Rock duo Tooth & Nail recently released their new single Ghost Train. The duo are quickly gaining a legion of fans so we got on board to ask them to take on our A-Z challenge!
A song that made you want to make music?
The first song that made me want to make music was ‘Livin’ On The Edge’ by Aerosmith, that was the song that made me want to be in a band when I was 10. I grew up in a very musical house, I was listening to Beatles and Motown records at 7 on my little record player. I would sit on my bedroom and listen to Abbey Road and look through the gatefold, getting lost in the artwork, photographs and lyrics whilst listening to the music.
Best rider you’ve ever had?
Tooth & Nail played in London early in 2017 and there was just us and an opening act, who was a solo artist. Bearing in mind there’s only two of us in Tooth & Nail, there were 40 cans of beer and 20 bottles of water, that’s a lot of liquid and a very generous promoter right there!
Craziest moment you’ve experienced in the band?
Probably seeing our second Tooth & Nail single ‘Troubled Times’ get all over Spotify on differing playlists. Not bad for only our second ever single.
Deepest lyric one of your songs features?
Troubled Times is very much a statement song – it’s very political without being preachy. It’s a reaction to Brexit, to Trump, to the general rise of the right wing and media manipulation. So that’s pretty deep lyrical content for a rock n’ roll band!
Easiest song you wrote?
Troubled Times was one of those songs that just came together very organically. After only 2 jam sessions we had the nuts and bolts and then it was just a case of tidying it up and getting it studio ready. Dan is a very good songwriter and with the simplicity that a two piece comes with, the songwriting is very concise and direct. 3 minute rock songs that are going to grab your attention and leave you wanting more. There’s a definite art to it but Dan was pretty acclaimed songwriter in his own right previous to Tooth & Nail, so I’m blessed with his ability to write songs – he knows what he’s doing.
Favourite song in your set?
This will probably differ between Dan and myself but mine is probably ‘Factory Floor’. It’s the longest song in the set and is the most indulgent in terms of what is going on in the song. There’s a lot of different riffs and sonic changes. I think it borrows a lot of what is awesome about more grandiose, classic rock songs. People often come up to us after a show and ask us ‘what was that cover ‘Factory Floor’ that you played, who’s it by?’ – well it’s one of ours!
Guest you’d most like to feature on your record?
That’s a tough one as we have such a specific dynamic with there only being two of us and we have such a definitive sound. It would perhaps be nice to get someone in on keys perhaps who could complement and fill out our sound, Rami Jaffee who plays keys for Foo Fighters would be a good shout, as he can really fill out the rock’n’roll sound with his various keyboards, subtle but purposeful.
Hardest thing about being in a band?
Being away from our families when we are on tour is tough. Dan and I both have little girls so we miss them like crazy when we’re on tour. Being on tour is great and the buzz is like no other but it’s always nice to come home too.
Interesting fact about one of your members?
I was in a few bands when I was younger, I also spent time living in London as a session drummer, but I was in the 22-20s before they got signed and exploded. I left shortly before all this happened as the other two members used to travel up from Lincoln to Leeds on the train with all their amps and gear, I would pick them up from the station and we’d go rehearse. After a while it was decided this wasn’t very practical so we called it a day. 6 months later I was watching them on the Other Stage at Glastonbury after they’d just been featured on the cover of the NME.
Jokes you have in the band?
Luckily Dan and I both have a very similar sense of humour which helps when there’s only two of you and you spend nearly all your lives in each other’s pocket. When we’re on tour it’s a little like The Trip with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, lots of rubbish impressions, plus we’re constantly quoting Simpsons to each other.
Key to writing a song?
For me it’s about being as concise as you can. We live in a very disposable culture so mainly, people want 3 minute singles. We try to write songs that are a little unpredictable, often with a couple of time changes thrown in. Being a two piece, you have to think about every minute detail of the song, how it will sound on record and how it will translate live. Whatever we record in the studio has to be done live so when we write songs, we have to find a balance of all those aspects. We both have near identical musical reference points and influences so we very rarely disagree when we’re writing songs. We try to include what we love about our favourite music into every single one of our songs, nothing is throw away. It’s giving the people what they want but condensing it into something accessible.
Longest distance you’ve travelled to play a show?
In Dan’s previous solo incarnation, he toured the US a couple of times, so I guess Dan wins that one!
Most inspiring musician you’ve experienced?
