THEY may have only formed around a year and a half ago but big things are already expected of The Zangwills.

In May the young four-piece were part of The Charlatans’ huge North by Northwich homecoming festival and in the same month they shared a stage with Fun Lovin’ Criminals at Warrington Music Festival.

That is just two highlights from a year that also saw them handpicked to play at RivFest – in memory of Viola Beach guitarist River Reeves – and build a following of tens of thousands on music streaming platform, Spotify.

Now with all that under their belt, the band are hotly tipped as ones to watch in 2019.

It has been quite a journey – and learning curve – for Thelwall resident Ed Dowling who played his first gig at the small community festival Saughall Music in the Park in Chester in 2017.

“I was so nervous,” the 18-year-old said.

“It was a massive step as I’d never played live before. It was my first time in a band. I’ve got used to it a bit but you still get that adrenalin rush before each show.”

Bassist Ed, who is influenced by Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers, met bandmates Jake Vickers and Sam Davies while studying music tech at Sir John Deane’s College.

The line-up was completed by drummer Adam Spence from Chester.

The Zangwills were born and quickly found a fanbase after becoming one of only three acts chosen for The Sound City stage at North by Northwich alongside The Tea Street Band and Red Rum Club.

Ed added: “They asked us to play a set there and after that they wanted us to be on one of the panels. It was an awesome day.

“It was a huge event and as I was going to Northwich for college each day I got to see the impact it had. I saw the banners and posters everywhere and how much busier the town was.

“Northwich is enjoying a bit of a regeneration. You see more bands on with bigger promoters at places like The Salty Dog and The Witton Chimes.”

The band are equally well known in Warrington thanks to Ed, whose parents run The Little Manor pub.

That led to debuting at Warrington Music Festival becoming one of Ed’s gig goals for 2018.

He said: “I only saw the festival for the first time in 2017 and I was just amazed at how big and professionally set up it was.

“I remember sending photos and videos to the lads saying: ‘We’ve got to play here next year’ and luckily enough we did and it was brilliant.

“It was amazing the platform they give to emerging bands. At that time we were quite a small band and they fully supported us.

“It did so much for us in terms of exposure and meeting people in the industry and making contacts.”

Another of Ed’s highlights was playing at the renowned Manchester venue, Gorilla.

He added: “That was always a venue where I’ve seen great bands perform at. For all of us I think it was a stage to look up to so when we got the chance to play it we were ecstatic.”

The Zangwills’ success has been one of many changes in Ed’s life recently.

He previously lived in north Wales where his family ran The Little Manor’s sister pub, the Pen Y Bryn before the opportunity to move to Thelwall came about.

His first Christmas in Warrington was when his parents bought him a bass guitar, aged 12.

Ed said: “At first I was drawn to the piano. I just had a desire to play it. One of my friends had a piano at his house and every time I was there I would try to play it really badly.

“But it really helped me with my knowledge of basic music in terms of notes and chords.

“After playing the piano my brother got this set of speakers.

“They were really bass-heavy and I would listen to music through it.

“The bass would punch out and that’s when I got into bass. My parents thought I’d play it for a few weeks and put it down, like when they got me a banjo for my birthday one year which is now gathering dust, but I’ve never stopped.”

Ed also has the benefit of being able to have band meetings in the pub.

“We get a portion of chips and some onion rings. That sees us through for a few hours and the lads are always trying to get free beer,” he added.

Meanwhile, The Zangwills have been overwhelmed by their success on Spotify after working with producer Mark Winterburn at Edge Recording Studio. Mark has previously worked with the likes of Plan B, 5 Seconds of Summer, The Script, Don Broco and New Order.

Ed said: “I think our single New Heights is on more than 120,000 streams now which is crazy.

“Before we released it we were looking at bands with 3,000 or 4,000 streams and we were like: ‘Imagine if we could get to that’. Here we are a year later and we’re somehow on that. I’m a bit shocked.”

Spotify has even helped the lads discover where the majority of their fans are which is being used as the basis for planning their next tour. For example they have a lot of listeners in London and Edinburgh.

Ed added: “The curated playlists on Spotify are the way of getting yourself heard these days. As mad as it is it’s really good. We’re hoping to spread ourselves further afield in 2019 and for our tour dates we’re visiting towns and cities based on our Spotify stats and where we’re most listened to.”