Music Q&A: The Travelling Band

The Travelling Band have been quietly honing what Marc Riley described as "Mancunian Americana”. Jo Dudderidge (centre) says he's beginning to look outwards as a songwriter

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What informs your songwriting?
Lyrically it has tended to reveal much of the darkness in my life (or my past) that I’ve been trying to purge. I’m working on that though as it’s not the most sustainable life as a songwriter. I’m a little bored of looking inwards all the time.

How have you evolved as an act over the years?
When we started out I guess we were predominantly a vocal harmony band, often using bluegrass and folk instrumentation, but in the troubadour tradition. Over the years we’re developed a more expansive sound, using more synths and heading down a more electric guitar-based sound. We’ve always loved strings and brass in our arrangements, though compared to our mellower beginnings we’re pretty much a rock band these days, given the right stage. We don’t really belong in any particular scene though, which is how we like it.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We’ve just released our fourth album, which is called Sails, and we’re about to head out on a 15-date UK tour. We’re also writing some new stuff and working with other artists out of our studio in Manchester.

What’s on your rider?
We like our local ales, some fruit and also our own personal hot yoga instructor to warm us up before the show. We also ask for a potato gun and a King Edwards potato just to see what happens but there’s a strict “no shooting” policy during hot yoga. We once nearly missed a gig because we were so Zen that we forgot where we were.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
Bob Geldof accidentally rubbed his giant balls on my arm at an awards dinner once. I can still feel them on me now.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Eternal Flame by The Bangles.

What’s your worst lyric?
Well Battlescars features the nastiest line, I think – “Fly back home and I’ll break, then clip your wings.” I’m not sure if it’s a bad lyric, but it was an entirely selfish sentiment.

The Travelling Band play Manchester’s Deaf Institute, 17 Nov

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