THE TRUSTED (from l-r): Dave Batchelor (drums), Fin Cunningham (bass), Dale Holt-Mead (guitar), Tom Cunningham (vocals)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
From Essex, The Trusted are an emerging four-piece armed with an atmospheric, rather energetic indie-rock sound, coupled with lyrics that honestly reflect the band’s navigation through the turbulence of the modern world, as well as the bitter-sweet transition to adulthood.
With two EPs having already been released – both to much acclaim from fans and critics alike – the quartet recently unveiled a new single, ‘Criminals‘, which looks set to further establish them on the UK indie music scene.
Frontman Tom Cunningham spoke to me about the collective’s latest offering, their origins, songwriting, playing live, and more.
How did the band initially form?
Dale and I met at school, around the age of 12, and we were both in different various bans up until we were about 18. We then found ourselves in a band together, and it became apparent that we worked well together. We seemed to approach songwriting in the same kind of way, so about four years ago, we decided to form our own band.
My brother, Fin, had become an extremely good bass player, so we picked him up along with Dave, our drummer, whom we had met over Facebook, and when the four of us finally got in a room together for the first time, it felt special, it felt like we had found something. We named our new special thing The Trusted, and we’ve been building it ever since!
How did the name The Trusted come about?
Band names are so hard come up with, as it’s either taken, or it sounds stupid. Luckily, we found the name in a Nick Lowe song, ‘Peace, Love And Understanding‘, which features the line, “So where are the strong, and who are the trusted?”
When we looked into it, we realised that no-one had taken The Trusted, so, without hesitation, we snatched it up. I like it, because it doesn’t really mean anything, and that kind of relates to us. We want people to interpret our music in their own way.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
It’s all over the place, as the process changes all the time. Some of our songs were written in a room with the four of us just jamming, some songs were written in front of a computer, some began as an acoustic idea sent over WhatsApp.
It’s really messy, but at the same time, it’s organic. All of our songs have come into existence naturally, and I think that’s the way it should be.
What inspires the band lyrically?
Our songs are inspired by everything. We are living in a strange time. Everyone is being emotionally and politically challenged. A lot of our songs are about how we deal with all this complicated stuff.
With the lyrics, I tend to always approach everything from a personal point of view, for example, if I’m writing a politically-charged song, it has got to come from my own experiences, and it has got to focus on my own emotional responses. That’s how I find my way in, that’s how I can craft something that makes sense.
You have just brought out a new single, ‘Criminals’. How was the recording process for that?
Well, once we finished writing it, we knew we had something special on our hands. Our producer, Rees Broomfield, really understands arrangement, so it was really fun mapping out how we were going to present ‘Criminals‘ on record, and because we were confident in the song itself, the recording process was really straightforward. It basically made itself.
In addition to the latest track, the band have also unveiled two EPs in the past year – debut ‘Vicious’, and follow-up ‘Love And Suicide’ – to overwhelmingly positive responses. How were the reactions to those, for the band personally?
It was very reassuring. We make music for people to enjoy, we want people to connect with us. When we hear that someone “gets” our music, we always find ourselves wanting to push forward and be even better. It’s inspiring stuff!
You have performed live at venues across much of the UK, including at the Camden Assembly and the Dublin Castle, as well as supporting the likes of DLRM and Dutch Mustard. How were they as experiences for you all?
We’ve been very lucky to be able to play with loads of really great artists and bands. Every time we play with someone special, we learn something from them, whether that’s how to refine our sound, or how to make things sound bigger, etc, etc… Playing alongside great artists is always enlightening.
Also, how is it overall – for the band – playing on stage?
It just feels right, we love it! When we are off stage, it wouldn’t be out of place to say we are all “socially awkward“ (laughs) (I’m allowed to say that, because the others are not here at the moment). Once we are up there, we basically come to life. We all function better on stage than we do off…
How has the global coronavirus pandemic affected you all?
It’s been a sad year for everyone. We’ve been lucky in that we all live near each other, so we’ve been able to meet up, go on socially distant walks, record, etc, etc…
We really miss playing live, however, we are all aware of so many other people who have been affected in far worse ways by the pandemic. Our hearts go out to them.
In the band’s opinion, how will COVID-19 affect the UK music industry in the long-term?
I think the effects are going to be devastating for a little while. We’ve already seen venues close down, people lose their jobs, etc, and I think that will continue into next year.
When live music finally returns, I think there will definitely be a new appreciation for it. People are really missing live music at the moment, so there will be huge demand!
And lastly, now that ‘Criminals’ has been released, what are your future plans?
In these uncertain times, our main goal is just to release more music. We are sitting on some really exciting stuff, and we can’t wait to get it all out there.
‘CRIMINALS’ – THE LATEST SINGLE FROM THE TRUSTED – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: