Dignan Porch: interview with Joe Walsh
Dignan Porch completed their first US tour in October-November last year; not just a quick visit to a couple of cities but a proper coast-to-coast trek. And on 15 February this year, they start their first European tour, in Paris. Not only do people clearly want to see them, they want to hear them too, if reviews for their excellent second album Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen (on Captured Tracks, like all their releases) are anything to go by. The band’s line up is now Joe Walsh (guitar, vocals), Sam Walsh (lead guitar), Hayley Akins (keyboards), Ben Goodwin (bass) and Luke Walsh (drums) and they are possibly the greatest export from Tooting, SW London, since Arthur Daley, Paul Merton, Matt Willis of Busted and the UK Subs. We spoke to Joe Walsh, as he was packing spare socks and clean pants for the tour, in January 2013. (Interview by Elisabetta, edited by Ged M)
SXP: You will soon be leaving for your European tour; what are you mostly looking forward to about this tour?
Joe: We’re looking forward to checking out places we haven’t been before, and playing to people that haven’t seen us yet. A tour is a product of combined effort, spanning a lot of different people, we just wanna get there and give people a great show.
SXP: You travelled the US coast to coast only a few months ago - how would you describe that experience?
Joe: The best thing we’ve ever done. Just a great experience. It seemed like such a massive thing before we left, but once we were there we managed to find all the venues, we never got lost or anything like that. We didn’t have a tour manager, we just bought a friend to help with some driving. It was a real adventure.
SXP: What attracts you most to touring? Some bands tend to be averse to touring, this does not seem to be the case with Dignan Porch.
Joe: At the moment we’d much rather tour than play one-off shows. We’ll set up a UK one probably around April. I think at the stage we’re at now it’s better to encourage people to come out and see us when we tour, and in between tours we can concentrate on recording new stuff.
Sounds pretty obvious, but we like going out on tour because of the people you meet and places you see. It’s fun and we wanna do it as much as we can while we’re still relatively young. There are a lot of places we haven’t played yet.
SXP: What are your next recording plans?
Joe: We’ve been recording another LP for Captured Tracks, it’s almost done. Think we need a couple more songs. I haven’t sent any of it to them yet so can’t say what date we’re looking at for release.
SXP: ‘Nothing…’ sounds very well recorded/ produced compared with your early songs. Are you consciously moving away from that early lo-fi sound now?
Joe: Yes the last record definitely sounded more polished, but it’s surprising how many critics still called it lo-fi, maybe they hadn’t heard the first album. No, we’re not moving away from DIY recording, in fact the new record has mainly been recorded at home, but using pro-tools, so it won’t be quite as fuzzy as the first record, perhaps a bit more than the second. So I guess the answer is we’re gonna move backwards and forwards between different recording methods.
SXP: You've always managed yourselves very well but can you still apply the DIY ethos to the band when you're so busy now?
Joe: It’s getting a bit harder. Also with most band members having full time jobs it can be difficult to make things work. A few of us have had to take unpaid leave etc. So we’ve accepted that to keep things moving we’re gonna have to work with a bit of a revolving line-up. For example Sam and Luke can’t come on the European tour so we have our friend Henry and James joining myself, Ben and Hayley. In terms of management, we are a DIY band and we like to have control over decisions, I don’t think we need a manager yet.
SXP: What are your plans once the European tour is over?
Joe: Finish the record and try and play some festivals.
SXP: I am going to ask the worst possible question that an interviewer would ask (ah!), where do you see Dignan Porch in 5 years time?
Joe: Ha, well we tend to release a record each year so we’ll have 5 more records I hope. We will continue to release records and tour. The amount of this we can do really depends on how ‘in-demand’ we are. Our music will grow old with us, so it will undoubtedly change as we ourselves will. Our passion for doing the band isn’t going to die anytime soon.