Trudy and The Romance are set to have a fantastic year. Yep, we’re only 10 days in and we’re already calling it. If their stellar debut EP “Junkyard Jazz”, which arrived late last year, wasn’t enough to convince you so, the Liverpool-based band are now getting ready to release their highly-anticipated first album in late 2018, and are giving us a little something extra today to keep us going until then.
Releasing not one but two videos, the group – made up of Olly Taylor, Brad Mullins, Lewis Rollinson, and recent addition Alex Stephens – are spoiling us with live sessions of EP tracks “Junkyard Cat” and “Ruff Ryder”. Filmed in Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre, the quartet take to the stage to perform a suitably cinematic rendition of their 50s drenched “mutant pop”, shot with a perfectly retro aesthetic that fully compliments their nostalgia-heavy sound.
A little taste to keep us satisfied until the full-length arrives, we caught up with frontman Olly to find out what else the band have in store for us this year and to discuss Noel-Gallagher-scissors-esque stage techniques.
Hey Olly. How’s your 2018 going so far?
It’s alright! It’s not really started yet. We’ve not started back yet, we’ve not regrouped. Our new keys player – Alex – is still in Wales. He’s back on Friday and we’ve got to practice for this show and then get all these new songs down for the album.
Yeah, you’re working on your debut album now right?
Yeah, that’s the plan! Hopefully before summer we’ll have it down. We’re trying to get it out this year. It would be nice to get it out around November, maybe as like a little Christmas present for Mum. I don’t know, it’s a tough one. I guess you wanna have a few singles out before summer so you can get a few gigs, so we’ll try and get a few singles out before festivals and then get the whole thing out in August/November. I don’t know. Everything seems to take ages! Even with this EP, getting a deal sorted just took so long and there’s a waiting list for vinyl! It takes, like, months so you’ve got to plan in advance.
But the wait was worth it and the EP on vinyl does look very good…
Yeah, it’s great! Red! My Dad’s got a jukebox so he’s really excited about that because he couldn’t put the 12” on. Well it’s nice grabbing a vinyl and not just being like “hey Dad, stick this USB in your computer.”
Oh, no! Yeah, I’ve turned into a bit of a vinyl snob. I’ve not even got the best equipment to play it, but it’s just comfier. It fills the room so nicely.
Do you at least own a record player? That’s probably the vital first step…
It was my Christmas present! I’ve not for a bit and then I’ve got a full shelf of my Dad’s vinyl now. But yeah, vinyl’s great. We really like the artwork as well so it’s nice to have that where people can actually hold it.
So what’s the status with the album?
Well, it’s been written. We finished it not too long ago. It’s been in the works for ages and there’s songs from years ago, but then we kind of turned it into a concept so it’s a little bit fairytale, a little bit Disney, but then a little bit noire-y and kinda stinky, but it’s very cartoon which is nice. But yeah, it’s all done, it’s all written, I’ve just got to teach it to the guys. They know most of it, it’s just teaching Alex because obviously he’s still new, but with Brad and Lewis we’ve been playing some of these songs for years, so it’s nice. I feel like the first album is just very important to incapsulate everything the band are about, the whole thing, the whole package, so you can just listen to that and be proud to say this is the sound, this is what we are.
Yeah, you can’t really have a second debut album can you?
Exactly! But, I mean, people do though! I guess back in the day with big artists like Bowie or Bruce Springsteen, they wouldn’t hit it big until like their fourth album when they’d established their sound.
Very true. So one down, only three more to go…
Yeah! By the fourth one we may actually be able to play what we’ve got in our heads!
Has it been annoying sitting on it for a while?
I’m just so used to sitting on tracks now. I think I’m almost put off doing it because you build up an expectation that it’s going to be perfect and then when you get to it you’re probably only going to be disappointed. I mean, the funnest things are the things that you can do quickly, so I record quite a lot on a little 4-track TASCAM and do little demos, and that’s just like instant gratification and that’s the funnest thing. This is kind of really tedious! Our process is so strange, we go into the practice room and you’ve just gotta hammer it out until it finally works and it takes ages. But we got little demos done in December and we’ll be back on it. It’s good to have a bit of pressure I guess, and as long as the band’s tight through gigging and stuff we’ll just pick it up pretty well.
You just got PRS momentum funding for the album too, right?
Yeah! Liverpool Arts Council has been really helpful as well. So we are all set to go, which is nice.
Is the funding adding a bit of pressure to get something out?
It’s just been built up for so long for us. I think we just want everything to be perfect but at some point you’ve got to accept that you’ve just got to go into the studio and put it down. You’ve got to make it all count. But yeah, the funding is amazing and we’re really grateful for that.
And you’re one of only 20 artists that got it!
I know! I only just read that! I’m sure I did read it before, I guess I just forgot. But it’s great, it’s really great.
So, how’s life been since the EP came out?
It’s been good. Pretty quiet – I don’t know if EPs are very vocal things really. Singles have got their platform and obviously albums do as well. The first two singles went out – “Is There A Place I Can Go” and “Twist It, Shake It. Rock & Roll” – with a bit of a bang but then the other two have just been a bit unheard.
Luckily, you’re releasing two videos of live sessions of those songs today!
Yeah, we really liked those two, we’re really proud! The concept was to do the whole EP in one take and it started off really ambitious. It was called “Junkyard Jazz Live At The Woolton Picture House”. We were going to play it live in the cinema and then have it filmed on actual film and make it look great and we had all these ideas, and then it ended up being filmed downstairs in another venue. But it worked out in the end! We’re really happy with those two songs. It’s supposed to look like you’re watching cable TV and you tune into some strange session from the 70s, but I feel like we all look so strange in it we don’t look like we’re from any decade which is kind of funny. Just some lost trend that never happened… For probably good reason!
You’ve also got your biggest show to date at the Lexington coming up on the 26th! Are you planning anything special for it?
No! We should do! We’re always just catching up because we did the EP, and then Alex joined, and then we’ve just been learning the EP and learning the set, and now we’re learning the album! Maybe we’ll play some new songs from the album, which are songs we used to play live but dropped for a bit. It’s all dead clumsy. I want to decorate the stage a little bit. I’m sure we probably won’t do, but we had an idea to do theatre curtains and a big banner of soft cuddly toys and some VHS TVs playing ‘Snow White’ or mad old VHS’s, and roses all over the floor. We definitely won’t pull any of that off though! But I did bring my TV with a VHS with me and it’s in my room taking up space so I’ve kind of committed to the idea. I don’t know, it’s probably just going to sit on stage and everyone will be like “what’s that? It looks shit.” Did you see that thing when Noel Gallagher went on Jools Holland and had that person playing scissors? It’s kind of like that. Even when you do a piss-taking move, you’re still under scrutiny for it.
And what else have you got planned for this year?
Well it would be nice to play some actual gigs this year! Last year we were so ambitious and then it turned out we didn’t have enough material out to play any decent festivals, but we’d love to do that. That would be great. To get on some good support tours, do some good headline ones and play all your muddy festivals, but the good ones. We always do, like, family day festivals that are just really badly received and we’re on really early to nobody and it’s ridiculous. We played this one festival when there was no one in the tent and during the set there was someone in the crowd and I just started having a conversation with him off-mic. It fucked up the timings though. But we were just playing to an empty tent! It could’ve fit like 1000 people in. So this year we wanna play better gigs!
Better gigs, fuller tents, later time…