Deaf Havana has a well-earned reputation as an impressive live act, touring consistently over the last twelve years, nurturing a passionate and dedicated following. Their current album ‘All these Countless Nights’ debuted at #5 in their native UK and this will be the band’s first chance to play new songs to an Australian audience when they tour with Placebo this week. We caught up with guitarist Matt Veck-Gilodi to discuss the tour and more.
Andrew: I hear you just came off a tour with Kings Of Leon, how did it go?
Matt: It was insane, incredible! In the lead up every time we had an interview and people would ask us if you could tour with any band, who would it be and that would fit with our sound and also a band that we love, Kings Of Leon was always the answer and so to get a few shows with them was amazing. They were mainly in Germany and the crowds were awesome and we’ve seen an upsurge in interest in Germany since doing them, so that’s amazing.
Andrew: That’s good to hear and I guess that’s one of the benefits of touring with a band like that is you get to win over some of those fans.
Matt: Yeah of course man!
Andrew: You guys are coming down to Australia very, very soon. I guess the last time you were here was for Soundwave yeah?
Matt: Yeah man about 4 and a half years ago.
Andrew: What do you remember from that tour? How was it for you guys?
Matt: Oh it was amazing, it was so good! It was around February so it was still pretty hot, it was just amazing. It was somewhere where we never thought we would be able to go to play music, that feeling of being able to go somewhere that you always wanted to go but to do it not only as sort of your job but your passion is amazing. It was insane, just surreal.
Andrew: This is also a massive tour for you guys as well as you are coming down with Placebo who are one of those bands that have generated a big cult following. That must be a pretty thrilling experience for you guys as well.
Matt: Yeah it’s very odd for us because they’re a band that, especially me and my brother (James Veck- Gilodi, vocals) have loved forever really and so to be able to play with them, again in Australia is incredible so we can’t wait.
Andrew: So how are you tackling these shows this time around because obviously it’s far different to playing festivals like at Soundwave?
Matt: I don’t know, I mean we do sort of tailor our set because we do have a slightly wide and varied sound, we tailor it depending on what bands we’ll play with. So we might play a bit more darker set of songs playing with Placebo but I don’t know, it’s not too difficult. We’ll just see how it goes.
Andrew: Are you the kind of band then that likes to change the setlist from night to night or do you like to stick to the one set once you have found the right setlist?
Matt: If we find the setlist that works then we’ll keep that for a little bit for our tour and then next time we do one, we’ll change it up. Because we never used to be that good at finding 20 songs or something that fit really well together for when we do a headline set. Doing supports set is a bit different, we change those up more I think just because we don’t really know what songs are good at winning over new fans but we’ll probably change it up a bit once we’re over there.
Andrew: You had the new album (All These Countles Nights) that came out earlier this year so at that time when it first came out, were you thinking much about how they would translate live from when you first wrote and recorded them?
Matt: Not so much when we wrote them but when we recorded them, that was one thing that we worked heavily with our producer on but we recorded the majority of the songs like the bass, drums and a lot of the rhythm guitars live in a room just to get that energy. Our producer the whole way through was like, ‘This needs to sound like a live band as that’s the sort of band you are’, and so having that really translate as a 5 piece band and not be too extravagant was something that was at the forefront I think.
Andrew: And how are they translating to the stage so far on tour?
Matt: Really well actually and they seem to be going down the best at the moment which is awesome. But it’s been interesting to see what songs that go down like when we toured Europe, because there’s so many different countries, just seeing which songs translate better in different countries to different people is a funny thing to witness. I find somewhere like Germany the audiences are really respectful, when you’re supporting a band as well. Like in the UK people just don’t care, like if you’re a support band people will be at the bar waiting for the headliner. I know I would! So in Germany when we did a few shows supporting Placebo over there, we were in these massive arenas and just before we were about to go on it was like, ‘Shit there’s noone here, noone’s going to watch us’ and as soon as the lights go down and the music starts, people would just come straight in and watch and listen as opposed to just talking through out which you do get a lot in the UK. I guess people are just really rude in the UK [laughs].
Andrew: [laughs] Well how do you find the Aussie audiences? Obviously a festival is different but did you find there was maybe some similarities between certain countries and Australia?
Matt: The main memory from that is quite rowdy which is nice and is very similar to certain parts of the UK.
Andrew: From what I have heard and certainly from the ones I’ve spoken to in the UK, when they come to Australia they find the fans are a little more vocal like screaming a few things to the musicians on stage and things like that.
