Heading back to the Top

Toploader play Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline
Toploader play Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline
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MENTION the name Toploader and most people of a certain age will start to sing the chorus of ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’.

It was the band’s biggest hit in 2000 and probably the one they are most remembered for.

Although around that time they also had hits with ‘Achilles Heel’, ‘Time of My Life’ and ‘Just Hold On’.

But just last week Toploader, who reunited after an eight-year break, released their latest single ‘Turn It Around’.

And the track’s release coincides with a tour which sees the band come to Dunfermline.

They play Carnegie Hall on March 4.

Lead singer Joe Washbourn took time out on Monday to speak to The Press about their tour and new single.

He said: “It’s been going brilliantly.

“I think we’ve done three [dates] so far and have had great crowds.

“It’s lovely to go out and play stuff off the new album and the old hits.

“It’s something we’ve always loved doing, playing live, so it’s like being back in our natural environment.

“We have never played in Dunfermline so it’s going to be great.

“We’ve got a few dates up there, Aviemore, Aberdeen and Dunfermline.

“We have always enjoyed playing in Scotland and the Scottish crowds are always really appreciative, so it’s going to be nice to do the last leg of the tour up there.”

As well as the Dunfermline date, there’s also a Fife link to the band’s forthcoming gig in Aviemore.

That date is the headline slot for the MV Festival in the Highland town, which is organised by Kirkcaldy man, Stephen Barbour.

Toploader first formed in 1997 and went on to sell over two million albums and enjoyed a string of top 20 hits at home and abroad.

Their debut album ‘Onka’s Big Moka’ sold over one million copies and remained in the top five of the UK album chart for over six months.

Their cover of King Harvest’s ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ became a global hit and second album ‘Magic Hotel’ reached number three in the UK.

But amid the success, the band broke up in 2003 due to the demise of their record label S2.

Since reforming a few years ago, as a four piece rather than a five piece, Toploader have released their third album ‘Only Human’.

The first single to be released from it ‘Never Stop Wondering’ has provided the anthem for major sporting events on both the BBC and Sky Sports.

The band have been working their way around venues and festivals in the UK, building awareness of their return, and spreading their wings into Europe.

Their latest single ‘Turn It Around’ is co-written with Ivor Novello Songwriter of the Year, Eg White and was released last Monday.

“We’d been writing for the new album and that came up,” said Joe.

“We really just wanted to get into the studio and record it.

“It’s been received really well.

“It’s a bit more like the old Toploader really.

“It’s a very Toploader sound, which a lot of people like and people liked what we used to do.

“But there’s still an element of progression and moving on there too.

“It’s going down well live as well, as it’s really catchy and a great sing-a-long tune.”

So with such a large break between the second and third albums, how has the Toploader sound progressed over the years?

“We had a break, we split up really, in 2003 and I don’t think any of us thought about Toploader for a few years,” explained Joe.

“When we got back together in 2010 we didn’t just want to play the old stuff.

“When we got together we’d all changed so much, our taste in music had changed, our lives had changed so we wanted to move away a little from what we’d done then.

“Back then we were in our early 20s and as we’ve got older we’ve changed completely as individuals.

“I think now the music is slightly darker and is perhaps more grown up, but it still sounds like Toploader.”

Following the tour, which ends with the Dunfermline date, the band are looking ahead to the rest of the year.

Joe added: “We are going to continue writing and maybe do some festival dates in the summer and thinking about maybe a new album towards the rest of the year.

“A lot of the year will definitely be about playing live and playing to as many people as possible.”

>> Toploader are at Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline on March 4.