“WE were sold as the singing painters,” recalls The Overtones’ Mike Crawshaw. The drudgery of paint-slinging and office refurbs seems like a lifetime away now but Mike can’t help occasionally pinching himself. Last week, he explains with a tinge of disbelief at his good fortune, the boys were in Norway breathing new life into soul classics with the signature sparkle and effortless cool which has propelled them to fame.

“We were a band for four years before any record label took notice,” says the Bristol-born singer. “We were five guys all trying to pay rent and put food on the table. It was hard to get to the standard we wanted to get to and have a good amount of time to achieve it. So Darren and myself had this idea to start a painting and decorating company. We sang on street corners doing the job.”

Mike met fellow bandmates Timmy Matley, Mark Franks and Darren Everest, on the club and pub circuit in London, chasing that all elusive break in a tough-to-crack industry.

They formed Lexi Jo, auditioned for the X Factor but were ultimately didn’t make the cut. They eventually met the “missing link”, Aussie Lachie Chapman, and reformed as The Overtones.

One evening, as they killed time crooning outside an office block on Oxford Street waiting for the start of their late shift, they were spotted by a Warner Bros talent Scout. The next day they were singing harmonies for the label president.

“We were a bit early so we were waiting outside on the steps for people to come out of the office and we sang Billy Joel, The Longest Time acapella. This woman from Warner Bros walked by and asked us what we were doing,” laughs Mikes. “It was one of those pinch yourself moments. We’d had a lot of promises that hadn’t come to fruition and people who promised you the world and ultimately it never happened. But this time it was the real deal. It was an epic time for us.

“I can remember walking into Warner Bros’ head office. We were confronted with this neon Warner Bros shield and I started taking photos. The boys were like, ‘Relax, we’re trying to be cool here.’ I couldn’t hold it in.”

Since then they have totted up three consecutive top five albums and three sold-out headline tours.

Someone bellows in the background, interrupting Mike’s train of thought. “That’s Darren saying hello,” he explains cheerfully.

“Darren is a bit of a joker. He is constantly pocking me, trying to put me off on stage,” he grumbles playfully.

“We were performing recently and Darren grabbed the quick-release on my mic stand and pushed it all the way to the ground. I thought, ‘It’s fine I’m going to lift it back up’, but then the whole thing came down. I had to do the whole show on my knees.”

Thankfully Darren kept the antics to a minimum when the five-piece joined the line-up outside Buckingham Palace at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert and again as they entertained the Royals at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall - where their trademark charm elicited a rare grin from the famously poker-faced monarch.

“The Queen was filmed clapping and cheering twice, once for Rod Stewart and once for us,” he gushes.

“I look back at this young lad who packed his bags, went to London and did open mic nights. 15 years later I have the job of my dreams. I’m a lucky boy, I know that.”

The Overtones will perform at the Wyvern Theatre on Sunday, September 4 at 8pm. To book got to swindontheatres.co.uk or call 01793 524481.