Origin Stories

Hey everyone! Bryce here.  If you are reading this, I guess that means you’re interested in Croydon Tourist Office and want to know more.

I moved England from California in 2003 and moved to Devon as soon as I could.  Looking around for musicians in the area, I was told to check out the jam nights.  Having been in many bands in California where jamming was an important aspect to writing music, I thought I would check it out.  Quickly I discovered that most jam nights tended to be a group of musicians coming together to play covers of 80s songs.

This was not the sort of jam night I was used to, so as soon as I could, I started hosting evenings for musicians where the purpose was to create new music.  This music could turn into new material for bands or singer-songwriters, or music that might only last for the moment.  Having recorded music since I was 12, I made it a point in these sessions to always record them so the music, no matter how fleeting, would always be archived.

I met Robert Garnham at the Blue Walnut in Torquay while performing some of my spoken word material.  Seeing Robert perform, I knew there was a connection.

In 2010, I opened my own venue: the Epicentre Book Cafe.  It was a vegetarian cafe, second hand bookshop, and performing arts venue.  We ran workshops, open mic nights, events, artist meetups and more.  On the 14th of June, 2011 I relaunched the music nights at Epicentre, micing up the cafe and inviting musicians. Robert arrived and the sessions began, recording late into the night and capturing many original compositions.

I met John Samuel at an Epicentre Artist Meetup meeting. He was brought along by our mutual friend Maddo Painting, who I had met at an open mic night some years before.  I met Max Coulson one day when he turned up to one of Epicentre’s open mic nights and wowed us all with his combination of punk, hip-hop, and surreal stand-up comedy.

John began collaborating with Robert and they debuted the song ‘It Wasn’t Magic’ at one of Epicentre’s open mic nights. The are many of these collaborations which will be available on forth-coming releases.

At one music night, John, Robert, and Max were all there. Suddenly, everything that we had been doing with the music nights so far all jelled. It made sense that the four of us were a unit.  That night Robert regaled us with a story about a visit to Croydon, and the name of the collective came to us.  There was no question we were Croydon Tourist Office.

Between 2011 and 2014, we wrote many tracks, performed a few gigs, and then realised that we had recorded enough tracks that worked together to put out our first album.

Epicentre closed down in the summer of 2013, and as all recordings were made at the venue, so we decided to name the album Epicentre Nights in tribute.  There are many more recordings in the archives and even more in the works, so it won’t be long before we release more recordings upon the world.

Stay tuned.

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