“This is what we’ve missed”: Matt of Deaf Havana on the band’s near demise & their best record yet
Interview & Words by Stephanie Smith
Deaf Havana know who they are now.
That’s not to say they’re sticking to it.
“We’re not trying to sound like anything or unlike anything,” lead guitarist Matt Veck-Gilodi said. “Instead of saying we won’t touch a genre like that, we won’t do anything that sounds like that — we just allowed ourselves to go for anything. If it works, run with it. It’s just really freeing, artistically.”
But it’s no coincidence that the opening track on All These Countless Nights, Deaf Havana’s first LP in four years, is “Ashes, Ashes.”
Last Friday, the English rock band, consisting of Veck-Gilodi and his brother, James, Lee Wilson, Tom Ogden, and Max Britton, released their strongest songs to date. But it would take a long and harsh refining process to arrive at the helm of All These Countless Nights (SO Recordings/Silva Screen Records Limited) and a subsequent spring international tour.
At one point, they were playing gigs just to pay dues.
In the wake of the Old Souls era, Deaf Havana were dropped from their record label, BMG, fell into debt, and even fell out of love with their craft.
“We took a bit of a break without knowing whether we were going to continue at all,” Veck-Gilodi said.
However, it is the track “Happiness” from which the album that almost wasn’t takes its title: “…all the countless nights that I’ve spent cowering in bed, ‘cause I can’t fight the voice that rings inside my head.” When frontman James began writing again in early 2015, he unknowingly set Deaf Havana’s revival in motion.
“We all just went, ‘Shit, we need this,’” Veck-Gilodi said. “‘This is what we’ve missed.’”
The five-piece narrowed some 30 songs down to 12, recording the basis of each as a full band. Deaf Havana have always stressed the importance of genuine, full-band sets for live shows and in February, they’ll kick off a string of dates in their native U.K., followed by shows across Europe in March and April. But Veck-Gilodi said the band also wants to return to Australia and the U.S. to play in as many countries as they can in 2017. Especially since their longer-than-expected hiatus has resulted in such a big transformation that the Deaf Havana fans — and the members themselves — have known.
“We’ve been so long out, we owe it to everyone who’s supported us and still supports us to this day — to come over, play to them, and have a great time,” Veck-Gilodi said. “We don’t want anything more than that. That’s why we play music. It’s all we can ask for.”
Jan. 30 HMW In-Store & Signing, Oxford Street, London [tickets]
Jan. 31 Facebook Live Acoustic Session, ‘Music On Facebook’ Page [3:30 P.M.]
Feb. 1 Banquet Records New Noise, Hippodrome, Kingston [tickets]
Feb. 2 Rise Records In-Store Acoustic, Bristol [free entry – 6 P.M.]