Heavy Heart, hello! So you’re a five piece, tell me a little about how you all came together to form as a band? What’s the history?
James and I started Heavy Heart as a bedroom project, just a guitar, a handful of songs and no plan. We met Patrick when he was studying at Goldsmiths near where we lived in south London and did a few low-key shows in early 2014 – mainly acoustic guitars and vocals with some electronics. When we got booked for some festivals that summer we decided to get a full band together, so we asked Adam and Craig – who Patrick had played with before – to join on bass and drums.
I know you’re completely self managed at the minute, how are you finding working entirely independently? Is there a secret manager within the group?
We’re happy working independently and haven’t found it a problem so far. I can’t really imagine it any other way. It makes sense for us to be in control of what we’re doing and learn the ropes when it comes to our own work. Everyone chips in to help – I might be the secret manager, but that’s probably just what the others let me believe! We’re lucky to have some good friends who are audio engineers, designers, filmmakers etc, so we haven’t had to look far for help, and everything else we do ourselves. I think that’s true for most bands now.
I understand that you released an EP in 2015 that was received well yet now you are releasing a track each month for 2016. What made you decide to go about things in this way as opposed to the fairly traditional release structures?
We’re such an ADHD culture now – people might listen to one or two tracks from an EP and not have time for the rest, so why waste songs by putting them out all together? Releasing a song a month keeps us busy (we haven’t yet got a year’s worth so we’re constantly writing and recording) and means you’re always giving your listeners brand new material. We’re not doing things in a traditional way generally so it didn’t make sense to try and mirror what bigger bands do just for the sake of being ‘proper’. Come back to me in August when we’ve run out of ideas and I might tell you something different!
There’s also a brilliant R.E.M cover available online, do you have any plans to release a cover as one of your monthly editions?
Thank you! We has some extra time in the studio late last year – we love R.E.M. and it was a song we’d been listening to loads at the time. Sometimes deconstructing someone else’s song can open you up to different ways of approaching your own writing. We don’t have any other covers planned at the moment, but you never know…
As a band who would you say are your collective influences and then personal influences? Do your tastes ever clash in terms of tour playlists and pre-show warm up, is anybody guilty of trying to slip in an Aqua or 5ive record?
The personal influences are pretty varied, but the music which influenced the band originally was stuff like The Pixies, Jeff Buckley, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins. Recently we’ve really been digging the new Sunflower Bean album, Tame Impala, The War on Drugs, DIIV. There’s so much great music being made now and it’s always a buzz to discover something new. We don’t believe there’s such thing as a guilty pleasure, so the tour and dressing room playlists are full of everything from industrial metal to chart pop – there’s no judgement!
Your sound is very current with artists such as Wolf Alice and Swim Deep reigniting an interest in guitar led indie, are you inspired by these sorts of bands who work very much on their own terms?
It’s inspiring to hear people doing great stuff with guitars and it shows that there’s still something to be said with this medium. But I think good songwriting is good songwriting, whatever you choose to play it on – it transcends style. The most inspiring artists are part of a continuum of musical innovation, and that goes hand in hand with doing things on your own terms.
The twelve songs that will make up your 2016, do you think any of them, if not all of them are likely to appear on future EPs or even a debut album?
Yes, we’re going to collect up an EP every four songs for anyone who wants one, so there will be three in 2016 – in April, August and December. We’re aiming to release these in physical form as well (our last EP was on cassette so maybe on vinyl this time…or VHS?!). At the end of the year we’ll have an album’s worth of songs, but I think we might just start afresh in 2017 and do a solid album of all new stuff then.
As festival season is just around the corner, do you have plans to play or attend any that you can talk about? And what are your personal favourites that you’ve either visited or played in the past?
We’ve loved the festival experiences we’ve had so far – Truck Festival was our first and so much fun, and we also did MBC Fest in Spain and CMJ in New York in 2015. We’re really looking forward to playing Greenstone in August and we have a couple of other dates still to be announced…
Finally do you have a real determination to play any specific stages in the future?
Yes – all of them! We’re south Londoners so Brixton Academy has always been the dream…