We catch up with Ruth Patterson and Conrad Bird of Holy Moly & The Crackers following their rocket fuelled appearance at Cropredy 2022
Conrad Bird and Ruth Patterson from HM&TC were kind enough to join us sitting in the sun by the side of the press hut with the sound of Rosalie Cunnignham onstage as the backdrop.
ATB: The first thing we’ve been asking all the bands we’ve spoken with is their views on Cropredy.
CB: I don’t know about you Ruth, but for me when I was a teenager really into folk music and the tradition in Britain, I was a massive fan of Fairport Convention so Cropredy has always been there on the periphery. I’ve always looked at the lineups and thought about playing here – never thinking it would happen when we first started the band.
RP: When we started playing in our mate’s kitchen ten years ago we never thought about being on a stage that big.
CB: When we got the offer we realised how big it was. Even thinking about the audience who come and when we were doing our signing, it was like you know you’re going to see them again as they seem invested in music which is really nice. This show for us though is extra special with it being so long in the waiting and it is one of those festivals that has such standing. Noy just in the folk festival scene but I think it transcends and is much more than that.
RP: For us, it’s really nice after playing Boomtown yesterday and we do lots of different types of festivals, but this is full of people who absolutely love music. Everyone who buys a ticket for Cropredy wants to see music and follow it and be in it. You can tell everyone is listening and it’s so special to play to a crowd like that. I love the other festivals we do but you get somewhere it’s all about dancing, not knowing or caring who the bands are. That’s fine, but festivals like Cropredy really mean something to us because the people appreciate the music so much. We’ve wanted to do it for years so it’s nice to finally be here.
ATB: You become a part now of the Cropredy inner circle!
CB: Yeah! And even before today, and also talking to a lot of people today, they tell us how they come to Cropredy every year and the number of people who said to me today “my parents brought me here when I was in the womb!” it’s almost like a DNA family.
ATB: And of course, you’re so much about being a live band and getting back to playing must be crucial and if no-one else has a good time when you play, there are six people on stage who are having a blast. And watching you today, it struck me that there’s so much going on, who’s the hardest working member of the band?
RP: It depends – all of them in some way – but Tommy’s the driver and he’s got to play those drums, he’s got to carry all of that. He’s a workhorse for sure! He’s done fourteen-hour drives getting us around Europe through the night and allsorts.
CB: The thing is though, I keep asking him if he’s ok and if we need to hire a driver – which we did once as we had a really silly drive and we stopped at some services and he had a double espresso and sat in the middle at the back just watching the road because he can’t switch off, he’s gotta be working all the time! But to be fair to all the band we all have our little jobs.
RP: We’re all little components, like little cogs in the big wheel and there’s no diva-ishness that goes around, but Tommy’s the biggest cog. And all of us have really different personalities and lots of different musical tastes which is why some of the albums don’t always make much sense, but that’s when you can listen to a track and have one thing completely different from another. But I really like that as it keeps things exciting and I might be onstage doing something and see someone else and wonder what’s going on.
CB: And for me, it’s about live performance as much as a music show and without being bitchy, some musicians don’t always understand that. Our show is a bit manic but I like the idea that you mention of not knowing where to look with things kicking off at the same time.
RP: None of us are the best musicians in the world but what we do is give it 110% of everything – arms, legs, running around, instruments, everything. Nothing’s ever the same.
ATB: Just to digress from the music slightly, we know that Ruth is a campaigner for access and equality for artists and audiences so how does Cropredy rate for that?
RP: It’s been fantastic – really really good – I’ve been pleasantly surprised all year really as we travel around. Over lockdown and having theta time without festivals, putting on shows and having venues closed, it’s been maybe brought to the attention how things need to change so I’ve been impressed but especially here. It must have taken ages to set up ramps and it seems like no big deal. Everyone’s so attentive, checking everything’s alright or needs changing, so we’ve felt really welcome and valued and not an afterthought because disabled artists deserve to be here as much as anyone else – it’s not like we scrimp on the show! For me diversity and inclusion is moving forward in a very positive way which is exciting to see. I do feel like disabled artists can get left behind sometimes, but it’s changing. More does need to be done – I can get a bit disappointed about how access is provided but I couldn’t fault anything here.
ATB: We also wanted to say how I Will See You Again from your set is made for this field – a bit like Martyn Joseph doing There Is A Field – making up almost a Cropredy set of anthems, but is the little duet that the pair of you now do in the set an indication of any future direction you might take?
RP: One of the duets is going to be on the new album which I’m quite excited about, but I Will See You Again….
CB: …it’s not necessarily the direction of the band, but in the DNA of the band and me as one of the songwriters is very much Dylan, Woody Guthrie, John Martyn and those songwriters which is where my heart is at and will always be somewhere in what we do. Some of it’s about the party, some is about the energy but I always want to keep that in there to acknowledge our roots and the soft underbelly. And also – and I haven’t really talked about this yet – but I son;t know how long we’ll be able to tour heavily with this band but maybe in 10-15 years’ time I’d love to have a little folk band or duo as we have lots of songs like that just written in the bedroom that don’t really see the light of day that we just write for ourselves.
ATB: And Ruth is treading a solo path too…
RP: I’ve got my Ruth Lyon solo project with an EP and a little headline tour and I was in Austin in March for SXSW.
CB: I was just the tour manager – it was great! Sitting at the bbq with the drinks!
Watch out for our coverage of Ruth’s upcoming Direct Debit To Vogue EP
Our thanks to Ruth and Conrad for sharing some time with us and to Stevie Horton at Iconic Media for setting up a well-organised interview schedule.
Holy Moly & The Crackers online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
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