We caught up with Into The Ark after their gig for the Coffee House Sessions Tour!
The Coffee House Sessions are a series of live acoustic and semi-acoustic performances from some of the UK’s hottest singer song-writers and acoustic musicians.
Join us every Wednesday in the Terrace bar to see newly signed artists perform live for free!
Last year we were joined by the likes of Seafret and Hudson Taylor to name a few…
How has the tour been so far?
It’s been amazing. It’s very tiring at times but I think all the new people we meet and all the places we go to seem to pick us up every time. Especially the people working for Coffee House as they are really nice people and they have been going the extra mile for us every day getting us food and drinks and sorting out the parking so that takes a lot off our minds. The only tiring thing I think is mainly the driving, we’re finding the singing pretty decent I suppose. The first gig is always a bit tough, as it’s somewhere new, then after that we’re a bit warmed up. It’s been going really good.
How does it compare to your headline shows?
It’s very chilled, very relaxed, because we’re kind of just plonked here and they haven’t come to see us, they’re just chilling in their regular bar. So we turn up and try and win a few people over and hope they enjoy it. At every gig there’s been a handful of people who have liked it so that’s all we’re looking for really, try and get a few people to get on the social network and hopefully come to a gig in the future. The majority of them have gone really, really well so we’re absolutely loving the touring experience.
How do you choose the setlist for the shows?
It pretty much changes every single show until the last couple of days when our manager was like “you need a set setlist” so we were like “okay!” which we understand. We were just crowd-pleasing, we still play our own stuff regardless but we do like to chuck a cover or two in just to show that we can play in different styles and vocal ability. Obviously everyone just wants to hear a song they know as well sometimes so it’s just to please them really. We have fun playing the covers though, we do our own arrangements, so we try and change it up so it’s still a bit fun for us.
What’s your favourite cover you do?
I love doing ‘Could You Be Loved’ by Bob Marley, we love Bob Marley. We’ve got loads, ‘Let’s Get It On’ by Marvin Gaye. We like the classics as well, just the classic Motown songs.
Did you play any festivals this year?
Yes we did. We did Loopallu Festival in Ullapool at the top of Scotland, we did Bingley Live.
That’s not far from here!
Yeah that was awesome. Really good. Considering there’s only two stages, you’re bound to have someone watching you. I think that was our first festival maybe, and we were on the same stage as Scott Matthews who I’m a big fan of and Meadowlark who I’ve seen gig before. So it was wicked to be on the same stage and those guys and the show went really well, we had a really positive response. We also did Livestock in Gloucestershire, alongside The Hoosiers, The Feeling, Scouting For Girls and Toploader. Those are the only festivals we’ve done so far, we played at Edinburgh Fringe as well, so we have done quite a few, very low key ones though.
Do you prefer them to your own shows then?
Sometimes, we love them all really. I don’t know, we’re really excited for these headline shows. Thursday and Sunday this week we are playing our first set of headline shows so just super excited for that but we love the festivals. When summer comes back around, hopefully we’ll be jumping on things like BBC Introducing, Glastonbury, Green Man Festival which is a wicked festival in Wales. Really dying to play that, it’s a kind of folky and very varied festival so it’d be great to play that and all my friends can come to that to see us at a festival.
What would be your ultimate festival to play?
Probably Glastonbury. I’d love to play Green Man. Any festival is always good because everyone’s always in high spirits.
So how did you start the band, how did you get into it?
We’ve been doing it for about 6 years now, I met him when he was 14 and we both played individually. It’s a very small village we were from and the nearest town is Blackwood so there’s not many people into the same music, or wasn’t back then. Not even many musicians around that area. To see this 14 year old singing with this deep soul voice, I’m just like “what’s going on here?” so we end up doing a set together. Everybody just went nuts and loved it so we did a bit of busking, and we’re still very young at this point and learning a lot about music ourselves. I was just waiting for Taylor to finish college and I told him once he finishes college we will go travelling and see what we can do around the world, so we went off, did some travelling and played some music. That’s when we got some interest from some labels and management, so we came back from Tunisia, had a meeting, we got management, we ended up signing a publishing deal with Warner Chapel in May. So about then is when Into The Ark started, like super professional, super flat out, original music. We’ve always wrote and done our own thing on and off but we were a bit too scared to take it serious and see people’s response, but the more we did it the better reaction we got and then here we are now I guess!
What made you want to start music in the first place?
For me, it was watching School Of Rock. Honestly I’m not even joking! Someone told me in school when I was in Year 7 or 8 that apparently I look like Zach from School Of Rock. So I definitely had to check that out so I went to Blockbuster when that was a thing, rented and watched it and I was quite offended! I don’t look like him now but I watched that and I thought that was what I wanted to do, I wanted to be on a stage and singing. I started playing the guitar and singing from then, and here we are.
How did the band name come about then?
So it’s like 2 by 2, into the ark, and we’re a duo. That’s the cleverest answer we have. It sounds folky!
Can we expect any releases soon?
Definitely! Over the last 8 months we’ve been in the demoing process, going in and out of the studio with different producers, trying some sounds out, writing some new songs. Writing some songs on the day as well, having some sessions with some amazing people. We’ve got loads of stuff in the pipeline to release, we’re just going to get the sound right and see what to release next. Definitely next year we’ll have a record out.
What other plans have you got?
Take over the world! No, I think we’ll just do this tour, hopefully release an EP, get back on the road again as that’s where we live, that’s what we love. Write some more music, see more of the world and just having a good time. Literally the dream for us is just to live comfortably off playing the songs that we write and seeing a bit more of the world. Hopefully that’ll continue and then we’ll be happy.