We chatted to Abbe and Hannah back in 2015 and having heard them on the Radio 2 Breakfast show and seen them perform on TFI Friday, we were keen to catch up with them whilst at Beautiful Days festival in Exeter to see what they'd been upto. We met in the backstage bar where they were busy mingling with celebs and friends ahead of their performance in the Big Top the next day, here's how we got on....
Ladies, the last time we chatted to you was in April 2015, what has happened since then?
Oh my god, lots of things, it's really picked up, doors have been opened, it's been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest but we're loving it all!
We were booked to play on the WigWam stage at Carfest North in 2015 and while we were there, they said that they needed a band to play in the backstage bar and we didn't really know what it entailed, we went and set up ourselves, fumbled with the sound until it sounded okay and eventually got there when in walked Bob Geldof! We never realised that there was going to be celebs in there and were quite shell shocked, we never plucked up the courage to get a selfie with Sir Bob so instead, we just stared at him from the corner of the room.
We were told that Chris Evans was going to be in the bar later on and have a beer, he did stop by and he watched our set and he was so lovely and supportive, off the back of that, he booked us to appear on his radio show. He asked that night how he could help and when we woke up the next day it was as if it were all a dream, very surreal!
We went for breakfast and again and he asked how he could help us out and we mentioned that it would be great to get on the radio and EVERYTHING that he mentioned he'd help out with actually happened. He's sincerely nice, you think about how many people that he works with and the fact that helping us doesn't really give him anything in way of credit just makes you think how much he was really into what we were doing and that he really enjoyed it! He got us onto the Radio 2 Breakfast show and when we heard that 'TFI' was making a brief comeback, he said that he'd like us to be on as the unsigned band which was just amazing!
We shared the show with Take That and U2 and that was just incredible! We weren't in the green room at the same time as the big bands, we had to share a room with the puppies instead but they did a great job of calming our nerves! From that alone, it was amazing what it did for us, we've been gigging for years and just 1 min 40 secs of an edited track that we played on the TV has opened up so many doors in the UK, it's incredible! We're now able to go and gig in other places, we went on tour with Rick Astley which was amazing as we got to play some huge venues every night and that would never have happened without the input of Mr Evans! It was also a great way of seeing how we would cope in a larger arena, quite eye opening!
How did you find performing in the bigger venues compared to smaller ones?
To be honest with you, smaller venues are great but we were really surprised how relaxed we were in the larger venues, because they're so big say 25000 people, you get there and it's just a sea of faces, in a way, it's actually scarier playing to a smaller crowd as it's a lot more personal. Being on a larger stage gives you the feeling that you have a right to be there and I think that with supporting larger acts, you know that they aren't there to see you but you know they're going to watch you as they want to keep a good place for the main event and that gives you more confidence and I think that comes through when you play, you don't end up coming across all panicky and nervous and that really translates to the audience. Our own gigs mean that you HAVE to play to the best of your ability EVERY night, there is no giving a reduced performance as if you do that, people may not want to come and see you again and that'll never do!
You're playing the Big Top at Beautiful Days, it's a local festival for you, are you looking forward to it?
You know what, we've been trying to get a slot here for the last 7 years and it's really difficult to get in but DMF our booking agents who arranged the event were keen to get us on stage and it's been great so far so hopefully everything will be good on the day. We've just been to see The Wildflowers from Bristol who are brilliant, it's great to see the crowds coming in soon after they started to play, they just gravitate towards the tent, amazing!
You've played tons of festivals this year, are there any favourites or highlights that you'd care to share with us?
I think Cropredy Festival was one of my highlights as people are there for the music, there's only one stage so there's no risk of clashes occurring throughout the weekend, the atmosphere is great and you get treated really well, it takes place over a weekend and as I said, it's all about the music. You're helped onto the stage and off again and you just get treated so well, we're still drinking rum out of bottles so we haven't changed that much to be honest with you, either rum or a bit of Strongbow! We are Devon/Cornish girls after all!
What do you like most about festivals?
