Jonny of Hardwicke Circus. A chat about exciting times.

The best place to meet for coffee and a chat and perhaps a slice of cake is the Vinyl Café. On a wet Carlisle Saturday afternoon I met up with Jonny of Hardwicke Castle. It was a busy 2019 for the band and 2020 already looks like the most exciting yet. We get the coffees in. The latest Field Music release is on in the background, nice one, thanks James. We discuss the acting abilities of Robert de Niro in the Irishman and The Joker.

 The last year has seen the release of the EP Jug, a support slot in Hyde Park with Bob Dylan and Neil Young and constant touring. Can they top that this year? I asked Jonny if there are any plans for any new release this year. Jonny told me about the fun ahead for the next few months.

Jonny

‘we are recording at the end of the month in Glasgow but we are focussing on Holland next week when we play the Eurosonic and then Texas in March. They’re the main focus at the moment. This is the first band outing to Holland. It’ll be fantastic. The festival in Holland is a showcase where European agents go to and they can book bands for upcoming festivals in the summer and there’s only a handful of British bands that have been invited’

Clunk

‘So, a bit of a shop window then,’

Jonny

‘Well actually I think we may be playing in a shop window, on the evening. We do the official gig then like a separate thing at midnight. There’s a band called Inhaler there and previously Fontaines DC were out there last year’.

Clunk

‘so..you’re off to the States. That’s got to be exciting’

Jonny

‘It’s huge, that’s fantastic and we are blown away about the whole idea of actually being at a world renowned music showcase. This is our chance to make appointments with the music industry, booking agents, record labels, to invite them down to a gig and to play in front of them to show them that we are next thing. The BBC are very influential out there. Steve Lamacq is out there, championing the British bands and giving them a platform and, although it’s an American stage, word crosses over to the UK. The festival is two weeks and the music focus section a week so we can go and we can play three gigs a day, in every type of crowd there is and we are prepped for that. People say we’ll get tired or I will lose my voice but we are used to that. A couple of years ago we did a big schools tour and we did eighty-five gigs in a couple of months. We would play at 8am in the morning, then we would do their lunchtime and then do an end of the day gig so we have the last few years of hard grind so we want to do as much as we can out there.’

Clunk

‘how long are you going out for?

Jonny

‘We are going for the two weeks. All of us are going so that means we are putting on this big raffle. Tickets are still available and we are doing this as an independent band. Most bands at South by South West will have backing from record companies with financial support and we don’t have that. So, we are holding this raffle to help us get there, with flight, accommodation and visas. If you buy a ticket you are in with a chance of winning flights, accommodation and spending money.

Clunk

‘It’s a great prize, how many tickets are there?’

Jonny

‘There’s 1500 tickets, £20 each. This is like a once in a lifetime opportunity and we wanted someone to experience this and we thought it was great idea. There are still tickets available up until Valentine’s Day. It’s an old technique in new times! Local people have been a great help, you know we couldn’t do it without Carlisle’. Oh yeah and second prize is we’ll come and play in your front room or your office or whatever’.

Clunk

‘Are you playing new songs out there?’

Jonny

‘We’ve got our Texan song set ready. We’ve got some songs in Spanish. All the lyrics are in Spanish’

Clunk

‘Spanish? Are you alright on Spanish?’

Jonny

‘my mum’s a Spanish teacher so she’s trying to make me better’.

Clunk

‘Have you booked your tickets?’

Jonny

‘well the raffle is everything so we’re pushing that now. We need our plane tickets, accommodation…..so, buy a book of tickets and we’ll throw in a free Tee shirt’.

There we have it then. An exciting year ahead for Hardwicke Circus. We chatted for a while, with James, on accents in singers, both real (Shane MacGowan) and the pretend stuff (Mick Jagger doing C & W or reggae), traditional music in pubs and other such stuff. Jonny went on his merry way, off to Dover for a gig or two before a ferry to Holland. I mooched about the records, bought one, went home.

Buy a raffle ticket here! Get ‘em to Texas!

https://www.hardwickecircus.tv/raffle