The Railway Club

Interview with The Railway Club’s Martin Trollope, June 2012

2011 was a great year for South Shield’s band The Railway Club. The group recorded and released the widely acclaimed Waiting Room E.P. and played a storming show at Split Transmission before ending the year with the release of Christmas song ‘Footprints in the Snow’. For six months though the band have been studiously working on their debut album due out in August  – finally a video for the first single Broken Strings appeared online last week in preparation for its release on 9th July.  I chatted to front man Martin Trollope about the song, the album and also their plans for the rest of the year.

According to Martin “There are not very many parallels between the Waiting Room E.P. and the album in all honesty. At the time of the E.P I think we were trying to be a bit too clever which we got bored of very quickly …the album, for the most part, is simple songs played simply. Broken Strings is nothing like the E.P version. It’s a million times better.” The track certainly is more polished but doesn’t lose any of its ‘Railway Club’ charm – the first time you hear Martin sing the line ‘Broken Strings n’all’ with his local accent you remember that you’re in safe hands. If you close your eyes you could almost imagine its Mark Knopfler. Martin described the album as “very honest…it is our collective personalities compiled onto a record” and noted that people should also look forward to the album’s art work by local music stalwart Nev Clay.

The band actually played their first gig together in eight months at the Head of Steam in May, a night which Martin described as “really, really brilliant” in particular due to the fact that “…we actually managed to play the songs to the standard of the album”. Learning how to play the songs the way they were recorded has been something the band have been working hard on for the last few months “It’s been quite a long process but pretty fun too.” Recording the video for Broken Strings also helped them fine tune their live performance “It turns out that miming along to a song thousands of times in a row is a surprisingly good way to practice playing it…!” The video was initially supposed to be recorded in the band’s South Shields’ practice room (which they tidied especially) but they had to move into the corridor as the space wasn’t big enough – first they had to get permission from the security guard, by agreeing to tune his violin.

Martin noted that recording with Gateshead label Tiny Lights has “been an absolute pleasure…we’re honored that they have enough faith in our music to want to put it out! Railway Club joined their label mates in recording a version for Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 track Thunder Road for Tiny Light’s 1st birthday celebrations and the whole band are apparently “incredibly excited” for Springsteen’s show at The Stadium of Light on Thursday “Pretty much everyone we know is going so it should be a class night.” For the remainder of the year Railway Club hope to sell out the physical copies of the album and hopefully play some shows outside of the region. The band also plan to start working on new material fairly soon.

Railway Club release their debut single Broken Strings on 9th July and the band will host an official launch party at Cluny 2 on the 6th with support from Natasha Haws, Blank Maps and Acrobatic Society. Dave Brewis (from Field Music) is also apparently going to contribute a ‘DJ/akai-experimentalism’ set on the night. “We’re quite looking forward to finding out what it means!”