Music Q&A: Faustus

Pioneering bloke-folk trio Faustus continue touring the UK, including Beehive Folk Club, Sheffield, 2 March and RNCM, Manchester, 10 March. Paul Sartin talks to us

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What informs your music and songwriting?
Between the three of us, anything from early music through Morris dancing and Hendrix to Nightmares on Wax. We’ve got a lot of different tastes and had many varying experiences, which we let loose on English traditional music, for better or worse.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
We’ve become more confident in our writing, or rather re-writing of the tradition. We’ve worked hard on our vocal harmonies, our harmonic palette has broadened, and our general modus operandi has become more efficient. That being said, we’re still very happen playing a tune unison and getting back to basics!

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We’re singing and playing in a production of The Transports, a ballad opera by Peter Bellamy based on the story of the first fleet of convicts sent to Australia, within which are woven contemporary stories of migration and exile. We’re also part of a project to revive the poetry of the 19th century Lancashire cotton famine, so are setting these texts to music and recording them.

What’s on your rider?
Hot food, at least two hours before a gig. Nothing worse than singing straight after a curry.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
Being refused entry to a nightclub in Andover because two members of the band, who shall remain nameless, were wearing trainers.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Happy Birthday. Think of the royalties.

What’s your worst lyric?
All our lyrics bar one are trad, so blame Anon for any that are rubbish. We had a lyric, Gurt Dog, written for us by Olivia McCannon, so that’s a favourite and rather special.

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