Matt: Yeah for sure.
Andrew: So how has the new album been going? I hear it’s been charting really well so the feedback must be pretty positive.
Matt: Yeah man it’s been amazing, it’s been really good actually. Obviously as any band doesn’t know whether their album is going to be received well but this is our first album in what was nearly 4 years so to have it be received as well as if not better than all our other stuff has been amazing.
Andrew: What was some of the main differences between the last recording Old Souls” and this one?
Matt: Just the way we went about it. We got really carried away when we did “Old Souls”. We were all that much younger and we had lots of different people who were supposed to be doing very important jobs telling us that we were going to be a really big band and we believed it for a bit and as a result, we took our eyes off the ball and just got carried away and ended up spending a shit ton of money and that’s why we had to go away for 4 years to work off 60 grand of debt. So because we got over a bad time in our band, I think we were all just a lot more focused with this record.
Andrew: And going on the road for such a long time must have had a huge impact on the new songs as well I guess.
Matt: Yeah it all filters through into the way my brother writes the music really.
Andrew: What sparks ideas for you guys? What are inspirations for where you come up with melodies and ideas for songs?
Matt: I don’t know really. It’s an odd one because the majority of the songwriting in vocal lines is all pretty much done by my brother James and I don’t really know how he gets them because he will go through months of not having a song come out and then in 1 week he will write 4 and they are all incredible. So yeah I’m not too sure, he’s just mainly inspired by more than listening to other music, it’s what he does and goes through. He gets inspiration from his life and his experiences as much as listening to song that makes you go, ‘Wow that’s incredible, I need to do something like that’.
Andrew: What about for yourself, what are the kinds of things that inspires you not just for writing music but also to play a certain way or maybe be influenced by certain people or sounds?
Matt: The main inspiration for me to play a certain way is, especially when I hear a band play live and they are all playing something different and it’s treading that fine line between almost completely falling apart but it is staying together and it has that fierce energy as a result. That is something that really motivates me, getting that huge energy from live music is one of my favorite things in the world. So the fact that I get a chance to try and do that for other people is mad and what really motivates me.
Andrew: Yeah absolutely. And what about getting into music, what sparked you to want to pick up an instrument and get into a band?
Matt: I can remember the exact moment. I think I was about 10 and I heard Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the first time and I had never heard someone play guitar like John Frusciante who used to be in the Chili Peppers and I was like, ‘Shit I really want to do that!’
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah it’s interesting how so many people get influenced by something they see straight away and for some people it’s a slow evolution but I guess for you it sounds like it hit you quite immediately.
Matt: Yeah man, playing guitar was something I fell into as well. It was something I just did and I realized, ‘Oh fuck this is exactly what I want to do’ half way through almost!
Andrew: At the moment are there any musicians out there at all that you think are pretty cool and are maybe inspiring you in any way at all?
Matt: The latest record that Brand New just dropped I absolutely fucking love and we all do as a band. The way they went about in releasing it, that’s really cool. I’m a massive Nine Inch Nails fan and Trent Reznor is obviously very innovative in how he makes music and that is always inspiring for me as well.
Andrew: Yeah Trent has inspired so many people in so many genres. Are you very genre specific or do you like cross different boundaries of genres?
Matt: Yeah I’m much more like that, I used to be far more, I guess stupid with music and I would be like, ‘Oh I only like this sort of music’. But as I’ve gotten older I don’t really care, if I find something good I’ll listen to it regardless of the genre.
Andrew: Yeah definitely and I think music is one of those things that transcends all the political and other things that seperate us on the planet.
Matt: Yeah certaintly! That’s one of it’s incredible features, you can get 2 people who don’t even have to speak the same fucking language but they can find the connection through loving the same song or band. It’s amazing.
20 YEARS OF PLACEBO featuring speclal guests DEAF HAVANA AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:
Monday 4th September 2017 – Perth Arena
Wednesday 6th September 2017 – Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre
* Thursday 7th September 2017 – Ding Dong Lounge Melbourne
|Friday 8th September 2017 – Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne
Saturday 9th September 2017 – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Monday 11th September 2017 – Brisbane Convention Centre
Tuesday 12th September 2017 – Newcastle Entertainment Centre
* Wednesday 13th September 2017 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Thursday 14th September 2017 – AIS Arena, Canberra
(Deaf Havana side show only*)