We catch up with these folky Brit-Americana types, who have slimmed down to a two-girl-one-boy trio for their brand new self-titled album, The Wandering Hearts.
The making of your latest album sounds like a drawn-out process for reasons including but by no means limited to lockdown rules. And at some point you all relocated to live at different ends of the UK to each other!
Tara Wilcox [vocalist]: Please don’t read too much into it – that [relocating] did all happen after lockdown. We were all living within an hour of each other, but suddenly there’s some significant distance… which I hadn’t thought about until this point!
But the album took a long time through trying to get artwork – because we were so busy in 2018 and ‘19 – and producers that we wanted to work with, and who were available when we were available. That was really tough. We’d planned to do it in the summer of 2019, and were like, that’s the latest we can do it – and then didn’t get to do it until February 2020, with a view to touring it April. A small tour, with a big tour in October, and the album having come out that summer. “Finally, after all of this waiting. This is the year!” And of course, it wasn’t anyone’s year, was it?
I think we did the last bit of recording two days before the travel ban – we were in the States, which said if you guys don’t get home now, we don’t know when you’ll be able to leave. So we then had to get very, very last-minute flights back from Nashville to home.
And once getting home, it led to you all deciding to move miles apart? [Laughter]
Francesca ‘Chess’ Whiffin [vocals/mandolin]: This last year has given everyone some perspective on your way of life – where do you want to live, are you happy where you are? AJ [Dean, vocals/guitar] and I were both spending a lot more time in London originally. It was one of those things where you’d think to yourself, “Eventually I’ll move out to the country. That’s the dream”. So this last year or so has given people that kick up the bum: let’s just do it now, even if we’ve got obstacles, because actually, why not? You only live once.
In some ways, it’s been a positive time for us – it’s given us perspective, and time to reflect as we were so busy before. We don’t generally have that time off to reflect on things, and it gave us a clear vision of where we were, with the band and in our personal lives.
AJ, you’re the only male in the group now. How do you and these two deal with disagreements in the band – if there are any?
AJ Dean: We’re pretty democratic – I think because there’s three as well, it being the magic number. I don’t think we’ve ever made a decision that hasn’t either been unanimous, or where the greater number takes control and the third party then goes, “yeah, I see your side is in the best interest of the band,” and we all kind of then come to the best decision. I don’t think we’ve ever had any major disagreements, big fallouts, or anything like that.
Tara: Certainly, as we currently are to be getting to be three, I think there have been challenges. But I believe that being precisely as we are now is such a blessing that we don’t take that for granted.
words CARL MARSH
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