“Our troubles are definitely on there, but I didn’t go out of my way to be too blatant, I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for us” - hmv.com talks to Deaf Havana
It’s been four years since Deaf Havana’s last album Old Souls and the time in between has been rather turbulent for the Norfolk five-piece.
As they finally return with their new album All These Countless Nights we sat down with singer James Veck-Gilodi to talk about why he was convinced it was all over for the band and how they fought their way back to get here...
Your new album is out today, you must feel great to be finally talking about it because it’s been a bit of a journey to get here...
“It’s the biggest relief ever to be talking about this, I really thought it was never going to happen, it’s taken so long. It feels amazing, just pure relief.”
It’s been four years since your last album, do you want to talk us through what happened to the band during that time?
“We came back after touring and we discovered that we were really badly in debt. We ended up firing some people and that was horrible and the whole process was so nasty that we didn’t really want to carry on. We decided to play some shows to pay off all the money and then probably call it a day. I was done with it, I wanted to leave.”
Wow! So it got that bad? What changed?
“I started writing some songs and I sent them over to the boys, it was a really shirty email it said something like “I’ve written these songs, if you like them, great, if you don’t, whatever” and they actually replied really quickly and told they were the best songs I’d written in ages. It really snowballed from there and we all started talking more and became a band again.”
So making this new album must have really felt like starting again?
“That was really for the best. We’ve all come back fresh and with much better attitudes and whole new perspectives. We’re really proud of Old Souls, but we didn’t really care while we made it, we spent a lot of time drinking too much and d**king about. It felt real this time, a lot more professional.”
How did you want this album to move on from what you’ve done before?
“I don’t really write with goals in mind. I wrote the songs naturally over quite a long period so there wasn’t a particular direction I wanted to go in and if I did, then it changed. I had a phase when I wanted to go electronic and get loads of synths and that really hasn’t happened. I suppose I wanted it to be way more diverse, there are lot more dynamics on this album.”
You’re a five-piece now after the departure of Chris Pennells, has that changed the band’s dynamic at all?
“That is different, we recorded this one live, it was all of us. Normally me and Tom (Ogden, guitars) are there the whole time and everyone else comes and goes, this time we were all there, it was much more of a whole band process.”
You worked with Adam Noble on the album, how did you settle on him?
“He did Placebo’s Loud Like Love and we really loved that so we reached out to him, but that was a long time ago now because we didn’t think we’d be waiting this long, but he was always keen. We’ve become really good friends and he’s amazing in the studio, we’re totally on the same wavelength, he had real vision and direction, previously we’ve been quite free and allowed to do what we want, he had a real grip on this album.”
What kind of album is this lyrically?
“The only way I know how to write is writing about my life, but there are quite a few different subjects. Our troubles are definitely on there, I didn’t go out of my way to be too blatant, I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for us.”
How do lyrics come to you? Are you someone who writes all the time?
“I don’t write all the time, I have friends in bands who do and I don’t get it. If you’re writing all the time then there’s going to be lots of s**t in there, I’m pretty good at self-editing. I tend to let things brew and bubble to the surface. Sometimes it starts with a guitar line, but mostly it’s lyrics first and then I build the song around it.”
You’ve got a new label, a bit smaller than Sony, how are things working out?
“It’s so much better, it’s a smaller set-up, but it’s great for us. BMG didn’t really care about us, they still publish us, but as far as the label was concerned they didn’t really care. So Recordings really do care and it’s been such a new lease of life for us.”
So after the record drops is 2017 going to be one long tour? Or do you not plan that far in advance?
“We’re aiming to be out for as much as we can. Ideally we can have a proper campaign this time and not just one tour and then nothing, which is what happened last time…”
Finally, given it’s been four years between albums, have you got lots of songs ready to go for your next LP?
“I had 30 songs for this album so there are still some good ones to go back to. I don’t want a gap as long again, as long as this album does well, if it flops who knows…”