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Page last updated at 06:21 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 07:21 UK
Twang learn from their mistakes

By Greg Cochrane
Newsbeat music reporter

The Twang
The Twang release second album Jewellery Quarter at the end of July

The Twang would argue they're misunderstood.

"Every conversation was 'Baggy lovin' hooligans' - I tried so hard to get away from that," says lead singer Phil Etheridge of the Birmingham band's initial coverage back in 2007. "It was never like, 'Lads that practise three nights a week and love playing live shows'."

It is tricky not to categorise them as such when they're full of stories of late night visits to Parisian clubs and vodka-fuelled arrests in Japan.

"To cut a long story short I had the same colour top on as the other lad, so they arrested me thinking it was him," justifies Etheridge. "They took me off on me own in this riot van and left this lot."

"I slept rough for the night," says bassist Jon Watkin proudly.

Reinvented band

It might be unfair to say that's typical behaviour from The Twang. But the Midlands indie-rock outfit do seem to get into more scrapes than most.

"We've learnt from any mistakes that we've made," begins Etheridge.

The Twang
The Twang's Phil Etheridge in live action

"We are a bit more mature, and we wanted to make a great record that was a bit more about songs rather than people saying, 'It's all about drink and lads'," adds Watkin.

Critics said they were over-hyped and under-rehearsed following their rapid ascent two years ago - their debut album Love It When I Feel Like This attracted mixed reviews from the music press.

"People just expected more obviously because of the hype," reasons Watkin.

"It was kind of a given that the record was going to do well - and it did do pretty well, despite what people think," agrees Etheridge.

Following a year of excessive touring, at the start of 2008 the five some took stock of the previous year's highs and lows.

Second album

Their first move was to take themselves away from home by copying heroes Doves and moving to a provincial cottage in Anglesey, Wales, to push the furniture aside and demo new tracks.

"Get up, have your breakfast, talk for about five minutes straight in the room and just get on the wine again," says Watkins, illustrating an average day writing.

"We must have drunk every bottle of wine available in Anglesey at the time," he smiles.

With new songs in place they moved to Spain to record with producer Youth [Urban Hymns]. That's where the problems began.

"It weren't up to our standards man," says Etheridge. "They [the record label] knew we could write a better record.

"I knew after the second or third day it wasn't right."

The band's label B-Unique - also not content with the result - sent them back to start again.

We are a bit more mature, and we wanted to make a great record that was a bit more about songs rather than people saying, 'It's all about drink and lads'
Jon Watkin, The Twang

They returned home to Birmingham and a new practice space in the city's Jewellery Quarter - from which the album takes its name - to start afresh.

"It was really important to come back and not be one of those bands which writes one record then disappears," says Etheridge.

"My whole thing now is just to stay in the game and write another record - there is space for The Twang.

"I really wanted to concentrate on making a body of work. Like a piece of art."

Now with a new album penned, and released in July, they'll once again get back on the road.

Having tasted the trimmings of success, it's not a lifestyle they're looking to give up on lightly. It's also one they consider themselves lucky to have.

"Not to be nasty," says Watkin. "But at 11am your mates are at work and you're rowing a boat in Germany, you're about to get steaming and do a mad gig…"

"Half my mates don't leave Barewood [Birmingham], if they got the bus to town they'd be buzzing," laughs Etheridge.

"It's like you've won the lottery. On a bus, with your mates, with a fridge full of alcohol."

You get the sense The Twang aren't about to change, just yet.

Jewellery Quarter is released on 20 July. Interview by Damian Jones.



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