Chill out to the sounds of The Rug at Green Festival

LOOKING to bring a relaxing feel to next weekend's Border Green Festival are husband and wife duo Mike and Melissa Robey, or to give them their stage name, The Rug.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 23rd June 2010, 12:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2010, 12:40 pm

The Rug recorded albums 'Loose Change' and 'Crime Scene' as a twosome but their new album sees keyboard player Melissa step into the spotlight on her own, with a repertoire of instrumental pieces.

Both she and Mike feel that their laid back vibe is quite fitting for the Green Festival and were honoured to be tasked with opening the whole thing up.

"We've been to a lot of festivals ourselves," Melissa began.

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"I'm interested to see just how our music is received. It's not like anything else on the bill and it will be the first time I have done anything like this on my own. It was great to be asked to open the festival, everything has fallen into place since we finished the new album."

Both Mike and Melissa cite their travels across the world as their biggest influence but said that their move up to Berwick last year had also given them plenty of material for the studio.

Mike said: "Our travels are most definitely the greatest inspiration for our music, India and Africa particularly. But that's not to say we came back from those countries and tried to recreate the music we heard there; it's more of a case of drawing from the culture and the atmosphere and the stories behind the songs.

"But as some of the song titles (such as 'Elizabethan Dawn') suggest, the new album was also influenced by us moving up here last year. Walking round the town walls can generate a lot of ideas for our music."

And as well as being fans of their new surroundings, Mike and Melissa are also fans of some of the other acts they are sharing the Green Festival bill.

One of the first things they did when they moved up to north Northumberland was to check out the local music scene.

Mike continued: "We recorded our album with PFL, so we know Brian Martin quite well and have got to know a number of bands through him.

"We also went to the Battle of the Bands competition last year and there were so many good acts, I think Espionage of the Loc are particularly good. It struck us almost straight away that Berwick has a very good music scene."

A qualified yoga teacher, Melissa said one of the reasons for composing such relaxing and ambient music was so she could have something to work out to.

She continued: "Although I don't teach yoga up here it is still a hobby and I used to find it hard getting music to go with it which is why I started to compose more relaxing instrumental music.

"I think yoga and music complement each other well and I sometimes get my ideas while I'm working out."

Mike and Melissa said their musical influences range from blues to folk to classical, citing artists like Brian Eno, Susheela Raman and Lisa Gerard as favourites.

They see their purely instrumental new album as a departure from their norm but said that in the future they hope to combine instrumentals with more lyric-based pieces.

And although The Rug's newer songs feature just Melissa, Mike will join her on stage at the Green Festival to perform some of their older tracks.

Joining the duo for the event are the likes of The Warehouse Announcement, The Woodsmen, Jack Can't Dance and headliners The Click.

The festival takes place on Sunday, July 4 at the Five Arches Playing Fields from 11am-5.30pm. Entry is 3 per adult, concessions 1 and children under 12 years old free.

For further information visit www.bordergreen festival.org.