Before The Twang’s show at Village Underground, we caught up with Jon from the band to have a little chat about new music, Birmingham and the current musical climate.
Now then Jon, nice to meet ya! Belter of a new tune in ‘Larry Lizard’; what’s the story behind the name?
Just a made up crazy c*** really, just a made up story, kind of based on people we’ve known. A geezer who spends his life drinking and wasting his time and getting smashed – causing trouble basically.
What can we expect from the new album? Maybe a more electronic sound?
Kind of, we sacked our drummer about 12-18 months ago, so we were using a lot of drum machines. It’s kind of 50/50, kind of electronic but we haven’t gone electro – still got the old vibe. There’s a couple of 60s influenced tunes, an early 90s type baggy-ish tune on there, couple of slower ones on there – it’s a good mix! There’s great indie moments as well!
Are the home-town Christmas gigs the highlights? Do you enjoy London shows?
Not necessarily highlights. We do look forward to them big Birmingham shows – they’re always mad! The Christmas shows we never intended for but then we have people messaging us asking if we’re doing them – it’s like 3000 people at the shows! We play a lot of the big cities! London – we’ve never really given into that ‘chin stroking’ – our crowd… they ‘ave it – ya know?
It’s 7 years since you won the NME Radar Award – in hindsight how do you feel about the award and would you have done anything different?
I would have done loads of things different, I would have behaved more… maybe (cue cheeky grin). But that award, it’s a load of bollocks really. It’s like they’re (The Twang) the best band in Britain and we hadn’t even had anything out. We had a lot of hype on us. That NME award, it is what it is, it’s in an office somewhere – we don’t give a fuck really.
Birmingham is back on the map thanks to bands like PEACE and Swim Deep. Is Brum on the up? Who would you recommend?
There’s a band called Superfood that are going to be big. I think they were supposed to be going in with Mark Ronson – signed a good deal. I like some of their early tunes. I think that’s about it at the moment although I think maybe something else will come. You always get similar bands when a big band breaks like PEACE or Swim Deep – you always get them ten similar types of bands.
Do you think now is a good climate for a decent working class band to come through?
I don’t think it’s a very working class vibe at the moment, it’s very trendy – there’s a lot of clever and hip – that type of music like Bombay Bicycle Club and Metronomy. I like both them bands but there’s no sort of (thoughtful pause) – we (gesturing to mates) were talking about The Specials, there’s no band like that at the moment – or The Clash – saying stuff from the streets. We were just talking about it with ‘Mags’ the geezer in here (pointing towards the entourage), he looks after (manages) The Specials, and we were saying there’s nothing like that at the moment inspiring people to rebel. There’s nothing on the radio, inspiring people to say something about things that aren’t right. You need one thing to transition to another. It’ll come… it always does!
The Twang are a band I discovered between a Libertines album and a Streets album in my cousins CD collection. What’re your family influenced music discoveries?
I don’t know about family bands – (deep breath) F*****’ Hell if I was following some of my family bands… (smirk). We’re big Streets fans. Massive fans of The Streets. I remember going to practise – we used to have a lad that sung with us and he drove a Murphys van – he used to pick us up and there were piles of fucking tarmac in the back of the van (cue laughter). I remember him playing ‘Has it come to this’ on the radio – I was like fuck – what is this man?! A big influence on us! Quite a lot of comparisons in the early days!
What tune do you enjoy playing the most live?
Some of the new stuff I’m enjoying playing the most. Larry’s good. Larry’s (Larry Lizard) is really good live! Ice Cream Sundae is back in tonight!
That’s all my questions done. Cheers for the interview! Couldn’t help putting an Albion (West Bromwich Albion FC) question in before I go! Out of the 3 midlands club journeymen – Kevin Phillips, Curtis Davies or Liam Ridgewell?
Super Kev – still scoring! He’s a ledge! Ask Stu (guitarist) in a bit, he’ll give you a comprehensive Albion chat!
FInd Davey’s review of The Twang @ The Village Underground here