Music Q&A:
Sound of the Sirens

Folk duo Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood chat ahead of playing Manchester's Deaf Institute, 7 May and Leeds Brudenell, 18 May. They release their debut album on 26 May

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What informs your music and songwriting?
Everyday life, love, friends, family, boyfriends, break-ups, falling in love, things we see, how we feel, heartache, daily struggles, dreams, ambitions, setbacks, changes, emotions, stories, arguments, make-ups.

How have you evolved as a duo over the years?
We are less angsty overall and are louder and softer with more dynamic. Our experience in life in general has widened our repertoire and we have hopefully become more chilled with maybe more hidden darkness! We hope that we have become tighter as a band. Trying to improve with age rather than get stale, like a fine cheddar cheese. (but not too strong). We see ourselves as a good Edam, rather than a Cathedral City.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We are getting excited about the release of our new album (for all our sins) and practising the set we will be touring this month and the festivals we are going to be playing at. Including GLASTONBURY! We are also coming down from a Radio 2 Jeremy Vine high as he actually played our new single Smokescreen. We nearly fainted. We have started to write some more material that we will hopefully record early next year.

What’s on your rider?
We are not divas, so like to keep our rider polite with a few ciders, beer and water for the vocal chords. We are both vegetarians, so we request veggie stuff, although Hannah is scared of most veg, so sometimes it can be awkward. This year we may start to add one piece of ingredient to each gig, so that by the end of the tour we will have the whole meal sorted to get cooking when we get home and there is no food in. Just an idea. Maybe next year.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.

Hannah met a member of Toploader at an after-party one night. In her head she would say she had developed a small scale friendship. A year later they were playing at a festival and, as we were leaving, we could see a clear opportunity to join them on stage, so we did (obviously). We then waved at them, stopped to chat to them, waving vigorously and went in for a big hug as they made their way off stage. The Toploader singer had no recollection whatsoever of who she was. Again, awkward. At least we got to sing Dancing in the Moonlight with them. Also, we have a more dramatic and expensive story: Abbe booked tickets to see Ben Howard in St Petersburg in Russia as a present. Sitting in her hotel room getting all excited about the big gig, her boyfriend had noticed online and brought it to her attention that Ben Howard was actually touring in America at the time. Realisation kicked in that they were in the wrong continent. Booboo. One giant expensive booboo. To make matters worse, the hype it caused meant that the information got back to Ben Howard who called them “Fucking idiots” live on stage to his American St Petersburg audience. Ones for the grandkids!

What song do you wish you’d written?
MMMBop for Hannah and Fairytale of New York for Abbe.

What’s your worst lyric?
The worst lyric that we have written is “Laces of gold on thunderstorm show” in our more airy-fairy days. We bucked our ideas up since then. However, we do still love this song and in our defence, it was taken from a conversation. It’s called Shoelaces, for those intrigued.

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Interact: Responses to Music Q&A:
Sound of the Sirens

  • margaret hutcherson
    04 May 2017 19:27
    Shoelaces was the first lyric I remember when I was your pupil Hannah. It would be so lovely to hear your updated version. Looking forward to seeing you at Phoenix.XXXX We are booked up at the lower balcony. GIZZUS a WAVE XXXXXXXXXXXXX
  • Paul Gold
    04 May 2017 16:33
    See you at Leeds girls. Bingley seems so far off now ! Thanks for the CD backstage x

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