Toploader‘s debut album, which was renowned for that track, Dancing in the Moonlight, album being Onka’s Big Moka has reached that twentieth landmark this year and to mark the anniversary the band are doing much to celebrate, which includes some tour dates as well as a vinyl re-issue. Lead singer, Joseph Washbourn spoke with The Fountain about performing in Paisley for the first time as well as their plans to release a new EP.
TF: So it’s Onka’s Big Moka‘s 20th Anniversary this year, what are you doing to celebrate this landmark
I think celebrate is the right word, it’s kinda crept on us really that it’s twenty years old. It was our first record and it did well, so we really wanna go out and celebrate. I think we are going to be doing a package, a re-release with Sony, to get some vinyl out. When we released that record, vinyl hadn’t had it’s resurgence, so it never got released to any large degree on vinyl so we will do a special edition vinyl of it. We are talking about trying to do a couple of different orchestral versions on a couple of the songs, Dancing in the Moonlight, maybe Achilles Heel, just to add to the freshness of it.
And hopefully, we will go out and do a few dates around the end of the year, playing some extra tracks from it we don’t normally play. I kinda hope that album meant a little bit to some people. We get people saying that when they were at college it was an album they really loved. We play a lot of the songs from that album, but there are a lot of songs we don’t play from it and it will be nice to give it a refresh with some dates and the vinyl re-issue.
TF: So you’ve a new EP release and you are performing some shows later in the year, including Paisley? How do you find the Scottish crowd?
We have always had a great time in Scotland, we have always enjoyed the crowds up there. The chance to go there to play again is great really. As you say we are coming to Paisley later in the year, which we’ve not played in before, so that’s going to be exciting. We have always had a great time in Scotland. We have done festivals in Aviemore and Tiree, and all over the place really so to do some of our own shows and Onka’s stuff is gonna be great.
TF: And as for the EP what can we expect, more of a similar sound or something altogether different, it has been twenty years after all?
I think it’s going to be after we’ve done the Onka‘s 20th thing, so it will maybe be early next year but I am always writing loads of stuff so there is always loads of material, unfortunately almost too much sometimes because these days putting an album out every year is not something we have really done, and also these days it is always quite difficult to get people to sit down and take in a whole album unfortunately. Sometimes it’s an EP or it’s this and that. At the moment the songs sound like real Toploader songs, kinda up-vibe, a real positive record but we are not in the studio yet. What we will probably do is rehearse a few songs up and throw them into the festival sets over the summer and that’s a good way of telling how they go down really. If it’s tumbleweed after one of the new songs, then you generally know that we won’t be putting that one on. Also, when you get a chance to learn to play them live it’s a good way of gaging how they are going to go down really.
TF: Obviously a year of reflection for you all with this anniversary, if there is one thing you are most proud of looking back at your music career what would that be?
It doesn’t seem like twenty years at all really but I haven’t listened to that record for ages and ages and suddenly when you put it on you realise it’s beautifully naïve, it’s like some young guys that have kind of enthusiastic about everything. I know from my point from writing, it feels like a different person wrote it completely. It feels like a young record and I think that is what it communicated really. It was a record full of hope but that’s quite nice and you can’t always make that now, what I write songs about now is probably different to what a twenty year old kid writes about. It’s nice to reflect upon what we were doing then, and we have always loved playing live and that’s kinda the backbone of what our band’s about and we are still loving going out playing live and really appreciate that we can still go out and do it. And the songs have changed and evolved with it, so it will be nice to revisit some of the songs on the album that we haven’t played for ages.
TF: And how do you find your fans connect with you through this album, it was obviously your debut and had a lasting impact?
Because it was a successful album and the fact that the biggest song we had on that album was Dancing in the Moonlight and the fact that it still gets played a lot on radio and still gets heard a lot. We get people at the gigs that are definitely new fans that have got into us by hearing that song to begin with so that certainly crosses generations. Yeah, maybe people have got into us via that song. These days everything is just so accessible, it’s not like it’s sitting in your mum’s dusty record collection, it’s there on iTunes, it’s really easy to get to. In the same way that it’s amazing you can do that trying to grab people’s attentions for the whole of an album these days is the other side to that. People are skipping onto the next thing. But twenty years, it doesn’t feel like twenty years at all but if we can connect to some new people that would be great.
Toploader are performing in The Bungalow, Paisley, on 29th November, 2019.