Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou, all photography by Amelia Gregory.
Last week Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou held a preview screening for their Tin Tabernacle tour video, titled 11 Nights Under Tin. I caught up with them at Bush Hall a few weeks ago to find out more about this talented couple.
The Tin Tabernacle tour followed on from Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou’s Village Hall tour of last year. To pull it off they found approximately fifty churches through the Tin Tabernacles website, got details of about thirty of them and managed to stage concerts in eleven of them. The website often listed the nearest town or they enterprisingly zoomed in on the google street view: sometimes a contact number would be visible on a noticeboard, and at other times they phoned the local pub. Most people were really enthusiastic, but some were overwhelmed by the idea and worried by the commitment. “We wanted to get out into the community and play for people who don’t have much access to music,” they told me when I spoke to them at Bush Hall. “We went to those who were keen.” It seems to have been a successful venture: the audiences were mostly comprised of locals.
Tin Tabernacle by Gilly Rochester.
The Tin Tabernacle churches all vary in size, though they have a few things in common. They are all made of corrugated iron, and were invented circa 1840, when the scattering of God fearing British citizens across the British Empire hastened the need for an easily transportable place of worship. Mining communities sprung up in all sorts of remote corners of the globe so the churches often had to be carried for long distances overland. “They warm up fast because they are wooden clad inside,” explained Trevor and Hannah, “but some had no electricity so we played by candlelight.” The smallest church held only about 40 people, all squashed into the pews, but the average capacity was between 70-120. What with Trevor, Hannah and their two support acts it was still quite a squish.
Tin Tabernacle by Gilly Rochester.
I spotted a tin church on my visit to the Cornish village of Cadgwith earlier this year, but sadly this was not one that they managed to include on the tour, despite Trevor’s Cornish heritage. Many were nevertheless located in amazing locations, including on cliff tops.
11 Nights Under Tin, a film by Trevor Moss, can be watched in full above.
Why did they chose such an innovative way of touring? “We had toured the same venues for years and they are all the same, painted black inside.” Trevor and Hannah hope that with their Arts Council funded tours their audiences will experience an event, instead of just standing in the shadows. “It’s no wonder that so many bands’ later records are rubbish when they live in such a strange parallel reality.” So they have chosen places that will open their eyes to other communities. They always stay in independent B&Bs and sometimes with the local vicar – it’s also a carefully considered way for them to have an interesting time whilst peddling an album. “We get to play in places we would never have seen otherwise.”
Tin Tabernacle by Alison Day.
I can totally relate to this idea – half the reason I was so attracted to fashion photography as a creative medium was the possibility of visiting interesting locations to take photos. During my nascent fashion photography career I went to South Africa and America before I began to realise the environmental problems of excessive air travel.
Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou by Sarah Matthews.
The *world* premiere of the resulting Tin Tabernacle film was shown at The Social on Wednesday 16th March. It was entirely shot on an old 80s Hi 8 camera in three seconds bursts three or four times an hour, so it is basically what they describe as “a collection of moving photos” with mostly in-camera sound.
Tin Churches by Emmeline Pidgen.
This interactive approach to playing and documenting music is a result of Hannah and Trevor’s art college career. They both met at Goldsmiths, where Trevor was studying fine art and Hannah was doing theatre studies. By the time they reached their third year they were signed as the band Indigo Moss, which we profiled on Amelia’s Magazine. By this point they were spending so much time immersed in music that Trevor had to enlist the rest of the band to help get his degree show up on time.
Tin Tabernacles by Reena Makwana.
The couple have now been writing songs together for 8 years and seem a lot older and wiser than their 25 years of age, a fact which they attribute to having lots of older friends. They met whilst living in halls but did not start going out together until Indigo Moss, and managed to keep their relationship secret from other band members for two months. They got married in 2008.
There’s Something Happening Somewhere, a film by Trevor Moss.
Indigo Moss eventually broke up because they didn’t enjoy it anymore, especially the way the label was pushing the band. Inevitably, they were pulling bigger audiences as a duet. At that point Tom from Lewis Music saw them and they signed a one album deal. After that Jeff of Heavenly saw a couple of shows and as they put it “it all happened quite naturally. We had a cup of tea and the Tin Tabernacle tour really caught his imagination.” Heavenly Recordings have parted ways with megalith EMI and are now part of the Universal funded Cooperative Music initiative which supports independent labels such as Transgressive, Moshi Moshi, Bella Union and Domino. It means they can share PR costs and everyone knows when the others are releasing records so they don’t step on toes, which seems to make brilliant sense. These are amongst my favourite labels and between them they host some fabulous musicians – why would they want to deliberately compete with each other?
Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou by LJG Art & Illustration.
Ever prolific, Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou aim to put out one album a year from now on. The next record will be out in May and then comes the festival season, starting at Wood Festival on 21st May, and moving onto Truck Festival, Port Eliot and of course Glastonbury – where they played on my Climate Camp stage last year alongside Danny and the Champions of the World.
Performing at Wood Festival in 2009.
What to expect from the upcoming record? “There will be drums and a much bigger sound.” But as always all guitar and voices will be recorded together. I can’t imagine there will be much room in their van for more band members, and they agree that it is perfectly sized for just them. Although Trevor jokes that Hannah gets on his nerves it’s clear that this is very much a twosome. What happens when a family enters the equation? “Trevor wants to be a house husband,” laughs Hannah. “It will be a nice quiet time to write!” For now what they really want is a pet whippet. “They are lovely; so skinny and frail,” says Trevor. “It could travel in a hammock in the van.” The main trouble would be taking a dog into festivals, but I’m sure they could find an interesting series of venues that would accept a canine companion. Did someone mention lighthouses?
11 Nights Under Tin, Alison Day, Arts Council, Bella Union, British Empire, Bush Hall, Cadgwith, Climate Camp, Cooperative Music, Cornish village, Cornwall, Danny and the Champions of the World, Domino Records, EMI, Emmeline Pidgen, Gilly Rochester, glastonbury, goldsmiths, Hannah Lou, Heavenly Recordings, Heavenly Social, Hi 8 camera, Indigo Moss, Lewis Music, LJG Art & Illustration, mining, Moshi Moshi, Port Eliot, Port Elliot, Reena Makwana, Sarah Matthews, The Social, There's Something Happening Somewhere, Tin Tabernacle, Tin Tabernacle Tour, Transgressive, Trevor Moss, Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou, Tripod Stage, Truck Festival, Universal, Village Hall, Whippet, Wood Festival
- Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou describe making the video animation for new single Big Water
- Indigo Moss
- Wood Festival 2011: a special preview interview with founder Robin Bennett
- My Best Albums of 2010
- Wood Festival 2011 Review: Sarabeth Tucek, Khaira Arby, Willy Mason, The Epstein and more!