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Townsmen

We met in a very busy Espresso Yourself for a chat about the band's new single, how they got to where they are and where the future lies. In between sips of coffee and me munching away on some cake, Johnny got on with letting me in on the Townsmen's story.

“It all started with me and Danny (Rhodes – vocals and keys) having a few writing sessions when we were both back off the road at the same time. Danny's mum owns this mad horse-box, basically a converted lorry type thing with beds and and a little kitchen in it. We'd drive this out into the middle of nowhere with a bottle of Jack Daniels and write songs all night!”

Both Danny and Johnny were working as professional touring musicians at the time but not together. With the standard 6 month contracts this type of work entails, getting time together has been the one big stumbling block all through the gestation of the band. That's not to say that the song writing stopped all together, the lads developed a system of taking each others ideas on, developing them and throwing out the bits that didn't work.

“We quickly found that we'd have a verse or two we liked, maybe a chorus but nothing was progressed until we were both completely happy with it. If it sounds cool, that's what we're going with” This was a theme that kept reoccurring during our time together, the idea that it is only what sounds good to them, what they enjoy. The Townsmen sound is very definitely pop-rock, something Johnny was keen to embrace.

“In the beginning there were times when there were all these deep discussions about meaning and what we were trying to say. But it wasn't fun. The liberation of just saying to each other 'lets just have fun' was what set us free. I just want to write a cool song, I don't even care if it makes sense!”

I found this a nicely unpretentious approach, especially when added to Johnny's quick smile and ready laugh. This is a writing team and band that aren't taking themselves too seriously, something that immediately endeared them to me.

When people started to hear the original demos that came out of the Horse-box, the reactions moved the band to start taking what they were doing slightly more seriously. “We were getting the oddest comments like 'I can't get your song out of my head you ******', so we got in touch with a producer in London to see if anyone in the business had the same thoughts”

Producer Simon from South River Music in Clapham initially had a Skype call with the guys, getting them to play through the songs acoustically. This lead to several studio sessions and a collaborative relationship was established with mixes being emailed back and forth. During this time, the band was still a duo and Johnny filled me in on how they hooked up with their rhythm section.

“We'd both been in bands, both been professional and know loads (of musicians). But Canada and the Caribbean are a bit of a commute! So we hit the open mic sessions, getting back in the scene and meeting people. We advertised on http://www.joinmyband.co.uk and Joey rang up. He was like, I'm interested but I'm only 16, nearly 17 though!. We didn't care, if he was interested and could play then that was cool. Then I remembered being at a session few years back watching this 12 year old kid playing the hell out of a drum kit. When Joey mentioned he'd been gigging since he was 12 it all fell into place. He'd also been working with a bass player, Johnny Greenwood, in another band and we all got together”

That get together happened in time for the video shoot for the new single 'Tonight', released last week and available on itunes (among other places). Click the link http://bit.ly/1X6Bqci to check out the video before heading over to find out more about what the Townsmen are up to - www.facebook.com/TownsmenOfficial. Ps, ask them where they got their name.... they are on Twitter too - @townsmen8.

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