Ben: So first off, I’d like to talk about your UK tour this October/November? Where are you playing?
Heather: We’re touring the UK for about 2 or 3 weeks and then we’re off the Germany for 5 or 6 days, so it’s the longest tour we’ve done. And probably the biggest venues we’ve ever played which is very exciting.
B: So what venues are you going to be playing at?
H: It’s a long list, I mean we’re playing at Kamio in London which is a pretty new venue Soup Kitchen in Manchester which will be really cool because we haven’t played there before; The Lending Room, Leeds – I used to live in Leeds and it’s at this pub called The Library, which I didn’t realise was there before until I looked it up, which is really cool ‘cause that’s kind of like being back at the place I used to go to as a kid. And then Nottingham, which is my hometown, we’re playing at the Bodega, which we haven’t played at for years – the last time we played there was with Shonen Knife which was one of the best shows I’ve ever played because I love that band to bits. And we’re playing in a few places we haven’t played before: Exeter and Oxford which will be really cool. And then when we go to Germany we’ll be in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich… none of which we’ve played before.
B: What’s the attraction to Germany? Have you got a fanbase out there?
H: Yeah we sold a lot of records in Germany, we’re seemingly really popular there. We just played there last Friday at a festival called Youth Brigade. Then we’re going this Friday to play a show in Coburg called Outside Rodeo. I think Germany’s a really great place, they just love rock music.
B: And David Hasselhoff
H: Yeah we found a lot of reference there – I don’t even know what this means?! I don’t think I said this?!
B: And beer
H: And lots of beer. Which is always a good thing, right?
B: Yeah… So in the email you said you’re not so much as inspired by artists, more by songs and melodies. So what sort of songs and melodies have inspired you so far?
H: I really love a catchy melody, so I tend to kind of build all our songs around having a really catchy tune that sticks in your head. And I tend to write songs in my head and translate them on guitar. So I can find inspiration in anything from like Abba to Black Sabbath. And there’s so many melodies in all that stuff – from pop to metal. And I think if you’ve got an ear for a melody then you can hear like a chord progression and think, “hey that’s really cool, I could write a melody to that”. And then work out how that could translate to you. I’ve never been able to pinpoint a band that influences my writing. And I think that’s also because when I started the band was when I started playing guitar. I never learned to play in a certain style so it was like a blank canvas. I think it’s better not to focus too much on ‘having a certain style ’ when you’re starting out because it restricts your freedom.
B: So it’s like pop-structured songs but with more bite?
H: I guess so… like I love pop music. And it’s not just about the melodies and chord progressions as much as how it makes you feel a certain way.
B: What will your second album hold in terms of melodies, and songs, and new stuff?
H: Oliver and Sean joined the band like 6 months ago so it’s quite a nice way to start with a fresh approach to the 2nd record. And that’s really invigorating for me because all the stuff I wrote on my last album was with Matt and I’m really enjoyng challenging myself to going it alone. I think it would be really easy for me to go down the route of, “loads of people like the pop stuff” or “loads of people like the faster stuff”, but I’m writing a heavier record, because I dunno if that’s what people will expect. So we’re going into the studio tomorrow to start recording the new album already.
B: Is there going to be any pre-EP release or anything?
H: We’ll be releasing a track from the second album, before the tour. So that should come out in late September/early October.
B: Can you say the name of the track yet?
H: I can’t tell you that yet, haha
B: Why not?
H:Well we’re recording two songs and I’m going to pick the one I like best. B: Okay well you know where I am when it does come out, haha.
So is there a strong DIY ethic within the band?
H: Well yeah I think the whole concept of DIY is a complex one now. Ever since we started the band we were always staunchly DIY… and obviously things change because we work with a label, but we work loosely with a label. We’re still heavily responsible for things we do and organising things we do. So in terms of our ethic: absolutely we’re a DIY band.
B: So tell me about your experience with your first producer and album. What was that like?
H: It was a slightly frustrating experience in some ways because we had a lot of problems for quite a long time. Because I wrote some of those songs a couple of years before the album came out and the reason that it didn’t come out sooner was because we were so DIY. Like we all worked part time jobs and couldn’t afford to put out a record, because it’s so expensive. When Tarik called us saying, “I wanna make a record with you,” it was really cool because we went from having to do everything on a strict budget and waiting and waiting until we could afford to do it, to being able to do whatever we want. But having said that, we chose to record the record with our friend Mark because he has this incredible studio in London and we love to support him. So we recorded it with him and we did it in 2 days – which for a 12 track is a pretty quick turnaround.
B: That’s impressive.
H: Yeah because I have quite a short attention span, and I think doing things 3 or 4 times around just loses some of its energy. And I think some of it is lost in the recording process. I don’t believe a record should be totally perfect, just doesn’t make sense to me. I think you lose a lot of character if you do that. So, we recorded it with Mark, which was amazing. And then the super cool thing which we weren’t able to do before was send it to LA and get it mixed by someone we really wanted to work with. So it wasmixed by a guy called Ben who did an incredible job of it. But because he was in LA and we’re in London there were some issues there. So the album was originally meant to come out in July or August and it actually came out in December. That’s one of the frustrations of handing things over to other people: you have less control. But in the end we were so happy with the album that it was totally worth doing it with Ben. We’re working with him again this time.
B: So what do you hope for your second album?
H: It will definitely be a straight up punk record. But now we’re in a position where we can take our time and play around with it more, and experiment with it and make it more interesting. Having said that, there will still be plenty of straight up punk bangers on there.
B: So my final question, how come you decided to move from Leeds to London?
H:I quit my job and I couldn’t afford to live there anymore so I actually moved back to Nottingham for a couple of years before I moved to London. I think Leeds is an amazing city for music. I think some cities can become a little bit stagnant… I’m not like, a huge fan of London and we love playing in Leeds and Sheffield. The shows and the people in those cities are always just incredible. Being in London was more just a case of circumstance. It’s benefitted us being here but I don’t think its better than other cities.