Interview with The Travelling Band

This week, I was fortunate enough to catch up with Jo Dudderidge of Mancunian indie-folk group The Travelling Band and this is what he had to say: just don’t ask him to single out a favourite Beatles song!

(1) How did the The Travelling Band form?

It was originally a collective formed by 10-15 musicians from three different Manchester bands who were knocking about the Manchester scene in 2005/6. A recording session in New York in 2006/7 established the 6-piece that’s on our debut ‘Under the Pavement’ which came out a couple of years after that.

(2) Is there a story behind the band’s name?

We were in Cornwall tripping our faces off after a gig on Peranporth beach and our mate James Younger (who now plays in the Canadian band Yukon Blonde) came up with the idea of us all going on tour with our various bands and then getting up for a big jam at the end of the night. That band would be called ‘The Travelling Band’. It was a hippy Grateful Dead / CSNY jam band kind of ideal we imagined, which to start with it very much was. He emigrated to Canada soon after though and left the rest of us to it. Twelve years later we’re still going, though the line up has changed quite a bit in the time and we’ve morphed into more of a rock band over the years.

(3) Who would you say have been your biggest influences as The Travelling Band?

The early days were all about the 4 part harmonies, CSNY/Byrds/The Band etc… but at the same time we’d all grown up listening Britpop, Rock n’ Roll and American ‘slacker’ music and worshipped Dylan and Neil Young like they were prophets. Mark Kozelek/Sun Kil Moon is a big influence too, especially the Ghost From The Great Highway era. We were listening to a lot of the alt. folk coming out of Britain and North America at the time of our formation too. Bands like Iron & Wine, Adem, King Creosote spring to mind. More indie stuff also like The Shins too. Love that band. I suppose that was all in the mix as well as local bands like Elbow, I am Kloot and Badly Drawn Boy who’s music was synonymous with our late teens and early twenties in Manchester. We’ve always been about serving the song though and sharing our personal experiences through them. We didn’t really set out to have a particular sound, it all came very naturally and i think we’ve burrowed our own tunnel in the underground.

(4) Would you say you prefer being in the studio recording new material or playing live shows?

You get a different kick out of them both. We recently started our own space called ‘Pinhole Sound Studio’ so recording is a real passion for us beyond our own material and we now produce other artists as well. There’s something fascinating about the process of recording songs and then going out and playing them live, and vice versa and how they inform each other. We’ve always been a good live band but i think we’re improving in the studio all the time especially now that we’re producing and engineering our own records.

(5) What was the first music festival you went to – as a fan or indeed as a band?

Mine was Glastonbury in 2003. It changed my life and two years after that I was back there with my first band on the The Other Stage. We hold it close our hearts, there’s no place like it. Summer Christmas!

(6) Do you have a favourite venue/city to play live? (They don’t have to be the same!)

I love a hometown show. We’ve played The Deaf Institute more times than I can remember and i’ve been told that they’re always nights to, errr, remember.

(7) If you had to only play festivals or headline sets for the rest of your career, which would you prefer?

I think festivals as they’re more unpredictable.

(8) Do you have a favourite song to play live?

It’s currently ‘Loser’ off our new record.

(9) What are your ambitions as a band for the future?

We’re looking to work on changing our process. I’m not sure taking a long time to write, record and finally release albums is that healthy given the way people listen and find their music these days. By the time you release another album a lot has changed and you sort of have to start building momentum from scratch. Maybe we can start releasing songs more regularly whilst maintaining the sense of a body of work (that might make up an album further down the line). There’s always a risk that it won’t tie together as well though. We have a studio now so its a lot easier for us to do that and choose our own pace and maintain control of our sound. I can definitely see some side projects on the horizon too. 

And finally..

(10) If you could have written one song in history yourself, what would you have preferred it to be?

“I’d have to say… ‘The Best of The Beatles’”