touring the UK. Their most recent album, The Big Defreeze, has been described as ‘the rawest thing they’ve put on record’ and is the first album released in over two years. Roisin McCarthy talked to band member Jo Dudderdige about the group’s influences, changing styles and the process of recording an album.
What kind of influences do you look to for your music?
Music from the 60’s and 70’s has a big influence on what we do. People like Crosby, Stills and Nash, Bob Dylan, Neil Young. The band got together through a mutual love and celebration for that sort of music. We were obsessed with the harmonies that these bands would do, in that kind of West Coast Californian style. But with this record we feel like we’ve got our own sound, as much as we’re influenced from American music, we have a very British sound too.
What type of music can we expect to hear in The Big Defreeze?
It’s a lot heavier than stuff we’ve done before. Previously we’ve sometimes been lumbered with this folk / new folk thing which we never really understood. . But we’re not using banjos or mandolins, nothing like that anymore. And we’ve been recording in a church, which allows for this huge drum sound. It makes for a lot of space and a lot of atmosphere on certain tracks.
This is your third album, would you say there has been a transition in your methods or style?
We started off as more of a collective: three singer songwriters coming together, which the first album reflects. But when one of the band members left in 2010 it gave way for a shift in the band. Whenever anyone leaves in a band, you have to focus your mind on what you’re going to do. And the recording process has varied from the bustle of New York to the isolation of outer Scotland on the Isle of Mull. But for this recent album, it’s more about just having the music with the vocals on top, without all the dubbing.
Your touring at the moment. What would you say is your favorite part about it?
We just love hanging out as a band and playing music, which is why being on tour is the best thing. Its always a bit of a killer when the tour finishes because it feels like we’re just getting started. I’ve never understood people complaining about touring.
You’ve described yourself as a DIY band before, which is pretty interesting. Would you say this aspect gives you more freedom as a band?
Yeah, I’d say we are. We deal with our own affairs and have close relationships with people that help us to put our music out and we run our own record label. In a sense, the autonomy you get in putting out your own records is great, and the freedoms in choosing what shows you do, or who films the videos. But it comes with its own pressures; you have to deal with all the admin and all the bullshit that comes with that. These days if you’re in a band and you’ve got other people calling the shots; that can be quite difficult and we’ve been in that position before as well.
The Big Defreeze was funded through Pledge Music. How was that process for you?
It was definitely a good way of interacting with the fans. It was never about just asking people for money to help us make the records, it was about providing experiences and vibes that people wouldn’t be able to get from just buying a record in the shop or at a gig. You want to be able to make an album the way you visualize them, not cutting any corners.
You guys are from Manchester, does that have any impact on your music?
It’s an inspiring place with a great heritage that you respect. But at the same time it’s about what’s happening right now. There’s always an energy of forward thinking and creativity in Manchester. From the outside, people are focused on what happened then, but actually it’s more about the future.
The Travelling Band’s latest album, The Big Defreeze, is available now.