Music interview – The Twang: ‘I haven’t had a proper job for ten years and that was always the plan’

The Twang.
The Twang.
Have your say

Indie rock band The Twang are marking the 10th anniversary of their hit debut album Love It When I Feel Like This with a ‘best of’ record and a national tour. Ahead of their visit to O2 Academy Leeds, singer Phil Etheridge spoke to the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Looking forward to being back in Leeds, Phil? It’s a city you know well from your university days and somewhere you always seem to include when on tour.

Yeah, it was a great time for me and Jon [Watkin] where we started believing things were possible. We’d both gone from grafting every day in our long-jons to suddenly finding ourselves in a nice warm college talking about tunes all day. Then we managed to somehow get on a uni course, move to Leeds for a year and do the whole student thing for a bit. Magical times, considering we’d left school with one GCSE between us… Hetty Douglas would love that!

You have played at the Cockpit, but O2 Academy Leeds always works well for The Twang?

We watched a lot of bands there back in the day – Doves, Badly Drawn Boy, The Mondays etc... It’s a great room and you can sense the history there… you know that all those folk you’ve looked up to have walked them same steps to the stage and it’s pretty special to be making that same walk yourself... it’s one of those rooms.

As a band do you feel like you have achieved your potential and scaled the heights you were tipped to reach back in 2007?

I think at the start I was too busy enjoying myself to really think about it but looking back obviously all the hype about the band had both a positive and negative effect on us. There are things I’d do differently but you can’t worry about what’s gone… as Skinner so marvellously once said “let’s push things forward”!

I guess to answer your question – I haven’t had a proper job for ten years and that was always the plan, so yeah, we did it.

Now you’re a family man does that take up a lot of your time?

I’m lucky as the band’s meant I’ve been around a lot and done the whole daddy day care thing and, to be honest, there’s no one I’d rather hang out with, as they make me laugh constantly. They’re such little twerps… love um! Obviously, it’s meant I’ve stopped the partying to a degree but you don’t want be that 40-year-old dunk in the corner of a room full of cool kids anyway.

How much has the music industry changed in the past decade and where do you see The Twang’s place in it?

Well we don’t sell any records, I can tell you that, in fact 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 nonstop 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! Or maybe I’m just a grumpy old twerp?!

As for where we sit within the industry, I think if we can still tour and play decent-sized venues and people keep coming then we’re more than happy to jump back aboard the pirate ship and set sail for a month or two.

What does the future hold for The Twang in terms of staying together and producing more music?

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. Beyond that, who knows? It’s all good.

The Twang play at O2 Academy Leeds, with Ivory Wave and Sugarthief, on November 30. Tickets are on sale from from £21.50 advance (subject to booking fee). £1 from every ticket sold will be donated to CRISIS UK.