A whirlwind career for Wroot musician

Erica Nockalls and Miles Hunt from The Wonder Stuff.
Erica Nockalls and Miles Hunt from The Wonder Stuff.

SHE saw her first ever gig in Doncaster and now Wroot violinist Erica Nockalls is getting ready to return to the town for an acoustic set with The Wonder Stuff frontman Miles Hunt.

Her whirlwind career has fast-tracked from classical training at the Birmingham Conservatoire, to busking for cash after she splashed her scholarship grant on beer, to playing a 40,000-strong crowd on the main stage at T in the Park.

It was a piece of advice from her father Martin, himself a classic guitarist, which encouraged her to “learn the rules, then break them” and it’s served her well so far as - in her words - “every day feels like a weekend”.

Growing up in Wroot, she made regular Saturday shopping trips to Doncaster and saw a lot of gigs at The Leopard, where her and Miles will be playing for the first time on May 20.

Joining The Wonder Stuff in 2006, Erica has toured extensively with the band and with Miles, playing a wide range of venues, from Glastonbury Festival to Wroot Village Hall - where she plans to return in September. She has also played for legendary Scottish band, The Proclaimers, and worked with The Ting Tings and Damian Dempsey.

She said: “I was told that I was wasting my time with my rock career. Being a belligerent teenager, I think I was just bored and looking for something to do. Getting into music and forming bands seemed like the only option.

“Kula Shaker at the Dome was my first every gig and I remember being really impressed, though I’m not sure I’d think the same now.”

Erica’s currently putting the finishing touches to her debut solo album Imminent Room, which is due to be released before the end of the year.

“I loved every second of it. It’s a creative outlet that I didn’t know I needed. I started it a year ago and I feel like I’ve put a lot into it. It started out as a recording of instrumental demos but I got carried away by it and songs started to emerge until I had a whole album of material.”

At six-foot tall, Erica, 28, already has a striking stage presence which she enhances with a series of gorgeous 50s dresses and corsets. She often plays gigs barefoot as she says she likes to “feel” the vibrations of the music on the stage but also confesses that being on stage gives her a touch of vertigo.

She says both her and Miles get their fill of cities and towns when on tour but enjoy the quiet life at their home and studio in a small Shropshire village. Erica has also happened on another creative release, having started work on her fourth commissioned oil painting, fashioning her original works with her fingers and kitchen paper.

Despite her hugely successful career, she’s yet to be convinced by the favourite internet haunt of many celebs, the social networking site Twitter. In fact, she’s not sure she can even remember the password to her account.

“I hate Twitter. It’s full of self promoters, celebrities or sycophants. I really am yet to be convinced.

“I just don’t care when someone goes to the toilet! But maybe I’ll change my mind when it comes to promoting my album in a few months time!”

Erica Nockalls and Miles Hunt will be performing an acoustic set at The Leopard on West Street on May 20. Tickets £7. Visit www.facebook.com/leopardvenue for details.