The Twang

APHENOMENALLY successful 2007 saw The Twang release a top three gold-certified debut album, play at festivals across the country, collaborate with Mike Skinner and leave a trail of rock'n'roll moments from Birmingham to Brussels and Quinton to Kyoto.

"We knew there was a place for us – we knew we had the tunes," admits singer Phil Etheridge.

"From listening to the bands that we loved we knew there was a place for us.

"It's easy to come out and be arrogant but we never did that, we just knew we had a good record in us."

The band's debut album is packed full of tunes drawing influences from the baggy scene of the late 1980s and early 90s and the Britpop era, with tales about life in Quinton, outside Birmingham, all delivered in a vocal style similar style to The Streets front man.

"There're the obvious influences – The Mondays and The Streets," explains Phil.

"I was lucky, I've got an older brother who had a good record collection so I grew up listening to loads of tunes.

"The time when Britpop was around was a great time for music – I guess we evolved from that."

Phil is joined in The Twang by fellow vocalist Saunders, bassist Jon Watkin, guitarist Stu Hartland and drummer Matty Clinton.

"All of us went to the same school together except Saunders," says Phil.

"We became good mates and around that Britpop time we had a crazy idea that we could be in a band.

"We bought some gear and decided to try our luck.

"Straight away I believed we'd do something – I don't want to sound arrogant but I honestly thought that we were writing good songs from the start.

"Jon picked up guitar really quickly and lyrically he was writing songs I thought were really good."

The pair quit their day jobs and enrolled on a sound engineering course at a local college.

Towards the end of the course they formed what would become an early line-up of the band.

Their next move was "kidnapping" a friend's younger brother, who they had pencilled in to play drums.

After a series of gigs in 2002 and few changes along the way the current

line-up of The Twang was complete in 2004 with the arrival of guitarist Stu Hartland.

"Stu moved into Jon's house and he joined the band about half-ayear later – Stu changed the band's fortunes really."

The Twang quickly carved out a name for themselves in the Midlands and in October 2006 played a landmark show at Birmingham's Bar Academy – which was attended by the NME and Radio One's Edith Bowman.

Their debut single, Wide Awake, was released in March last year, with an album following in June.

Their second single Either Way was re-mixed by the Mike Skinner.

"The songs that Jon writes are more off the cuff, but the ones I've written are a bit more obvious – there's a bit more of a tale behind them," says Phil of some of the songs on the album.

"With Either Way I was feeling a bit rubbish but in the end chuffed that I've got a nice bird – it's pretty obvious."

Last year saw The Twang headline the John Peel tent at Glastonbury, play in Japan twice and also at the Reading and Leeds festivals.

"T in The Park last year was amazing – just to look out and see people for as far as you could see," he says.

Despite having only released their debut album less than a year ago The Twang are already making steady progress on its successor.

"We lived in Wales for a month and wrote about 25 tracks which we're going to go and record in March or April," reveals Phil.

"We're certainly going to put something out this year, probably September-time – we've just got to make sure it's right."

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