We absolutely love Norfolk rockers Deaf Havana, so we had a chat with the band’s frontman James Veck-Gilodi about turning to music out of boredom, the brilliance of Björk and literally shitting himself onstage.
You’re currently touring the UK – how’s it going?
It’s going really well. Last night in Bournemouth was the first gig and it was phenomenal, so we’re really excited about getting out there and playing the rest of the shows. I’d say that the Bournemouth show was one of the best gigs we’ve played in a long time.
What’s the best thing about playing live?
For me, it’s when you see people singing along. I can never get over seeing people singing the words that I’ve written, so seeing people connect with the songs is something that’s really special to me.
What’s your favourite song to play live?
I’m going to say Anemophobia. Even if I’m having a bad show, I always really enjoy that one. I could be having the worst time in the world onstage, but as soon as we play Anemophobia I start to have a good time.
What are your plans for next year?
We’d like to get a record out. We’d also like to get back into gigging – we haven’t really been doing anything for the past few months, so it’d be nice to just get back in to the cycle of being a functioning band again. I’m going to treat January as a starting point, really.
Have you got much written for the next album?
We’ve got about five or six songs written, and they’re sounding really good. They’re about halfway between Old Souls and Fools and Worthless Liars in terms of sound, but they’re a bit more upbeat… They’re just a really good natural progression for us, and I’m really happy with them. I’m also going to just sing for a lot of them, as opposed to singing and playing guitar, so I guess it’ll also be a lot more minimal. You should be hearing something from the next record in the first quarter of next year, so keep your eyes open!
What made you want to start playing music in the first place?
I first started making music when I was a kid, and that was because there was literally nothing else to do. I lived in the middle of nowhere, so I couldn’t just walk to the park and hang out. I bullied my grandparents into buying me a guitar, and most of the boys in the band lived near me. We could have been spraypainting walls, but we decided to make music instead. It was all born from boredom, really!
Which song do you wish you’d written?
Any Rolling Stones or Beatles songs, because they’re really rich. Actually, not The Beatles… I don’t like The Beatles… I’d probably go for You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones. It’s probably my favourite song.
What’s your favourite Deaf Havana lyric?
God, I’ve literally got no idea. I can probably pick a favourite song? I’d go for Anemophobia, again. I can’t pick out a single lyric from it. I was at such a low point in my life when I wrote it, and I like my lyrics to be open and relatable, so I really like that one. My favourite songs are the ones where I can immediately understand the lyrics and connect with it, as opposed to having to work out what it all means. I guess I kind of want to do that.
Out of all of your songs, which is your favourite?
Again, I’m going to have to go with Anemophobia. It’s my favourite song to play live, it’s my favourite song lyrically, and it’s the song I’m most proud of writing. I was literally crying when I wrote it, and it all came out in five minutes. I think that all the best songs I’ve written are the ones that I wrote in five or ten minutes.
Who’s your ultimate musical icon?
I don’t really have one. A lot of the bands that I listen to and love don’t really sound anything like us, so it’s a bit hard for me to choose. Lyrically, I suppose I’d have to say Morrissey – I love The Smiths. Also, I love The Rolling Stones, Jeff Buckley, Bjork… I find it hard to pick our main influences. Lyrically, I’m influenced by life in general, and by stories, but the reason I wanted to be in a band was because of Michael Jackson. I don’t really have a particular ‘idol’ who inspired me to do this, because the music we make doesn’t particularly sound like anything I like. I just like a massive collection of different artists and genres.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to the band?
There are a few things… I once shat myself onstage in Leeds, which was quite weird. James Hetfield from Metallica also introduced himself to us when we were in Australia. He knew who we were, and he just came over and said hello! That was pretty strange.
Describe yourself in three words?