Sargasso Trio put finishing touches to LP

EMMA OUTTEN If you have not yet heard of Sargasso Trio then you may well have done by the end of the summer. EMMA OUTTEN spoke to Emily Siddall, one third of the Norwich band, about how the making of their first album was a case of “and baby makes three”.

EMMA OUTTEN

By the time 16-month old Ivy was born she must have known Sargasso Trio tunes inside out. Ivy is the daughter of Emily Siddall and Ben Winn, two-thirds of the Norwich band who are about to release their first and as-yet-untitled album.

Even when Emily was eight-and-a-half months pregnant, she was still gigging with the band. By the time Sargasso Trio recorded the album, earlier this year, young Ivy was almost providing the backing

vocals.

Emily, Ben and band mate Pete Murdoch first met through Norwich's 40-strong marching samba band, about five years ago. A year later, having found it impossible to invite all their band-mates back for a Sunday afternoon jam session, the trio established themselves as a more manageable three-piece.

All three had worked in bands and projects prior to forming the band. Norfolk-born Emily and Pete were both lead singers in Norwich bands in the late 1990s: Emily, along with sister Kelly, was in Little Mink and Pete was in Schemer. And, since moving to Norwich eight years ago, Ben has been ubiquitous in the Norwich club scene.

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Norwich Samba brought Emily and Ben together in not just a musical sense, and nowadays Ivy tends to go everywhere with them. “It's a real family affair,” explained Emily, during a quiet moment when Ivy had been taken care of. Pete also has a toddler in tow: 18-month-old Earl.

With two of the trio in a relationship, it can lead to some interesting band practices, particularly if Emily and Ben have had an argument beforehand. Pete, according to Emily, has been nothing but understanding. “It can get a bit tense at times just having a young baby around,” she admitted.

But she said of the group dynamic: “It just kind of works, I don't know how it does!”

Last November Sargasso Trio signed to the independent label Tummy Touch Records, based in London and New York. “It happened quite quickly and was really unexpected,” said Emily, who added: “We all got a bit scared, thinking, 'We've got to take ourselves more seriously'.”

This has involved them sharpening up their act on stage, especially as they forever “chop and change” their instruments.

Sargasso Trio's influences include anyone from early Robert Palmer to Johnny Cash, and from Norwich Samba to Cuban music: “eclectic”, in other words. “There's a bit of folk, a bit of samba, a bit of electronic keyboard stuff...”

At the start of 2006, they finished the Sargasso Trio EP, recorded over a number of weekend sessions while their children crawled around their feet, entertaining themselves with obscure percussion instruments. “Not always the right notes at the right time,” as Emily explained.

One of the four tracks was called Free The Saxlingham One. Norfolk girl Emily had a confession to make: “I don't even know where Saxlingham is!” It turned out that Pete wrote that particular track.

Recording engineer Dave Pye from Lowestoft has been instrumental in the recording of both the EP and album.

Although some of the album was recorded at The Mill Studio near Diss and Penny Lane in Eye, some of it was recorded in Emily and Ben's dining room, when Emily and Ben took it in turns to hold the baby.

And all this has been happening while the three 30-year-olds are still doing the day jobs. Emily is a support worker at Newmarket House Clinic in Norwich, the clinic for eating disorders; Ben is a drum tutor and Pete works for Community Music East.

Emily says the album is due out in September, so expect to hear more of Sargasso Trio in the future. And if you see them, a fast-growing Ivy will not be too far away.

For more information on Sargasso Trio, log on to www.myspace.com/sargassotrio. The band is signed to Tummy Touch Records.

Sargasso Trio will be playing at VW Whitenoise Event, Bell Farm, Reepham Road, Norwich, this Saturday, August 12. Head to www.vwwhitenoise.com

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