Surprised to be nominated in such esteemed company, Getintothis’ Sean Bradbury talks to Trudy and the Romance about the GIT Award, name changes and an anecdote we dare not repeat.
“I’m at the top of a big hill. I’ll find some rocks and sit down. If I fall off how funny will that be? What do you reckon my last words will be?
“I really, really want to win The GIT Award.”
This typically chirpy exchange between two bandmates came not far from the start of Getintothis‘ interview with Trudy and the Romance.
We can thankfully confirm singer and guitarist Olly Taylor found a safe spot to perch, carried on talking to us and lived to tell the tale. And we can confidently say these lads certainly won’t need the sympathy vote of a perilous plummet to have a good crack at this year’s GIT Award.
While perhaps not as far down the line as many of the other acts in the running, Trudy and the Romance are making up ground fast. Anyone who has had the pleasure of catching them in Liverpool over the last few months under their recently-changed guise of Trudy (“We got threatened by some goons from the 80s…they left us with no choice“) will have been swept away by the arresting electricity and irresistible presence of their live shows.
Their performances are spiked with a thrilling sense of adolescent discovery, loitering somewhere between head rush and hangover, caught in the exact moment last night became the morning after. There is all the wide-eyed innocence and jangling melody of early Libertines – especially on debut single All My Love – allied to a more arch, knowing quality and deeper texture of which Jonathan Richman would no doubt approve.
And they’ve been a busy bunch of late.
After recording their first flush of tunes with Spring King‘s Tarek Musa last year, they have since toured with former Beautiful South duo Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, and spent time on the road and in the studio with fellow nominee Bill Ryder-Jones, the rich spoils of which will soon be released.
There’s a packed schedule on the horizon too, with dates booked in for Liverpool Sound City, Gold Sounds Festival in Leeds and The Great Escape in Brighton.
Getintothis had a four-way phone call with all three members of Trudy and the Romance – and while they were dotted around the north of England all taking a break in separate cities, they couldn’t sound more together. Almost literally.
Olly explains: “We moved into a place in Liverpool last August, but had to leave in March. Me and Brad were there and we had Lewis on the settee.”
“Yeah, I was waking up with a stiff neck every morning,” bassist Lewis Rollinson adds…only for Olly to jump back in.
“He didn’t really want to top and tail with me. I don’t mind it, that’s the thing. Brad’s tallest so he always gets the bed. Sometimes I’ve been touching Lewis when I’ve woken up before. Like little spoons.”
There was even a story about a fly being unzipped in a pitch black hotel room which we won’t go into here.
Trudy and the Romance are still based in Liverpool. More specifically, at drummer Brad Mullins‘ flat in the city centre.
Olly says: “We mainly just kind of crash there at the minute. He’s got a flatmate – a French guy who’s been living there for five years.
“He’s not happy with it now. He wants a cup of tea in the morning and Lewis is just there snoring.
“Brad is at LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts). We use their practice rooms and hopefully we can do that for the rest of our lives.
“It’s nice. We’re not trapped. We can head off on tour and not have to worry about it.”
While they say Liverpool has been an influence on them, there is a resolve not to let it seep in and define what they are about.
Brad explains: “We like the scene because it’s small enough to be a part of it. We want to do our own thing within it. The history influenced us on certain things, but we kind of came here wanting to put our own stamp on things really.”
Lewis adds: “You can get lost in a scene I think. And it doesn’t really get anywhere and you end up doing well in that little area without the scope to do well beyond.”
Olly continues the theme: “We’ve never really fallen into a scene, ever. This is probably the closest we’ve ever come. We’ve got two friends’ bands – Pink Kink and Her’s – and we’ll try and push that a little bit and collaborate with them.”
Countless bands have been likened to The Beatles in musical terms since the 60s, but with Trudy and the Romance there’s a clear element of character comparable to the early days of the Fab Four.
Olly and Brad might have been “childhood muckers” since teenage years in Chesterfield while Lewis is a native of Bolton, but it’s there with the three of them, all of whom are in their early 20s.
It’s there in the way they gently and daftly rib each other. It’s there in the fact they seem genuinely delighted to all chat again on our phone call, despite only being apart for a few days.
Watch them larking about at the Albert Dock in the ‘home video’ for Behave and it’s there again; popping into shot in formation on the waterfront, getting down on their knees to offer ice creams to a cluster of young ladies.
It’s certainly there when they describe their influences.
Olly explains: “We all meet in the middle but we’ve got different tastes. I’d say Lew listens to more jazz, I listen to more film music, then Brad‘s a bit more psychedelic, hippy sort of guy.” Lewis adds immediately: “Yeah. Brad‘s got incense in his room.”
And it all hangs loosely together as what they call “mutant 50s pop“.
Olly says: “The 50s influence was always something we realised, it’s been in the back of our minds. But we write what we want to write really. There’s also nostalgic indie for us – The Strokes, plus The Modern Lovers, stuff from the 80s. It’s a mish-mash of everything and that’s what makes it so different.”
Lewis adds: “We all like Richard Hawley, and all the old crooners – he’s modernising that. And of course, the whole indie thing; growing up with bands like Bombay Bicycle Club, going to gigs when we were younger.”
Olly describes how their songs tend to develop: “It’s usually me getting some ideas. I’ll only take it so far then I’ll get it in the room and we all put our own personalities into it. That’s what takes it to the next level for us.”
While they were excited by The GIT Award nomination, there was a bit of disbelief about being alongside “people of such stature“.
Olly says: “We really liked it. But we’re kind of like ‘how the fuck are we going to win?’ It’s really nice to be part of it because there are so many established acts.
“It will be fun to play the show and we’ve got a few tunes ready.”
The GIT Award 2016 take place at Constellations on May 14. Tickets are available here.