I have been lucky enough to see most of my idols in the flesh at gigs, but the most mind blowing gig for me was seeing Robert Plant in a forest just outside Bath. He and his band, the Sensational Space Shifters, were exceptional. Robert plays a mix of his solo stuff and Zeppelin songs but he doesn’t do Zeppelin by numbers, he allows his band to put their own stamp on them and he completely reinvents them. One of the band members is the legendary Gambian musician Juldeh Camrah, and the sounds Juldeh brings to the mix take the songs to a different place sonically. For the purist, this is probably not ideal but if you allow yourself to become part of the music, you forget that it’s even a Zeppelin song and it takes on a personality of its own.
New band you’d recommend?
We share a PR company with a Swiss band called Gran Noir who are getting a lot of well-deserved attention at the minute who have been on a couple of Spotify playlists with us who are worth checking out.
Opening for this band would be ideal?
Well, how long have we got……This is a near impossible question to answer, but if we’re talking in real world terms, it would be absolutely amazing to open for Rival Sons one day. Those guys are at the top of the pile right now in terms of everything they do. On record they are just faultless and live, they are one of the best bands I’ve ever seen, in every respect. Opening for them would give us chance to see the masters at work both on and off stage. A lot of Tooth & Nail fans are also Rival Sons fans so us opening for them would be the winning combo.
Place you’d most like to tour?
Tooth & Nail have a lot of fans all over the world. We get a lot of questions from our fans all the time asking us when we are going to go to the US. Dan has played tours in the US a couple of times, but I’ve never been in any capacity, so to go for my first time, as a musician, would be really something.
Quote you’d like to pass on to our readers?
Believe in yourself and the rest will follow.
Reason for the title of your recent/forthcoming release?
‘Ghost Train’ is our latest single (28 July 2017) and it’s questioning a love that was once there but is perhaps not anymore.
See us live at?
We’re on tour throughout Oct/Nov/Dec in the UK supporting the UK Foo Fighters (dates and tickets – toothandnailmusic.co.uk). We’re playing nearly all the O2 Academy venues and a couple more for good measure. Our label are also currently in the process of putting together our 2018 campaign which will hopefully see us play our own headline shows as well as a European tour and some choice festival dates here in the UK and in Europe. Keep an eye on our twitter for announcements.
The old days of music were better than the current, do you agree?
In some ways, yes, in some ways, no. The music of the 60s and 70s and the people that surrounded it created a magical time and sound and it was all fairly pioneering stuff, so it is nostalgic and inspirational to look back as most things that happened were happening for the first time, in music and culture. Today, culture is so skewed by so many different things and this often transposes into music, therefore nothing is original anymore, in its purest form. Probably the best thing about the industry nowadays is that with services such as Spotify, it is easier for bands to get their music heard and you don’t necessarily need huge record deals to get your music heard by the masses anymore. The downside to this is that this can breed mediocrity and so as a band you have to be astutely aware of not being part of that mediocrity and trying to stand out – which is tough! But if you know what you’re doing and you have a good work ethic and the music, you can stand out.
A previous group I was in in my youth used to have a merch stand that sold Frisbees with the band logo on, kinda cool.
Variations you’d like to do on any of your tracks?
A lot of our tracks would sound nice done acoustically. Our songs begin the writing process on acoustic guitar and we do have a mini set of acoustic versions of our songs ready for radio interviews or anything of that nature.
What do your fans mean to you?
Our fans are the reason that we are here and the reason we are making music. If you don’t have fans, you don’t have anyone to listen to and enjoy your music, that’s not the point. We are lucky to have fans all over the world and we want to keep growing that. We’ve never wanted to be confined to the city where we live, we’ve always had global ambitions and we’ve always wanted to appeal to a global audience – after all, music is a global, universal language.
X-rays or any treatments needed for band related injuries?
At this stage, we don’t yet have a road crew or techs, so we carry all the our gear to our gigs. As a drummer, I have a lot of heavy gear so at most gigs I have to do arm stretches and warm ups before the show because my arms are dead from carrying my gear from the van.
You’re late for a show, whose fault is it?
Ours. It’s our band, it’s our reputation, nobody else’s. People are there to see you perform and they’ve paid good money to see you, therefore it’s up to you to be professional, turn up on time, be respectful and put on an awesome show.
Zoo animal that best describes the personality of your band?
A leopard. We might not change our spots that often, but we know our strengths and we try to play to them the best we can so that our fans enjoy our records and enjoy our live shows.