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Changing Horses Interview PDF Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Dipper   
07 08 2010
ImagePreston folk band Changing Horses are one of the country's hidden gems. Since recording their album, The Nashville Sessions, just over a year ago, the band, consisting of duo Ric Birtill and Francesca Cullen, have been busy touring Spain earlier this year and played some of the country's smaller festivals this summer. Having witnessed their fine performance at this year's Kendal Calling festival, I decided to catch up with Changing Horses to talk about the band, their new album, and their plans for the future.

AD: Hi guys, what can you tell us about Changing Horses?

We're a duo from Preston in Lancashire.

AD: Cool. So how did you two get together to form the band?

We have known each other since we were teenagers, but lost touch in our late teens through moving to separate cities - travelling and what not. But, somehow, we would always end up bumping into each other through strange co-incidences. It's through these odd meetings over long periods of time that we developed a strong musical bond through jamming every time we met. We both come from musical backgrounds so that's all we ever wanted to do when we met up.

Eventually, we reconnected permanently through exchanging addresses. I would send Chezz [Francesca Cullen] recordings of demos of songs I was working on at the time, and I would send them to her parents' house in Preston from my shoe box of a flat in Leytonstone (where I lived with a sadomasochist landlord and a club bouncer). She really liked the songs and, when I would visit her from time to time, we would work on them and I guess that was the birthing of the band.

AD: If you had to list some musical influences, who would they be?

My parents would play me obscure folk and Motown when I was growing up, but the major influence on a large part of my musical journey has been heavier aggressive music such as Slayer, Marilyn Manson and stuff like that.

FC: My musical upbringing has been celtic and classical mainly, listening to bands such as The Chieftains and Clannad, and learning classical piano from an early age. However, we both have a love for that perfect 3 minute pop song. So we're an odd pair in some ways but fit nicely in others.

AD: Yeah, I think that's reflected in the tracks on your album - it has a brilliant folk-pop feel about it. So, how did you come to record The Nashville Sessions in Nashville then?

RB: My dad [Godfrey Birtill] who tours with his own music was over there and he played Chris [Donohue] and Steve [producers/session musicians] some of the demos I had been working on and they liked it. So they got us to come over to do an EP of some tracks.
AD: You recently played some of The Nashville Sessions at Kendal Calling 2010. How was that?

Playing Kendal calling was brilliant. If we could play there every year, we would.

AD: What's the best venue you've played?

RB: Best venue or best gig? We played some pretty amazing venues in Spain when we toured in March. But the best gig would probably be the more intimate, spontaneous ones.  We once played a gig in a bathroom stood in the bath; that was pretty cool. Another good one was playing to loads of football hooligans on a train, and, to my surprise, getting them all to sing-along and not punch us. We thrive on intimacy and raw energy - that's when the adrenaline is up and we put on a great gig. However we opened for Ade Edmonson at Crawley folk festival to a massive crowd and that was quite special.

AD: And what's the strangest thing that's happened to you at a gig?

RB: We often find ourselves being attacked by people either during or after the show, which I always have found strange for an almost folkie male and female duo. After the Kendal Calling performance, security had to get involved as these 2 guys who apparently were ‘fans' started to be quite offensive and became quite intimidating.

FC: There was also a gig in Manchester where a bus load of chavs turned up, one of whom threw a pint of beer on my guitar and chased us to the train station. The list goes on.

AD: Crazy stuff, ey? So, who're your favourite band at the moment?

RB: I'm listening to a lot of Zu at the moment, and some Monotrona.
FC: I'm listening to Mew, and Mice Parade

AD: What're your plans for the future?

We're currently planning our first UK tour, and also our second self released EP.

AD: Great, I look forward to hearing it. And finally, where can we listen to Changing Horses?

You can listen by either buying our Nashville Sessions EP, or viewing our MySpace. Also, you can join our mailing list on our website.


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