British Summer Time – Interview : Ward Thomas

GIGsoup spoke to British country duo Ward Thomas ahead of their recent British Summer Time slot. Catherine and Lizzy were supporting Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty as part of the annual summer festival season in one of London’s most popular parks…

What are most looking forward to when you play BST

‘It’s always a good fun crowd here. We played on the Summertime Stage last year, when Carol King headlined. We kind of knew what to expect when we got here. How well everything is put together and how amazing the atmosphere is. We can’t wait to see Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks as well.’

‘Every crowd is different. We love to have a good time. We just can’t wait to get on stage and we always love seeing people singing along to the songs that we’ve written. It was incredible seeing that. It makes everything so rewarding. You’re in the middle of Hyde Park, the middle of the best city! It’s got a different vibe here, especially as it’s a festival in the middle of the city.’

How did it come about?

We were offered the slot a while ago. Last year we did a cover of Carol King’s song ‘You’ve got a friend’. She shared it on Facebook. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. We’re very lucky’

You have had an amazing year so far playing some really high profile gigs. What’s been the highlight?

We’ve just come off an amazing tour. We got to see so many different places around the UK. The number one album was pretty surreal. Still don’t believe it. We were hoping for a top 40 and then it suddenly goes to number one, that was a highlight. But also Hyde Park is a bit of highlight each year. We played the year before last on the main stage with The Shires. That was electric. ’

What was the inspiration behind the title track to your album ‘Cartwheels?’

‘Cartwheels was specifically about a relationship someone is trying to save, but the other one’s not. We wrote it in about two hours. It was a really quick writing session. The co-writer Rebecca Powell got inspiration from a Paddy Griffin song ‘Let him fly’ There was a lyric ‘It would take an acrobat, and I’ve already tried all that’ She was like ‘Cartwheels’ that’s such a great idea for a song. She pitched it to other people, but they didn’t really take to it. She pitched it to us, we immediately got that. That was the first song we wrote in Nashville about 3 years ago now. It was a song we wrote before we wrote any of the others for the album. It just created the sound for this album, so we to named our album after it.

Tell us a bit about your writing process

It’s very natural and different every time. Depending on how we relate to it differently, sometimes Catherine might relate more to a song, than me and vice versa, and have more dominance in the room.’

‘We love to write about everything around us mainly, and along the songs we’ve written aren’t necessarily personal to us. They are very much an inspiration from someone who has gone through something that we know, a friend or family member. ‘Guilty Flowers’ was such a cool phrase. We loved it because, the idea of flowers is so lovely, but there’s also the guilty side to it.  We thought, that’s a song and it came out very easily. So many people have come up to us and said ‘We’ve been there’

Country music has a tradition of family bands, more recently artists such as the Brothers Osborne and Carter/ Cash Family. What makes that dynamic work for you?

‘We grew up on a farm, so we naturally surround by the country atmosphere. We heard the Dixie Chicks, Miranda Lambert and all sorts of country music from our cousin in Canada. It was just a very natural sound to us. Our voices lent themselves to that kind of style, better than other genres. It definitely helps being sisters because that genre very much blends harmonies. The topics in country music tend to be about family, authenticity, home. Being family members, we’ve shared all of that, and life experiences from the word go. That’s a huge part of being in a sibling country band.’

Quick fire questions

Countryside or cityscapes – Countryside

Singing or playing guitar – Singing

Party rings or Jaffa cakes – Jaffa cakes

British Summer Time