Indie rockers The Twang are marking the 10th anniversary of their hit debut album ‘Love It When I Feel Like This’ with the band returning to play their acclaimed record in its entirety as they tour the UK. The band have chosen a selection of their favourite bands to join them including Ivory Wave, The Assist, Sugarthief, Methods, Cut Glass Kings, Real Life Entertainment and JAWS. The Twang received rave reviews, got into the charts, toured the country and had every record label in the land scrambling to sign them. Their demos even got daytime airplay on Radio One – before even so much as releasing a single. We caught up with Phil Etheridge to chat about their highs over the past ten years.
10 journeys around the sun later and the iconic debut album ‘Love It When I feel Like This’ turns 10 years old. Not many bands last that long and can announce the achievement of playing the album in full on a colossal tour! How does it feel to be back on the road?
Yeah we’re all super excited. We owe a lot to Ian Richards from The Academy as he’s always believed in the band and has been instrumental in putting the tour together.
You’ve played a huge inspiration in many people’s childhoods like mine for one. 10 years ago starting year 7 ‘Love It When I Feel Like This’ was definitely the soundtrack to my early secondary school years being blasted out on my Sony Ericsson Walkman, tearing me away from the discovery of niche like all my mates did. How does it feel knowing that something you started as probably a laugh had such an impact on so many people’s future?
That’s very kind of ya.. It was always the dream to soundtrack people’s nights out (or mornings after) and the thought of someone listening to us and finding something in it like I do with so many of my favourite bands is all I really ever wanted.
Throughout your lyrics in the album and all your albums, you mix the grittiness of being a youth and a teenager with a graceful poetic vibe. Where does the inspiration come from for your tracks?
I guess kinda like I just said it’s always been about Saturdays highs and Sundays lows and the gloriously stupid characters I knocked about with growing up. Sounds a tad cliche but I wanted to escape the normal get a job, go to pub on Friday, Ikea on Saturday shit and truly believed we could do something and that there was a place for us.. I wrote about being with the band a lot as well I guess… Our rehearsal rooms have always been a sanctuary for me where I forget everything else that’s going on outside. It’s the place I’m most happy I guess (bar with the wife and kids).
How does it feel revisiting and playing the first tracks you wrote? Does it give you the ore of being a teenager once again?
Yeah definitely.. we’ve just released a b-side record (subscription) which is something I’ve always wanted to do.. Growing up bands like Oasis and The Verve were constantly giving us b-sides as good as if not better than the a side, so it’s something we always strived to do ourselves. When I was putting the record together I was listening to tracks for the first time in ten years or so and it was quite an emotional experience. They sound so youthful and alive.. no pressure, no over tweaking, no nothing just mates making a noise. It’s probably the record I’m most proud of out of all of them.
In the past 10 years do you feel the music industry has changed and if so do you think it’s improved or worsened?
Well, we don’t sell any fuckin records I can tell ya that.. Infact, I just got Apple Music and I find it a bit sad that any album I want I can just get straight away.. I used to love going HMV on Saturday with my tenner to buy a record. I can remember where I was when I bought most the records in my collection even to what I was probably wearing.. It was an event and I treasured um and listened to them non stop till I bought my next one… I think the kids are missing out having it all just on a plate.. There’s too much choice and like with Netflix I waste time just trying to work out what to listen to! Also though I think ya gotta except it’s changed and move with times and though I personally think the whole internet thing is ruining some stuff, it’s pretty fuckin great as well.
Do you think it’s easier for bands to make a break now with the likes of streaming services and more promoters putting there heart and soul into promoting unsigned music?
I believe if ya good enough and ya got a bit about ya and put the work in it’ll happen. If ya shit and a bit of a twat it won’t.. It’s like those that sit in the pub saying they could have been a footballer.. No ya couldn’t!!
Being one of the most hottest artists to break in 2007 with the likes of Jo Whiley backing you and being the first band to be played on Radio 1 prior to signing a deal. At what point did it sink in and you thought shit this is real?
It was a magical time and I was kinda too busy just having fun for it to really all sink in. Also without sounding super arrogant we kinda had this thing where we expected it as we knew we were there and there about’s… Wasn’t till probably a year or so later when we were writing and recording ‘Jewellery Quarter’ that it dawned on me just how hyped we’d been and how divisive the band had become.. Then you start looking how you could have done things differently and shit but it’s all hindsight and messes with ya head. Just gotta push on and keep doing ya thing.
After the Radio 1 airplay and the sell out gigs you must have been an A&R’s dream with every Tom, Dick and Harry bombing down the motorway to Birmingham for a couple of signatures on a contract. What’s some of the most outrageous deals you got offered to sign with a label?
Yeah man we got to eat a lot of steak.. We met with pretty much every major label in the country and had offers off virtually all of um which pretty nuts as every gig for about 3 months was full of people discussing whether we could make um money or not. . In the end we went with the ones that offered us the most money which in again hindsight maybe wasn’t the wisest of moves but when ya ain’t got shit ya do what ya gotta do.
What’s the best and worse gig you’ve played in the past 10 years?
We always try and put on a good show an give the crowd what they deserve which is a hour and half to forget everything and hug ya mates… I’d rather forget the bad ones. There’s a fine line between happy and in the zone and being a fuckin mess. Sometimes ya get it wrong. Haha .
‘Either Way It’s The Best Of The Twang’ released this year with a melody of the best Twang tracks from over the decade and some might say the best tracks on the planet. Who’s idea was it to do a best of album? And who did the intense drilling down of tracks to fit it onto one compact disc?
It’s just something I always wanted to do.. Without sounding too Partridge I discovered a lot of my favourite bands through their ‘best of’s’ and I wanted something out there for the next generation to be able to find and hopefully go ‘Fuck they were pretty good weren’t they The Twang’ I do quite a bit of running so used that time to decide on the running order. Took me about six months on and off going back to it and checking I was happy but I honestly couldn’t be prouder of it. It’s joyous!!
The tour comes to an end in your home town of Birmingham on ‘Christmas Eve’ Eve. Any big plans for the final date? A little Christmas effect maybe?
We’ll just do what we always do and try and have some fun. It’s become a bit of a thing for us and this year will be our tenth Christmas show in a row in Birmingham and they’ve been some of my favourite ever shows. I’ve noticed a few bands have started doing the whole Christmas gig thing now… It’s party season so it makes sense.
What’s the plans after the tour?
What can we look forward to in 2018 from the twang? New music? Best of tour?
I can’t really see past December at the moment and trying to make that as good as possible and then I’d like to try and get in and do some writing. Past that who knows?? It’s all good.
And finally what advice would you give to any band that’s just starting out?
Write a load of good songs and do ya own thing.
The Twang kick off their tour on the 29th November at Bournemouth. Remaining tickets are at: http://www.thetwang.co.uk