Courtesy of Grandstand Media

Red Rum Club on Their Addictive, Collaborative Sound

Over the last two days, this band has played in both Brooklyn and Philadelphia, which physically solidifies their place in our lives after months of being a sonic constant in our ears and hearts.

Red Rum Club, based out of Liverpool, do not take themselves too seriously. This works for them, as their pop rock style is a not only catching the attention of audiences here and across the Atlantic, but it has also caught the attention of one of our favorite retro rock stars: Sir Elton John. That’s right: the addictive sounds of Red Rum Club reached the very top, and the band was floored by the warm reception the “Candle in the Wind” singer gave them via Zoom. It truly was a landmark moment for them, and more milestones have only come their way since. 

The UK band consists of Francis Doran (lead vocals), Tom Williams (guitar, backing vocals), Michael McDermott (guitar, backing vocals), Simon Hepworth (bass guitar), Neil Lawson (drums, percussion), and Joe Corby (trumpet). Already deep into the roll out of their fourth album, Western Approaches,. the six-piece have maintained the buzz that singles “Afternoon” and “Hole In My Home” generated with more releases and more personality. Horns, drums, and a light back beat fill their repertoire and add to the dynamics of the band. It’s a group effort, but one that is a lot of fun for these bandmates, friends, and brothers. They steered clear the opinions of others for Western Approaches and continue to stick to their guns when it comes to their overall sound, as well. This is a band that wants to make music, but music that is as catchy and enjoyable and rocking to them as it is to anyone else.

As Red Rum Club geared up for this tour in the USA, they made a pit stop with The Aquarian so that we could chat about their latest projects, getting starstruck with Elton John, and all of what is next for them.

The band’s music speaks for itself – melodic, lighthearted, joyful. I hear many horns on the project, too. Was that the intention when forming the band and putting together Western Approaches?

Thank you! The horns you hear come from our trumpet player, Joe. I think with Western Approaches being our fourth studio album, the intention was just to create something that we liked. You can quite easily fall into the trap of making something that makes sense as a next step for the band, or doing something that you think the vast majority of other people will like, but there’s nothing more fulfilling than having a body of work that you like personally.

I read that the album title has a lot to do with the Liverpool industrial scene. Can you tell me more?

About two years ago we traded in our city centre studio for an empty vessel on the dock roads in Liverpool. It was cold and rat-infested at the time and there was a lot of industrial noise from the docks seeping through the walls and leaking onto our demo tracks that we were trying to record. Inadvertently, I think this ended up having some influence over us. Western Approaches is also an old World War II naval base in Liverpool that was responsible for safe shipping across the North Atlantic Ocean between Liverpool and America. Something about this fascinated us, and we had our title.

What song does the band hold close to them off the new album? Why?

I think every song that makes a Red Rum Club album usually makes it because we hold it close. We’re very proud of them all for different reasons! We’re really enjoying the reception “Hole In My Home” has been getting, though, with our live audiences.

What has changed in the course over the past few years personally and professionally that has inspired the lyrical content of the album?

Like I said, we’re four albums deep now. We’ve grown together; life has evolved and expanded for us all. We have new experiences and perspectives, so the lyrics will probably reflect that.

“Afternoon” is a great tune. It shows off how fun you all are within the lyrical content. What inspired it?

Tom came up with the riff for “Afternoon” on an acoustic guitar when we were sitting in the sunshine at South By South West in Austin, Texas. We had been out for a late night that ended with the sun rising. We wanted to write something about those nights. 

You met Elton John via Zoom. Was he a muse for the band? We know that he helps many bands put a face to the music with his radio show Rocket Hour.  

Speaking to Elton John was one of the most surreal experiences we’ve ever had. He has to be the most famous person we have ever spoken to, but the most important thing was to be recognized by him for our music. For us, he will go down in history as one of the very best to ever do it!

How has the Liverpool music scene changed through the years? It’s getting to be quite the hotspot for upcoming bands. 

Liverpool has always boasted an amazing array of bands and artists. I think now it’s definitely thriving. The number of incredible creatives all carving out a career for themselves is inspiring for us to be around.

What are the dynamics like in a six-piece?

We can’t talk for all six-piece bands out there; on paper it should be a nightmare, but it’s not. We know each other inside and out and we work really well together. There are always compromises to be made, but I think as long as no single person is bigger than the collective then you’re on the right track.

Do you think its Red Rum Club’s time to shine here in the States?

We’re ready when you are, America.

Are you looking forward to the US tour? 

We can’t wait for the US tour. Since 2022, when touring America became a part of our lives, we’ve all agreed it’s not something we will take for granted. We want to come over and play our music as often as we can!

What goes into a production for a tour like this?

Lots of little intricate things to remember, all of which we learned the hard way. For example, if you fly a guitar on an airplane, you need to wind the strings loose for the flight. Our first time outside of the UK, we learned this, as all of our strings snapped on stage!