Hailing from Southend-on-Sea (UK) the Trusted are Dave Batchelor (drums), Dale Holt-Mead (guitar), Fin Cunningham (bass) and Tom Cunningham (vocals). You guessed it, the latter two are related, brothers even. From their first rehearsal the band knew they had something special.
The band name came from a Nick Lowe song called ‘Peace, Love and Understanding’ with a lyric “So where are the strong and who are the trusted?”. So,who are the Trusted? Time to ask singer/songwriter Tom some questions.
What started you off on your musical journey? Was there anything or anyone in particular that sparked your musical fire?
“Yeah, so when I was six years old, my dad took me to see Peter Gabriel. It was literally from that moment that I decided I wanted to make and perform music. It was a real clear and definitive moment in my life.”
What music inspired you guys growing up? How does that compare to what you’ve been inspired by lately?
“It depends on who you ask in the band. For me, I grew up in household that was always playing David Bowie, Talking Heads, The Who, Prince, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen etc. and I loved it all and still do. I still listen to and take a of inspiration from all these artists. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of St. Vincent and The National.”
You started the band in 2016. What were some of the goals and or the visions you had as a band back then? Have those goals changed over the years?
“When we started, our main goal was to reach as many people as possible. We have stuck by this but as we have matured, our approach has evolved. I think we are writing better songs now, so that should help!”
What’s the first song you send to someone to introduce them to your music?
“It depends on the day and how I’m feeling. If I was to send something to someone as of right now, I would probably send ‘Rebel Song.’ I am really feeling that tune at the moment.”
Tell me about your songwriting process.
“It’s a definitely collaborative process. We try to write songs together as collective. Most of the time, it starts with a melody or a riff and we build the song from there. We have written a lot of our songs by just jamming altogether in a room. During lockdown, we weren’t able to do this, so we moved more towards the use of laptops. Now we tend to do a bit of both.”
Where do you find inspiration for your lyrics?
“It’s all based on how I’m feeling and my emotional reaction to things that happen around me. That’s where most songs start for me. ‘Arkansas’ for example was a reaction to that sense of loneliness we were all feeling during lockdown.”
Speaking of ‘Arkansas’ – which is currently on our chart, what can you tell us about the song?
“It’s a song about loneliness and being left behind. The world is kind of politically and socially all over the place at the moment. I wanted ‘Arkansas’ to be a song about trying to escape all the cultural let downs and heartbreaks.”
Do you have any non-musical influences that have made a big impact?
“Films. I turn to film a lot for inspiration. I find that visual storytelling has always bled into my creative process.”
With you being a film nerd, what would be your dream film to feature your music and why?
“Ahahaha, tough question. Probably ‘Goodfellas’ just so I look myself in a mirror and tell myself, ‘I’m cool’.”
‘Arkansas’ is your most electronic song. Is this a new direction for the band?
“Maybe, but who knows? We are focused on making music that we want to make. We are definitely interested in exploring electronic textures and stuff but I think guitars will still play a large role in a creative process. I really don’t know where we will go next. Hopefully it’s not terrible (laughs)!”
‘Arkansas’ was mixed by Andy Bradfield who worked with Elbow, David Gray and Rufus Wainwright to name a few. How did that come about? How do you feel when you listen to the finished mix of a song like that?
“We came across him through his previous work. We really liked his approach to mixing music. We contacted him through something called Soundbetter and fortunately he was really liking what we were doing. He really gets what we are doing and knows how to make us sound authentic. We love working with Andy and hope we can continue to do so.”
What is the most rewarding part of making music?
“We love hearing when our music has connected with someone on an emotional level. There is no better feeling of finding out a song you’ve made has resonated with someone for one reason or another. Love it.”
As we look ahead to the rest of 2022, what can we expect from the band? Are we leading into potentially a new EP or an album?
“We’ve got one more song coming out before the end of the year and then we head into the studio to make something. We don’t know what it will be, but it will be something…”
What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?
“I really like ‘Taste the Brainbow’ by Blokeacola. Loads of interesting textures and melodies. Also, loving that Bob Dylan reference.”
What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?
“‘Maybe I’m UpsideDown’ by Wooden Giraffes because it’s a beautiful tune and we love them.”