Erland and the Carnival are a British folk rock band, formed in London, by multi-instrumentalist Simon Tong (formerly of The Verve, Blur and The Good, the Bad & the Queen), Orcadian folk guitarist and singer Gawain Erland Cooper and drummer/engineer David Nock (The Orb, The Cult, The Fireman). In 2010 they released a critically acclaimed cult hit with their eponymous debut album.

Erland and the Carnival are best known for their contemporary arrangements of traditional Scottish and English folk songs, including "Tramps and Hawkers", "Was You Ever See" and "Love Is a Killing Thing", collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The band's debut album was recorded at Damon Albarn's Studio 13 and released in January 2010.

Band members

Simon Tong - Guitar, Harmonium, Zither, Backing Vocals,

Gawain Erland Cooper - Guitar, Vocals,

David Nock - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Keyboards,

Andy Bruce - Synthesizers,

Danny Wheeler - Bass guitar,


Erland Cooper spent years studying Bert Jansch and Davey Graham, sourcing old British songs from the Vaughan Williams museum near where he lives and developing his writing skills. He was introduced to Simon Tong and David Nock by his friend Youth.

After Erland recorded the track "Coming Home" with Nock for Tong and Youth's Butterfly recordings compilation What the Folk (Vol 2)- the three began writing and playing together around London. Inspired by Daniel Johnston's Hello How Are You? (On which he re-recorded individual albums to meet demand because his tape machine was broken), Erland and the Carnival released a limited edition debut EP in September 2008, with each CD containing different recordings unique to each copy.

Carnival are named after the Jackson C. Frank song "My Name is Carnival" which the band have recorded a cover version of. The track "Everything Came Too Easy" was inspired by a speech by Charles Van Doren to the House Subcommittee on Legislative Oversight, a United States Congress subcommittee, investigating a rigging scandal on the quiz show Twenty One. The track "The Derby Ram" is a modernisation of a folk standard about a giant fictional sheep, reworked to comment on the suicide of Shaun Dykes.