Since their last album Matador was so well received, the pressure is on for Red Rum Club ahead of the release of their highly-anticipated sophomore album. We caught up with lead singer Fran Doran to find out how the Liverpool based six-piece band have been getting on.
Liverpool Noise: Just to give our readers a better idea of who you guys are, I wanted to ask how you lads got together initially because there’s quite a few of you.
Fran Doran: Well, me and Tom are cousins and we all went to schools locally in the north of Liverpool; in Crosby and Waterloo. When we were teenagers, we were all playing in the same bars and clubs in different bands and then just through shear curiosity we got together one day to just sort of mess about because we all knew each other’s talents and that. We started play gigs for um… Just for beer basically *laughs*. For beer and to impress girls. Then after about 3 years of messing about, we met our current manager George and Carl Hunter and they were like “You guys are quite good you know, do you want some management for your songs?” and it just sort of went from there. Then we sort of stopped pissing about and started really writing songs and taking it seriously.
LN: Was there not a certain moment in your life or a certain song that made you realise you wanted to be a musician?
FD: Umm… I think it was sort of a slow process really. I got a guitar for Christmas so me and Tom spent the whole of Christmas day messing about. We couldn’t play a thing. We’d be upstairs whilst everyone was getting together and we’d just play guitar. Or try to, at least.
To be honest, for me it was… when I was 16 and Tom was 15 we started to play in bars in Waterloo and the bars just let us drink in there because we were playing. It was sort of like “Wow this is good this.” Like the attention you get when you’re up on stage, you get a bit of a buzz afterwards and get to drink ale for free as well.
LN: So, since you’ve released Matador you’ve picked up quite a following. I was wondering if you expected to get the reaction you did from that album.
FD: I don’t know if we expected it, but we knew the songs were good. You know, there was some catchy stuff in there, it was a little bit different and it had some good meaning to it but we didn’t know if we’d get the exposure. You always sort of expect the worst, don’t you? We just put it out, not really expecting anything. We did pretty well locally. Because of all the gigs we’d played and the contacts we’d made we picked up a bit of steam and a bit of a fanbase here in Liverpool and in Shefield and a few local places. But the fact that it went nationwide and even further with us doing a few European dates, that took us by surprise.
LN: With Matador being such a success, do you feel any pressure with this second album?
FD: Umm… Yeah, I think we did when we were recording it. The pressure was on. It was a little bit more meaningful in the studio, you know what I mean? When we were having debates on things it was a bit more… Heated. *Laughs*
LN: Oh, really?
FD: Yeah, but what we’ve come out with; we’re all happy with it. When we release it, we’re very confident that people will like it and the first two singles went down very well… But beforehand we were shittin’ ourselves.
LN: So, you say it was heated. Was that because with having two albums you’ll have a better idea of the direction you want Red Rum Club to go? If you do, what sort of direction is it?
FD: Just a little bit more grown up. Well, not grown up. I think it’s just bigger! We’ve played big shows and big festival stages so we started writing songs for that. So, when we went into the studio it was sort of “Yeah, go on. Put a big backing vocal choir on that” or sort of “Yeah, put a synth part on this”. I think we knew that these songs would one day be played on a big stage, so we started writing bigger tunes. Because Matador is more like… you can tell it’s six lads having a go with some guitars like. Whereas with this one we weren’t scared of branching out a bit more.
LN: Well, speaking of gigs. What would you say is your favourite venue to play in Liverpool?
FD: In Liverpool? I dunno. Well, we sold out the O2 academy twice. Our next one in Liverpool is Mountford Hall at the Uni. I’ve seen like Calvin Harris, Florence and The Machine and loads of people in that venue that we aspire to. We haven’t played it yet but that’s always been the aim. My favourite is probably, just for personal reasons that are melancholy and reminiscent, The Zanzibar. The amount of times we’ve played The Zanzibar is unbelievable.
LN: That’s closed down now as well, hasn’t it?
FD: Yeah it’s finished now. It’s a bit hard to take.
LN: I was quite surprised by that because almost all artists play there.
FD: Yeah its mad isn’t it? It’s just too expensive. The real estate is a prime location. It’s a shame like, but every band who’s been anyone, even the out of town ones, they all start there.
LN: What do you think it is about Liverpool that seems to birth so many artists and musicians?
FD: Well, you could always say the history. I think it’s because its so small, you know? You can come to Liverpool, walk down the road and there’s five boss venues. I think it’s a little bit more connected, a bit more of a village feeling. You can walk down the road and bump into The Wombats or Circa Wave. Whereas if you go to Manchester, it’s so big you sort of get lost in it.
LN: Yeah, you can sort of walk from one end of the city to the other in 30 minutes.
FD: Yeah, you don’t have to search far and wide to find a good band or a good venue or somewhere with live music.
LN: For my last question, I was curious what your next gig that you’ve got lined up is? Because you’ve got your tour in February don’t you?
FD: Yeah, the tour starts February. We’re gonna try and get some socially distanced gigs sorted for the album release hopefully. Fingers crossed. We might do one in Leeds, one in Birmingham, one in Sheffield and two in Liverpool… we think.
The Hollow of Humdrum is out on 2 October and you can pre-save it now on all major streaming platforms.