David Ford and Annie Dressner talk upcoming ‘Summer Holiday’ tour

Annie Dressner and David Ford are set to tour seaside towns including Whitley Bay ahead of their latest tour to promote their new album, 48 Hours

Ahead of their latest tour, musicians Annie Dressner and David Ford sat down for an exclusive interview where they talked of their new songs, the impact coronavirus had on touring, and how accidentally writing an album prompted a new tour.

It’s been about two years since touring kind of normalized since COVID. Is it something that’s been playing on your mind? Is it something you’re excited to get back to?

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David: “Definitely It’s been great to get back because you do sort of, after all the years that I’ve been touring, I suppose you take it for granted. To have it taken away, albeit, you know, temporarily, has really made you sort of take stock and appreciate what a gift it is to be able to travel around and sing songs to people.

Annie: “I basically took a really long break with touring to take care of my little children and then started touring. I was like everybody else, pretty frustrated, because I’d been kind of waiting to start playing again for a long time.”

Was it difficult to acclimatize to not touring? You know, you’re essentially stuck in your homes with everyone else. Was that a difficult shift to make? Did you channel that energy into a creative project like the one you’re going to be touring soon?

David: “I kind of liked it, the first year of lockdown... I found really inspiring. It was a terrible situation and a lot of people suffered very badly, but as a songwriter and especially one who writes often about world events and the state of the world as I see it, to have such a huge news event and nothing but time to sit and write songs about it, it was kind of magnificent.

“I just got loads of songs written and ended up accidentally making an album. I wasn’t intending to, just because I was at home and I’d written a letter of songs and I had this little studio thing down the bottom of the garden where I’m sitting now. I was able to work through it. I loved being at home. I loved the opportunity to write and I loved how much there was seemingly to write about.”

That brings me on to your newest release, 48 Hours, which is fantastic. How did that come about? Is that collaborative piece that you were wanting to work on or just a spur of the moment project?

David: “In January of this year, Annie and I didn’t know each other at all, we met once but we had this tour booked together. We played a couple of shows and then we had a few weeks off before the next bunch of shows and we enjoyed the first couple of gigs and sang on each other’s songs. After the first couple of gigs we were like, you know what, we should try and write a song together. That just snowballed into six songs in two days, hence the title 48 Hours.

“Then we were like, if we record these next week, we can have them mixed, mastered, pressed and ready to, you know, we can have like CDs for sale.

“Wouldn’t that be a great challenge? So that was the challenge that we gave ourselves in the downtime. We did it with time to spare. We really liked the record that came out so quickly. We seemingly accidentally decided to book some shows and make it even more difficult, we booked shows in places where people don’t usually book shows. Interesting seaside towns, small theatres and places that people, you know, certainly musicians, touring musicians, don’t ever try to do. Probably for good reason, but it’s nice to start out with a certain ambition, even if the ambition is rather silly.”

Dressner and Ford are set to start their Summer Holiday tour on July 7

One of the questions I always ask musicians is do you enjoy touring? A few people that I’ve spoken to have said, ‘oh, it’s a slog. It’s really dull waking up in hotel rooms and going here and then going to a stage and then going home and I’ve never really found anyone that’s like thoroughly enjoyed the touring experience.

Annie: “I enjoy it.”

David: “I love it. It’s my favourite thing. Yeah. I absolutely love it. It’s everything to me. I love it so much. Being on tour is the best. There really isn’t any part of it that I don’t like, I don’t think. I love that it’s hard work and I want to go out of my way to make it harder work than it needs to be. Just for the feeling at the end of the day of, you know, lying down in some terrible motel somewhere and feeling like you’ve absolutely given your everything, because if you don’t - if I’ve got something left in the tank - I feel like I’ve not done. I’ve not worked hard enough.

“I like to be absolutely exhausted at the end of every night on tour.”

Annie: “I feel like we achieved that on our tour.”

David: “Yeah, it was, it was intense in all the right ways.”

Annie: “Great. It was fun. It was good. I enjoyed it as well. I’m impressed by the sheer amount of gear you had.”

David: “Well, like I said, I like to make it difficult for myself. I think if you’re gonna go on tour you owe the people your very best show and you should challenge yourself and work at the very limit of your abilities and it should be dangerous and it should be exciting.

“I’ve got no interest in just playing the same safe show that you play every time. I want the chances of getting through the show without having made a colossal f**k up to be slim. I want it to be slightly beyond my comfort zone and abilities.

“We booked the tour and we’re like ‘Oh great, let’s go on tour,’ and then we go, ‘hang on, it’s got six songs.’ We can’t just show up and sing six songs.”

“We decided we needed a bunch more songs. So, we hastily wrote a bunch more songs. We’ve got a couple of strategically chosen cover versions. Plus, obviously we both have a fairly, you know, fulsome back catalogue that we can draw upon.”

Every show is a bit different and a bit dangerous. Was that an active choice to make those strange venue choices?

Dressner: “Pretty much. We spent like 10 days researching tiny theatres, which is actually harder to figure out than it sounds. One of the places that we’re playing is the smallest theatre in the UK, The Small Space in Barry.

Ford: “We deliberately wanted, because it’s the summer and no one ever tours in the summer, because apparently it’s a terrible idea, we decided to do that and because it’s festival season. We thought, well, you know, since it’s the summer, let’s go to the traditional English seaside towns. Let’s do a proper summer holiday. We essentially, without really thinking about how we were gonna pull an audience in various different places, we started going through the places we could think of.”

Ford’s latest track, Just Like You, featuring Dressner, can be found here.