The people, the energy, I know it sounds real hippie-ish but it is, I left my sister with a complete stranger as we had to shoot off earlier on and she was fine, everyone is here for a great time, you just leave all your worries and concerns at the gate and let your hair down, nobody has a job to do whilst you're on site so it;s a great way of just letting everything go and chilling!
What don't you like about festivals?
The toilets, though saying that, they're not too bad this year, probably cleaner than mine at home!
The backstage loos are a bit nicer and not so busy....
I think it's just the 'shame' of the whole toilet procedure, one in one out and you know the face of the person who did this (points to an imaginary toilet and pulls a face), I don't like that at all but I guess everyone does it!
You have an Exeter show booked for December 1st at the Exeter Cathedral, tell me more about it....
We're a little bit excited about that to be honest, I went to see Laura Marling there 5 years ago and thought then that it would be such a great venue to play and after playing the Phoenix in Exeter so many times, you get the feeling that it would be great if you could play somewhere a little different but somewhere where our fans would also benefit, the Phoenix have been amazing to us and we get such a good reception every time we play but on the other hand, it's good to break the mould and just do something totally different from time to time and keep things fresh, the problem being that Exeter isn't really that big and there aren't that many larger venues so when Zac Peters (our booking agent) suggested the cathedral at Christmas time, we instantly agreed and got it together.
Any surprises in store?
Funny you should ask, we are arranging a little surprise with some local people that we know (not that they even know yet) and I assume that we'll have a support act, nothing confirmed yet but we do like to have a say in who plays before us on the same bill so we'll have to have a think and get something great pulled together, maybe we should ask The Wildflowers from Bristol....?
2016 has been such a massive year for you, what do you think 2017 has in store for you?
Please let it keep going, we just want to carry on doing this for as long as we can and after we played the Cropredy Festival, we just agreed that if we could do this every week, we would be in heaven! It's really important to keep wanting more but also to sit back and consider what you've achieved so far!
I agree, I look back sometimes at what I've done and have to say it out loud to make it real...
Yeah, we know exactly what you mean. You do have to reflect and stand still and be proud about what you've done and where you are. For the past few years now, we've said that if the ride stops now, we'd get off and be happy with what we've achieved and then the next year comes along and you say the same and then the next year, things get even better! We're quite a grounded pair of girls but we'd still love to play on the Pyramid Stage at Glasto and if it doesn't happen next year, we're going to kick off big time (Zac take note!) We're recording analbum at the moment to be released in January 2017, this is the first time we've ever done a properly produced album, Mark Tucker in a lovey studio in Uppottery (check name), the aim is to get that onto the Radio 2 playlist!
You've got to have goals, whether they appear to be realistic or achievable or not, you've got to have something to strive for.
Definitely, I think that Radio 2 have such a strict criteria of what would make the playlist, it needs to have a punchy opening and the content needs to suit their listeners so it's as if you tailor your sound to that of what they require which then means that the fan base that we've built see a different side to us when we play live and we don't have to be so concerned with meeting the requirements and having to tweak things to make sure that we're not alienating our existing fans, on the other hand, in order to grow our fan base, you may need to do that so it's a bit of a balancing act! We're trying that out and seeing how it goes. We need to try it and give it a go!
Ward Thomas are an act that play here on Saturday and they were on TV this morning, they're all over Radio 2 at the moment, maybe you should hook up with them for a chat and get some advice?
They're great, we met them at Carfest last year and they're so nice, I think they're playing at the Phoenix in Exeter in October? Yes, we'll definitely stick around for their set and see if we can catch up again afterwards. Maybe we could be like their bigger sisters? though thinking about things, I think it would be them giving us the advice rather than us telling them....
Lastly, please describe Beautiful Days Festival for me in just 3 words....
Colourful, Giggly & Vibrant!
Electric, Welcoming & Alcoholic!
We'd like to thank the girls for taking their time to chat to us and we wish them every success with the rest of the year. We're particularly excited about the December show at the Exeter Cathedral and are looking forward to seeing who the special guests are going to be! To keep up to date with their whereabouts and other things via social media, all the links are below.