Cian interviews Martyn & Jack from The Washboard Resonators when they kindly called into our showroom for a chat.  What's more, they grabbed themselves some new clothes while they were here.

Chatting Style with The Washboard Resonators

For those of you who attend vintage events quite regularly, the name ‘Washboard Resonators’ might not be so unfamiliar. For those who haven’t been as fortunate, The Washboard Resonators are a two-piece band made up of veteran drummer and washboard player Jack Amblin and wizard guitarist Martyn Roper. For 5 years this dynamic duo has spent their days (over 200 a year) driving up and down the country wowing crowds with their excellent repertoire of music from the 1920s to the 1940s, using any number of instruments and witty lines to create a fantastic show.

However today, I managed to catch them on a well-deserved day off where I invited them down to our showroom to have a look around and chat vintage.

Although Jack claims he is still learning to look the part, it’s clear that both of them have a very respectable knowledge of the look they consistently achieve.

Cian: “When you’re going to a gig, what’s your go-to outfit?”

Jack: “We wear different things, for example, we like your shirts, but where possible we like to wear original stuff or get things tailor-made. Martyn knows more about it than I do, I’m still learning but Martyn really taught me how to dress. But we are trying to go for a British look rather than an American look, because don’t want to look American we want to look British”  

Cian: “Well you can see that in a lot of the fabrics you wear, you wear a lot of tweeds and a lot of flannels.”

Martyn: “Well I’m wearing a lot of tweed at the moment; I really love the Chap magazine idea. I remember when Chap Magazine first came out, myself and a friend went all over Leeds trying to find a copy. We went everywhere and explained what it was, and even went into Tailors and asked if they’d heard of it. Eventually, we got a copy posted! But what I liked about it was the idea that if you wear vintage and you mix and match ideas and styles, you eventually come up with a style that is 100% yours. So, when we go on stage, we wear things that represent who we are.”

And they’re right. With their beards, tweed suits and dapper shoes, they look typically British and perfectly fabulous. This wasn’t an overnight miracle though, as I found out as we then went on to discuss how they started their collections,

Martyn: “ I had no money when I was 20 years old, so I was going to charity shops, buying old trousers and Jackets, some of which I’ve still got, I only threw a few bits out the other day. But when I was 25 and getting married I decided that I’d get a tailor-made suit which was always my dream. I’ve had a few tailor-made suits I’ve worn to the point they’re worn away. That’s why I wear tweed because it’s hard-wearing.”

Jack: “ I came into it from the music side so it was kind of different for me, I came into it inspired by the Jazz movement and for me, the whole idea of Jazz is that it's not dance and it's not commercialised so it’s like an art form. People still wore suits but they just wore the fashion of the day. It’s the same as people in a modern-day pop band wearing jeans and t-shirts. I like trying to do things properly, or at least I like understanding how people did it and then adapting it to what I like. Although the Resonators are a bit different, in the other bands I’ve played in I’ve always tried to wear authentic clothing”

Martyn and Jack are what could be considered a slightly rarer breed. Very professional and committed connoisseurs of their music and fashion, who are clearly extremely motivated by what they do.

Martyn: “ I was just thinking that seeing those old photographs and hearing those old songs, a little part of your imagination thinks, ‘I wonder what it was like in those days’. When you wear an old suit or play the old drums like Jack does, Jack has got the old drums…”

Jack: “Yeah I use calfskin drums because it gives a much better sound, they’re much more expensive but when you listen to those records it gets you that sound. It’s like that with clothing, I just try and wear the fashion of the day. Martyn helped me and Chap Magazine is great and there’s a lot of good books! There’s a lot of stuff on the internet too the internet is great. You have to gain a bit of knowledge first, to then work out what to wear.”

It was a real pleasure speaking with both Jack and Martyn and they were only too happy to share their tips and tricks with us here at Revival. If you want to see the most authentic and stylish Jazz/Blues band in the UK, then you should definitely keep an eye out for them at the next event you attend. Perhaps if you’re lucky you might see them coming!

Check out their next gigs and a bit about the band here: http://thewashboardresonators.com/

By Cian Smith