The evening of a band's biggest headline show to date is something to remember. The weekend before they fly out to perform their first shows in America. It's a good time to be reflective.

"The fact that everything with our band has been so gradual and has taken its time makes this success seem more real, and maybe more deserved," muses Tall Ships frontman Ric Phethean, backstage at London's Scala, the venue they're about to headline, and the biggest of their career to date. "We've never really been a 'buzzy' band, and have never had a song that everyone talks about. The majority of our fanbase has been made up of us playing live and people actually seeing us and meeting us, and it's really nice that we can tour round and there's so many familiar faces, and people that have come to see us 15, 16 times, and they're just mates now, and it feels like a much more organic and genuine process. They're coming to see us and it's their own decision to like us and invest their time and money into liking and seeing our band. It's much more rewarding than a magazine shouting at you to love a band who've just released their big hit, and having loads of people show up just because someone's told them to, and tonight, our biggest headline show, will be filled with people who've seen us grow and flourish and really love our band, and we believe that's the best possible way to do it."

Tall Ships have been joined live by James Elliott Field, formerly of Tubelord, on keys to create Tall Ships 2.0; a four piece. "It sounds massive now, huge. We feel like now we've got the base live set up. Before it's been a bit hit and miss, and we've been changing it every time, with different keyboards and different setups, but now we feel we've got the kind of core base, and it's great fun and sounds big, which is what we've always wanted," says Ric. "The last two tours we did, the UK tour and European tour at the end of last year were both pretty stressful for us, and for me personally, as I was having to play all the keyboard parts, do all the guitar parts and sing all this stuff, and there was so much stuff to do that it just wasn't very fun. We're not very good with actually making things sound good, so it's great to have Jamie, our producer, who actually played on the majority of the album, to come and play with us. It's working really nicely."

The Falmouth band played every support show imaginable in 2012, and drummer Jamie commented on how those shows have affected the turn out and reception at their headline shows, and also what a band can learn from going out on tour as a support. "The main difference is more people are coming to see us every time we headline around the UK. We also pay close attention to how a band that we support or play with conduct themselves onstage, and their work ethic off it, and feed off that and channel it into our own live show and touring lives."

The band released their debut Everything Touching almost half a year ago, four years after they became a band, but, according to Ric, they couldn't have done it any earlier. "With the release of that album it actually felt like 'oh, we're a band now, we're doing this properly'. With the two EPs and all the tours before then, we were kind of scrambling around, figuring out what sort of band we wanted to be, and what our sound was, and the album was a really long time coming, and there's no way it could have come out any earlier. We needed that time to actually become a band and figure out what the hell we were doing, because if we tried to write an album of songs before the record, we actually couldn't have done, and it's all been very gradual."

The album took its time, and the success that's greeted with it also, but now, after the waiting, Tall Ships are in the ascendancy, and working their way (gradually, of course) to becoming one of the country's most important bands.


Everything Touching is out now. You can visit the band by heading here.