As the British band begin the countdown to the release of their third album, guitarist Paul Sayer explains why, after six years of steady ascent, they’re returning to the clubs.
This tour is called ‘Small rooms, new tunes’. What’s the smallest of those rooms?
They’re all in the ballpark of four or five hundred people, I think some even less.
Few bands of TTM’s status would willingly undertake a club tour. Why go back to clubs?
Over the last couple of years we’ve spent quite a lot of time in America, and we felt it was important to reconnect with our audience, especially the fans that saw the band develop in those same small rooms. And of course we’re going to road-test some material for the next album.
How many of those new songs will we hear?
Let’s say more than five. Three or four that will probably make the final cut have already been played live, and the record will have been made by the time we hit the road, so why not? I’m well aware that, as an audience member, listening to a completely unknown set of songs can be trying, so we’ll definitely be playing a whole bunch of stuff that people already know. But the whole point of this tour is to introduce the new material.
How are you making sure the few existing tickets get into the right hands?
To be totally honest, we haven’t. The tour was only announced via social media, and those people are our core fan base. We know there are some disappointed fans out there but there’s no real way around the problem. We’re also aware that some tickets have ended up on secondary selling websites, which is very disappointing.
You spent some time at Monnow Valley Studio in Wales in June. Is the recording process now under way?
Yeah. We’re going back in a month or two when more material is ready. At the moment we’re still shaping the album’s sound. For better or worse, we’re still a band that believes in albums, and we need make to make sure that its contents make sense.
Can you give us an idea of its direction?
It’s early days, so that makes it hard, but throughout each stage so far the watchword has been ‘simplicity’. In the making of the record and also its writing. Let’s not overthink anything.
Just like the other two, we’re making it ourselves with [engineer] Sam Miller. We did discuss using a name producer, and that’s something that might happen in the future, but with the club tour coming up it felt right to stay in touch with our roots. It was important for us to just go and do what we do. What’s special about our band is something that comes from within us.
Given the previous statement, it sounds as though no special guests are planned?
No. Again, we’ve met some pretty legendary musicians and I wouldn’t rule out some guest spots in the future, but right now we don’t want to overcomplicate the process.
Will the band’s live cover of Ziggy Stardust (recorded at the Forum just days after Bowie’s death and released as a seven-inch single for Record Store Day) make it on to the album?
We’re often asked about including covers, but no. We’ve never been interested in cover versions. When you make a record it should come from within.
When do you hope to release the album?
I’d love it to come out early next year. Our plans for 2018 are all kind of being based around that.
The tour begins in Hebden Bridge on September 26.