A Few Moments with The Melodic
Originally from South London, The Melodic, is currently finishing up a six month stint in the United States. Huw Williams (guitar/vocals) and Rudi Schmidt (charango/melodica) speak of their exposure to the American jamband scene and finding their groove. From talk of West African jam bands to South American and Folk influences, The Melodic is a joyful live experience not to be missed. They will return to the U.S. in mid-January supporting our favourite Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit.
One of your first U.S. performances was opening for Leftover Salmon’s late night at High Sierra fest this year. What did you think of that show?
Huw Williams: We knew nothing about Leftover Salmon, but they got the crowd so into it. It was kind of like our first experience with the American jamband scene. It was cool. James, our drummer, was impressed with their drummer because he was going for it so hard, and free-styling along too; they kept the crowd going. I guess they were really impressive in terms of playing with a lot of intensity for a long period of time.
Had you seen a jamband play before?
Huw: Not really, but we had played with Keller Williams in Santa Ana.
Rudi Schmidt: One man jam band.
Huw: That was cool…When we played with Keller Williams there was a jamband crowd and they really liked what we were doing. We’re not a jamband, but they saw similar things in our music, the vibe, and the crowd really liked it.
Rudi: We incorporate lots of different folk influences, but it’s also really dance-y, and I think that’s why the jamband crowd can relate to it.
You are currently touring around the United States. Do you tour equally in the UK or are you focusing on the states?
Huw: We did a lot of touring in the UK before we came out here, but we are coming to the end of our five and half, six month pretty American touring. If you tried to tour for six months in the UK you keep hitting the sea, the same spots, so you can only go for like two weeks and hit all the big cities. It’s a lot easier to tour in the UK, but then the diversity is here is much greater. Towns are so different from the next.
Have you found along your U.S. tour that you’ve been more warmly received in one place?
Huw: It’s hard to say, but I think in the West Coast the crowds go for it a bit more. We had great reception in New York, and a really good time and following there. And we were in L.A. for six weeks and played a bunch of shows there. The crowd at High Sierra in the day the crowd was like topless, and that was really animate.
Rudi: I definitely felt like we built up more of a buzz in New York than L.A. because we played a couple of support shows and our own shows with quite good crowds whereas L.A. didn’t quite seem to build; I think that’s the nature of the city though.
Huw: New York seemed a bit more on top of each other so we met a lot of people, got them to our shows, and it was like a really good community of people.
Have you picked up on any major cultural differences in the United States versus the United Kingdom?
Huw: I’d say there’s a general more accommodating, easy going feeling in conversation when you meet someone for the first time; they’re much less guarded and more open to you in the states. Unless you were introduced through a friend it’s harder in the UK to have a really relaxed conversation with someone straight away.
Rudi: In America strangers talk to each other. You’re in the streets and strangers are talking to each other, and it’s really nice. That doesn’t happen very much in England, especially amongst the native British people, but here it’s great. I feel weird in London if I’m trying to talk to someone on the bus. They give you a weird look.
What do you enjoy most about England?
Huw: London is cool. You’ve got great cities here, and London has its own identity too. It’s a very diverse place with so much different music. It’s a very old city with old architecture; you can cycle around everywhere. We live in the South of the city, and it’s just kind of having that network, that community.
Rudi: I think London is just endless possibilities and that’s what’s amazing about it. You’re never gonna finish exploring it.
Now that you’ve seen a bit of the jambands are you interested in playing around that scene?
Huw: The crowds are great, so definitely. You love to see your crowds dancing. That one gig we did with Keller Williams while he was touring, it would have been nice to have done some more with him. I’m sure as we tour more we will cross paths with more jambands, and dip into that.
How would you describe your music?
Huw: It’s folk-pop, but its got a Latin American and Caribbean element to it as well.
Rudi: It’s kind of like folk with bass and groove. It gets a bit convoluted if we start drawing in all the different influences, but one big aspect of it is that it grooves, and we try and make it groovy.