Hooton Tennis Club are getting ready to serve aces at the Dials Festival

Hooton Tennis Club will be headlining the first Dials Festival
Hooton Tennis Club will be headlining the first Dials Festival

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Milan, Portsmouth, New York.

If you look at Hooton Tennis Club’s tour itinerary, that’s where you see the rising indie quartet’s headlining spot for the new Dials festival sandwiched.

‘It’s sort of wedged in the middle, isn’t it?’ says James Madden, the band’s guitarist. Tongue firmly in cheek, he adds: ‘It’s obviously the superior of the three – but we’re excited for all of them.’

The Liverpool band will be headlining the Wedgewood Rooms at Dials Festival tomorrow. The festival will take place at five venues around Albert Road and features a mix of rising national and local talent.

When The Guide caught up with the band they’d recently played at two other idiosyncratic festivals on the same weekend – The End of The Road and Festival No.6.

‘They were great. We played End of the Road on the Friday and it was an early slot, like midday, so we thought people would be half wasted still, but it was a really good turnout. We were hanging around with the Heavenly Records lot backstage, and it was the best festival we’ve been to recently. It’s beautiful.

‘Then we did Festival No.6, it’s about halfway home, but we were really tired. That was good though as well.’

Festival No. 6 is based in Portmeirion, where they filmed the cult TV show, The Prisoner.

‘That makes the festival, that little town – it’s a kind of mystical place.

‘Myself and (singer) Ryan (Murphy) worked there the first year of the festival – we were working behind the bar while we were students, we used to work at festivals. The third year we were meant to sign with Heavenly there, but we kind of didn’t manage to sign anything – Jeff (Barrett, Heavenly’s head honcho) just kept buying us pints.

‘We’ve got to the fourth year, and we eventually played there, so it was kind of a homecoming.’

The band are signed to Heavenly Records, which has been having a big year, celebrating its 25th anniversary.

‘Yeah, it’s definitely been well celebrated. They’re very into setting up parties. Every month there’s been something Heavenly-related. It’s been a good year to be on Heavenly – well, any year would be a good year – but they’ve been getting so much coverage from this.

‘It’s just amazing. They seem to really know what they’re doing – they’ve got experience, and everyone’s really interested and supportive of each other. It’s a great label to be on.’

With their debut album Highest Point in Cliff Town now out, the band will be undertaking a 17-date tour after Dials.

‘We’ll see how we fare with that when we come out the other side,’ says James. ‘It’s our biggest tour so far. We’re quite good friends, but we’ve never spent 17 days in a run with each other. We were joking that things will get so lax that we’ll leave the shower door open and walk around like naked monkeys.’

Tickets are £18. Go to dialsfestival.co.uk for more information.