Trudy and the Romance
Words and Photos by Erica Tello @ SXSW 2019
Nostalgia, doo-wop and dreaminess is how I’d describe Trudy and The Romance in a few words. While merging 50’s blues rock into current 21st century garage punk, they produce romantic ballads with a flair. Putting their music into one genre is quite difficult, as they scatter across many. I met frontman and lead singer, Oliver (Olly) Taylor at The Line Hotel poolside on a warm day during SXSW. We covered their upcoming EP, dove into the inspiration of the video for their latest single ‘Doghouse’ and scooters taking over America.
Erica: Is this your first SXSW? Or first time in America?
Olly: First time at SXSW. First time in America with the band. I’ve been here with my family to Disney World in Florida. Does that count?
Erica: Absolutely! So how did your career in music begin?
Olly: I’m from Chesterfield, and I started playing when I was about 17 and kept playing in Uni.
Erica: How did you meet your bandmates?
Olly: I met Lewis at Uni and knew Brad from home. We actually have a new drummer, guitarist and keyboard player. We couldn’t bring them along because of visas and such. We’re looking forward to exciting times with the album releasing in May.
Erica: How long has the album been in production?
Olly: About a year or so. I hope that we can come back to the states in the Fall. I would like to go to Los Angeles, New York, and Austin. Maybe Chicago? Our label, B3SCI, is based in Los Angeles.
Erica: Hopefully you will come back to Austin! You went on tour with The Big Moon earlier this year? It was great to meet them and discover them during SXSW a few years ago as well.
Olly: Yeah we did a couple of tours with them. They’re lovely!
Erica: I wanted to ask you about your doo-wop, 1950s-esque sound. What truly inspired that unique sound?
Olly: My dad loves Elvis and 50’s rock and roll. Beach Boys, The Beatles. I’ve always loved doo-wop. No one really does it anymore.
Erica: Is there a reason or story behind your band name?
Olly: There’s a 90’s song called “Trudy Sings The Blues” by Trudy Lynn I heard a few years ago. Trudy and The Romance is a bit like Huey Lewis and The News. I liked those old band names. At one point our band was called Trudy Baby and The Bang Bang Shot. We thought we could be a band with the biggest name. Trudy and The Romance is romantic, 50s, and soft. People at SXSW keep thinking we are saying “Trudy and The Romans” by the way.
Erica: (laughs) There’s a restaurant in Austin actually called Trudy’s. It’s what we call Tex-Mex, so mexican food from Texas. Have you heard of it yet?
Olly: Yes! We heard! We went to The Hula Hut here and had Tex-Mex too. We’ve been having fun with the scooters too. They are so dangerous though! I think it’s pretty rock-n-roll riding on the freeway with no helmets on.
Erica: On the freeway?!
Olly: No maybe it’s called the highway. I’m not sure. Maybe roads? We call them carriageways in the UK.
Erica: So your album is called Sandman? What does that mean?
Olly: There’s a story in there that happened by accident. When you lose your girl and you go looking for something like you know success. The Sandman brings up the past and gets in your dreams. It’s a bit like a musical opera. The music is theatrical and has a story throughout the album. It’s a coming of age, breakthrough record.
Erica: It sounds like you have one theme of the Sandman tied throughout?
Olly: Yeah that one character. I’m really excited about getting it out there and starting to see more of Europe and America.
Erica: What was the creative process like?
Olly: I write all of the music, made demos with the band and put it together. We have a choir on it and the pedal steel guitar with a country sort of sound. It was all recorded in mono which sounds super weird in headphones, unlike listening to stereo all the time. Mono sounds like Christmas day, when you have the TV in the corner and it feels nice and cozy. It has a warmth and fuzziness to it. I’m so excited for it to come out. We have the single out right now. We just made a video for it, but we didn’t have a budget. It’s has a black-and-white VHS feeling with animation. I’ll show you actually!
Olly: Yeah the concept of the video is for ‘Doghouse’ is the crying girl over the Sandman.
Erica: Very relatable. Some tears were shed for me over some boys in high school.
Olly: (laughs) There were lots of crying boys too. Believe it or not.
Erica: When you’re performing do you have any favorite songs you like to perform?
Olly: The Original Doo-Wop Spacemen, our new single is very macho Bruce Springsteen wearing denim jeans. At the gig last night, the crowd was into it. Hotel Vegas was a fancy, Texan venue too.
Erica: Any artists you’ve been enjoying lately?
Olly: The Beatles (laughs), Happyness, and King Krule. King Krule’s new avant-garde, jazzy album is great. Willy J. Healy. He’s actually here at the minute. He’s a bit like Neil Young. There’s a band called Her’s that we also like.
Erica: What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve seen at SXSW?
Olly: A lot of things! I have no idea. Maybe I haven’t experienced it yet. I’ll get back to you on that. Maybe the scooters.