Making great music can be such a weird and varied process. You might be the kind of person who writes nothing for 6 months, sits down one day, and ends up writing and recording a track in 2 hours. You could also be the kind of person who works methodically and regularly, consistently producing and refining – and you could quite easily be both at some time or another. What is true of most musicians however, is that the best things do take a little time to refine, to reflect, to throw lyrics in the bin and then fish them out the following morning – it’s a process. Heroics know this all too well – the album they began writing in 2015 is finally finished, and with a few tracks available online, it’s clear it’s going to be a cracker. I spoke to lead singer Graeme ahead of their latest release:
KM: Tell me about how you all started making music together.
G: I had been writing acoustic songs for a little bit and had been playing solo gigs around London. I started thinking that a band would be better and put an ad on gumtree. Alex replied and I found it in my spam a month later – I frantically replied and luckily got a response. We met in a pub after I’d had a very heavy night and I had to run away in panic half way through a bottle of corona. Surprisingly Alex still wanted to meet after that, I’m lucky he was so patient. Everyone else is in the band through Alex, and bands he’s been in.
KM: Most of you have been with other established acts before embarking on this project. Do you think having those experiences has helped you gel more easily as a band?
G: Well, I actually haven’t really been involved with any established other acts, not creatively or anything worth mentioning. Alex, Jim and Dan have been together in various forms for a while now though, and they understand each other really well. It definitely brings something to what we do. We’ve spent a long time making sure we’re at a point where we can call ourselves good. We’ve also made plenty of mistakes and made sure to try and learn from them.
KM: This album has been a long time in the making – are you happy with what you’ve achieved?
G: Yeah, it has taken us a long time to figure everything out, and it took this much time so we could make sure it sounds just like we wanted it. I’m so happy that we took our time with it. Even if it’s just something for us to have to remember our time together.
KM: What kind of overarching themes does this album explore?
G: It’s about moving on and letting go. Saying all the things I never got the chance to say. A letter never sent to a person that wouldn’t read it anyway. The next album will be happier!
KM: Glad to hear it! ‘Burns Away’ (as yet unreleased) begins with a lovely sine heavy synth, and it reminds me of retro video game music. Did that kind of thing inspire you at all?
G: I have loved video games all my life so I’m sure the music has influenced me in some way. The synth was actually Dan’s addition – he brought it to a rehearsal one day as something to mess around with. We’ve always been a 2 guitars, bass and drums kind of band, so it was originally just a bit of fun, but we ended up really liking it.
KM: Can you tell us what the track was written about?
G: It’s about relationships and separation. It’s about losing something close to you and how you force yourself to deal with it. It’s about what you would say to the person you lost if you ever got the chance. It gets better over time but ‘fading away’ is putting it too lightly – it burns; it leaves a mark.
KM: From what I’ve heard of your music, it seems that percussion and rhythm play a huge role in your work – at times it’s almost mathematical in its application. It’s also mirrored in the vocals, which are often very staccato and rhythmic. Have you always sang in that style?
G: When I started playing guitar I wasn’t good enough to sing and play at the same time. I had to sing what I was playing on the guitar. It just became the way I was most comfortable doing things. Which is good as I’m still not good enough to sing and play at the same time! Jim and Al have played rhythm together in lots of bands, and spend quite a lot of time working out those parts, and the mathematical approach I guess complements the vocal parts.
KM: What sort of artists do you admire?
G: Pinback, Death Cab for Cutie, The National . Listened to loads of pop punk and emo when I was younger as well, like American Football.
KM: Do you ever look outside the music world for inspiration?
G: Not intentionally, I probably wouldn’t make any music at all if it wasn’t for the weird things that have happened to me though.
KM: What are your hopes for the rest of this year? Will we be seeing you live any time soon?
G: Release our record, get people to listen to it and get some support slots with cool bands. We’ll be putting together an album launch show later this year, too.
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