Hampshire-duo Ward Thomas have marked their emphatic return with brand new LP, 'Music In The Madness', and a coinciding UK wide tour for this Spring.
As the flag-bearers of British country music, the twin sisters have once again reimagined the genre with their fifth studio album.
We caught up with Catherine and Lizzy ahead of the shows this April.
Your new record, ‘Music In The Madness’ is out now! How were the last few days and weeks waiting for it to be released onto the world?
It feels like it's come out really quickly, and it feels amazing for us to actually finally be able to share a lot of the music that we have lovingly put together in a project into the world. It's both nerve wracking as well as exciting, because you just don't know how many people are going to buy or listen to it.
Is there an element of ‘what if..’ when you’re nearing closer to the release date?
I think that's an occupational hazard for the both of us. We are always overthinking everything, but we are really happy with the album and how all the songs work together. We just couldn’t wait for it to be out in the open.
Alongside the record, you’re heading out on tour. How are preparations going for those shows?
It is going to be a bit different this time around, because I (Catherine) am pregnant and will be quite heavily pregnant when we're on the road. We're trying to prepare as much as possible in terms of the set, but the sort of dancing around the stage, which to be honest has never been our thing anyway, isn't going to be something that we're all for this time round. We’ve been planning the set quite far in advance as you have to with five albums worth of songs - we're not going to play every single song from every album, but it takes a bit more planning and a bit more thought.
Is there a difficult balance when trying to curate a setlist that will excite you, but also appease the fans?
We absolutely want to play the new record and showcase some of the new songs, but there's also the old time classics that always go down well, as well as covers that we absolutely love to play. It is about balance, and in the past we supported David Gray just after his new album was released. Everyone wants to hear Babylon and Sail Away from ‘White Ladder’ and the reaction and energy to those songs was incredible, so I think it is just about us and the audience being in it together to have a good time.
There are a few iconic venues on this upcoming tour – is there still an excitement when you first step onto these stages?
100%! I don’t think we’ve played the Barbican before, so that’s going to be a real moment of art and quite surreal. Every time we stand and do soundcheck in these kind of venues, it becomes ‘real’ and we always wonder if people are going to turn up!
You’ve recently played C2C Country to Country – is there a difference in your preparation between festival performances and those when you’re headlining?
For our own shows, we have a little bit more work because people have bought tickets to our show that come see us. With festivals, you're kind of winning over a new crowd, so there's a tiny bit more pressure on us delivering and keeping people interested. They're both different, but also both great in different ways.
What else can we expect from you going forward?
We're going to be rehearsing up until the tour, then there'll definitely be more music to come. There are some summer festivals booked in, so hopefully we'll just keep going as normal and maybe take a little break in May when the baby comes.
Tickets for Ward Thomas' headline shows this April are on sale now.
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Image credit: Marek Puc