Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra surely have one of the most original sounds in the UK at the moment. Part rockabilly, part R&B, and a whole host of other parts, they’ve gained a reputation as a unique sounding band with a blinding live show. Before their show at ARC, Stockton we asked Damian Robinson to catch up with them to find out more about their sound and live show.
Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra produce quite a unique sound. How would you best describe yourselves to any of our readers who haven’t heard your music yet?
We coined the term “North Eastern swing” for our music as a play on words from Western swing. We take a lot of influence from early 20th Century American music, including Western swing, rockabilly, blues, jazz, R&B, but I write my own songs about life here in the North of England…hence “North Eastern swing”.
Your last album, ‘Something Blue’, received great acclaim. A year on from that record, what are your thoughts when you listen back to it now?
To be honest, I haven’t really heard it much since because I don’t really like to listen to my own music. However, last week I was at Riley’s Fish Shack in Tynemouth and they were playing that record and for the first few bars I thought: “cool, what’s this?” Then I heard my own voice and my toes twisted.
You tend to put out new albums every other year, so can we expect one next year?
Yes! I’m not sure when in 2018, but the plan is to record in the first half of the year so keep your eyes out for our greatest record yet in the latter half of 2018! I have big ideas for it, most of which still need to come to fruition.
You’re out on tour at the end of this month, so how are the rehearsals going?
Rehearsals? You mean gigs, right? We only really rehearse if we have a new record and new material; the rest of the time we do enough shows to keep on top of it all. We did a festival in Ireland last week with a Sax player who had never played with us before and had no rehearsals – and he smashed it! Rehearsals are for indie bands!
Paul is going to be back on the drum stool which, given the nature of your tunes, I would guess is a hard task. What will having Paul back do to the sound of the band?
Nothing is a hard task for Paul – he is the best drummer in the UK! He features on 2/3 of our records, so anyone familiar with those will know what he sounds like. I love touring with a drummer as it keeps things energetic and gives me space to go off on performance tangents while there is someone keeping a solid rhythm behind me.
Finally, your 7″‘s seem to sell out almost immediately. Are you going to release any new pressings soon?
We will no doubt release a new 7” before the next LP, so probably mid to late 2018. I do a lot of DJing of 7” records, mainly under the 50s/60s rhythm and blues bracket, and I want to produce something that I would play whilst DJing….although I won’t because I don’t like listening to my own music, but I definitely want to look more closely at that early 60s R&B sound including horns, Hammond organ, overdriven harmonica and guitar.
Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra play ARC, Stockton on November 18th. Tickets, priced at £10.00 in advance, are available from arconline.co.uk.