MOST musicians were forced to put their work on hold because of the pandemic.

But upcoming Warrington band The Zangwills have just completed one of their most high profile projects during the Covid era – working with Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams.

Just weeks before the first lockdown, Maisie and BAFTA-winning young director Lowri Roberts were at the four-piece’s gig at Manchester Academy 3 in February 2020.

The pair had become interested in The Zangwills’ song, Judas on the Dancefloor, because of its themes around creating safe spaces for women on nights out.

Over a period of around three years, the band had begun to hear of people facing harassment or even assault at gigs or clubs and bars and wanted to do their bit to help address it.

Conscious of wanting their own gigs to be a safe space for all, Zangwills also often work with ‘Girls Against’, a group working to stamp out sexual assault and misogyny in the live music scene.

Bassist Ed Dowling, who lives in Thelwall, said: “Gigs and nights out are supposed to be an escape from everyday life and gives everyone a chance to let their hair down, so for people to feel unsafe doing so because of some scummy people, is pretty grim. To do our bit to maximise safety at our own gigs we felt it’d be right to invite a rep from Girls Against to have a stall next to the merch, and chat to people about issues surrounding sexual harassment on nights out.”

Drummer Adam Spence added: “Safe gigs have always been something we were concerned about from the beginning.

“We just ended up meeting all the amazing organisations dedicated to the issue and so we were exposed to how severe the extent of the problem is, which we felt was important to speak on.”

Their commitment to the issue impressed Maisie and Lowri who approached the band after the Manchester show to ask if they could produce a video for Judas on the Dancefloor.

The band were quick to say yes – with Adam describing it as ‘the most unbelievable night of my life’ – but the complications of the Covid era delayed the shoot until December. It was filmed over three days at The Moth Club in Hackney.

Ed said: “It was pretty exciting when Maisie and Lowri wanted to work with us on Judas.

“It definitely felt surreal and was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I still feel very humbled that we got to do it.”

Lead guitarist Sam Davies added: “We were proper excited when we found out, the project had been in the pipeline for a while so it was amazing to finally get it done.”

Maisie Williams and Lowri Roberts on set

Maisie Williams and Lowri Roberts on set

Blurring the lines of stereotype, female dancer Zoe Villiers portrayed night-time predator ‘Judas’ in the music video, cut with footage of the band.

As well as it being a profile-raising opportunity, The Zangwills were also glad of something worthwhile to pour their energy into while most music projects were grinding to a halt.

Sam said: “It felt a bit surreal at first, we’d had so much time apart from each other over the lockdowns so it was great to all be back together.”

Frontman Jake Vickers added: “We were pretty lucky in this sense, during the first lockdown we had to find ways to keep ourselves busy such as live streams and writing, but you can’t do those things forever. It was good to continuously have new things to focus on.”

Meanwhile, Ed was also recently involved in recording a charity cover of Viola Beach’s Swings and Waterslides to mark five years since we lost the Warrington band following a crash in Sweden.

He said: “Everyone involved did an amazing job working on the track. It was definitely a goosebumps moment hearing the final version and watching the finished video.

“It felt very special to be a part of that project and I feel incredibly lucky that I got to be a part of keeping Viola Beach’s legacy alive.

“Being musicians from the same town meant their accident was really shocking and very close to home as the circumstances were so relatable.”

Talking of Viola Beach, The Zangwills are also part of this year’s RivFest – the Warrington festival launched in memory of guitarist River Reeves.

The main headliners are Hacienda icon Graeme Park on August 6 and art rockers Everything Everything on August 7. The Zangwills are then part of a ‘celebration of the best talent from across the north west’ at the Old Market Place on August 8.

Ed said: “I’m super excited for RivFest this year, it’s going to be awesome. I absolutely love the set up outside the Golden Square and the prospect of a 3,000 capacity night is pretty scary considering it’ll be our first live show in absolutely ages.

“RivFest is always one of the highlights of the year and this year will be no exception.”

Jake said: “The line-up for this years RivFest looks insane, we are all really looking forward to it, such a great gig to be one of our first back and hopefully get in front of a new crowd.”

Adam said: “I can’t remember the last time we had so much to look forward to, the momentum we’ve managed to build is great, and the reaction from fans is even more inspiring.”