Gig preview: The Dunwells at Rocca bar, otley

As The Dunwells' touring commitments wind to close for 2016, lead singer Joe Dunwell is able to reflect on a satisfying year for the Leeds-based band.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 19th December 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:11 pm
The Dunwells
The Dunwells

“It’s been great,” he says. “Releasing the new album [Light Up The Sky], touring, it’s been a big one for us, really.

“We’ve seen people coming to our shows and singing back the new material, it’s mint.”

The band’s December national tour has been “a really good end to the year”, he adds. “We released a little online song – It’s OK This Time – just to say we’re going to be releasing more material next year and doing more touring.

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“My stand-out shows were Leeds, which was sold out which was amazing, it always is, Glasgow was so close to being sold out, Bristol sold out. These are big milestones in our career.

“We’ve played that venue in Bristol about five times and the first time we played it I remember there was a handful of people. I just feel the band is reaping the rewards of the work that we’ve put in.”

Positive word of mouth has played a big part in The Dunwells’ rise. “Numbers coming to the shows are through the roof. This year alone we hit over two million Spotify spins on one of our songs. I know a band shouldn’t work on numbers and stuff like that, they should enjoy what they’re doing, but you also want people to come to your shows and the fact that they are coming it makes our job so much better.”

The shift in the band’s sound, from folk and Americana to indie rock, has also brought them a new audience, Dunwell feels. “In the set that we’ve been playing on tour we’ve actually been playing a few of the old songs as well, just to say thanks to those fans who were around from the start of The Dunwells, but the new sound has a bit more of an indie electronic vibe to it and we put those songs in for a reason – to make live shows as energetic as we could. I feel like the new people that are coming to the shows are really getting it.”

It’s OK This Time was written on Pete Townshend’s boat in London. “The whole song is about the idea that I feel like I’m doing the right thing in my life,” Dunwell explains. “It’s just to say, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing’, just a personal message to myself.”

The Dunwells intend to release another album independently soon. “Pretty much all of our downtime between tours has been spent sitting in studios writing,” their singer says.

They have also written a track for Sheffield singer Lucy Spraggan’s new album. “It comes out on January 27 and we’ve got a feature on it so that’s good.”

Their plan for 2017 is to “release another album sometime next year, keep touring and hit the festivals”.

“I actually don’t feel our plan is going to deviate much from that for the next two to three years,” Dunwell says. “We’re just going to try to get music out a lot quicker, because music is so accessible with the likes of Spotify and Soundcloud and iTunes and stuff like that and we should utilise them by releasing as much as possible for the fans that love to come and see us play.”

The Dunwells play at Rocca bar, Otley on December 20. For details visit