Last week I met with local Teesside Band The Dorman long,talked all things Teesside,what the area meant to them,history behind their band, the name The Dorman long,and why there new single by the river is about growing up in Teesside,heres my interview with them,The Dorman Long story,two local lads proud to be from Teesside,Enjoy.
What’s the story behind your band?
We both met at Middlesbrough College where we did a Popular Music BTEC. We started writing together pretty much straight away and had a real chemistry when it came to making music. We formed a band called Shoebox and gigged a lot in the local area until about 2008 when we both went our separate ways for uni. I ended up moving to Manchester to study music and Ash moved to Crewe. One day I put a post on Facebook asking if anyone in Manchester had a charger and Ash responded, he was living in Manchester and I had no idea! We met up a few times for drinks and to play through some songs but at that time I’d really fallen out of love with music so it wasn’t until around Christmas 2017 that we started getting serious about writing together again. After that we really found that creative spark again and have been writing and performing together prolifically around Manchester but have ventured back to home quite often for gigs as we still have deep roots.
Why are you proud to be from the area?
There’s no where else like it on the planet! Despite having moved away, we both miss home; the scenery, the pubs, the food, the jokes, family, friends, it gets under your skin and you miss it after a while. As well as all that, it’s amazing to come from somewhere with such a rich industrial history that’s genuinely been so important to the world. People can’t believe it when I say that the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built here and that Teeside steel has built so many structures around the world. As well as the industrial history, there’s some notable musicians to take inspiration from such as Maximo Park, Cattle and Cane and someone who’s personally had a big influence on me (Vin Garbutt) who’s lyrics and music about the North East inspired me to start writing about my own experiences of my home town. That history is definitely something to be proud of.
Why do you think the area has such bad reputation by the national media and rest of the UK?
I think that’s a tough question to answer. I know that both of us definitely had some pretty rough experiences growing up in Teesside, as I’d imagine most working class kids from the area did. However, there’s been a massive lack of investment in the area, and there’s been a decline in industry and jobs for generations. Money’s tight for a lot of people, and with that comes problems. Teesside is still an amazing place with all that being said though, and I find it frustrating when people try and characature the area without any context or understanding of what it’s like. It’s got a lot going for it which should be celebrated more.
What’s the story behind your bands name Dorman long ? What made you choose that name? What made you write a song about the area? Why do you think it’s important for people in the area to be proud of and celebrate our area?
The band’s name comes from the Dorman Long company who constructed Steel in Teesside. I’d always loved the look of the old tower in South Bank when I drove past as a kid, but then there was an article I read a while ago from the BBC called ‘The Teesside Firm that bridged the world’. I sent it to Ash and we both agreed that The Dorman Long would be a great name for a band as it was so connected to where we’re from.
It’s absolutely important to be proud of where you’re from, but not just to have blind pride. We both feel passionately about Teesside, and hope that comes across in the music we make. It’s important to have an understanding of where you’re from and that includes both the rough and the smooth. If everything was smooth there’s be nothing decent to write about! That’s what we try to get across in our song ‘By the River’. It’s about moving away from home and those long drives back down the a19; going past all of the sights you know so well and reflecting on both the good and bad of the area you grew up in!
Also what’s your message to young people wanting to get into music in Teesside?
Get together with your mates, start a band and just enjoy it for the craic. You don’t have to have amazing expensive gear, just a couple of guitars, a piano, a keyboard, a ukulele, even just a backing track on youtube sing/rap along with. Whatever you want to do, just start writing. Make music that you enjoy, don’t worry about whether other people like it, it’s about expressing yourself. Do it to make you happy!
The Dorman Long Band
What is the current music like on Teesside?
The current scene on Teesside is, and always has been vibrant and unique. There’s music being played and made all across the area. There’s a real worry though that with music being less of a priory in schools, and funding being cut, that less kids will have access to music. Hopefully though, Teessiders will always find a way and we’ll see new and exciting music created in the area for years to come!
If you want to listen to The Dorman Long,latest single,By the river check the link below- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMIl3F4C0Ms
If you would like support and follow the band head over to there Facebook page,check out the link- https://www.facebook.com/TheDormanLong/
Article by Chloe Tempestoso