Prove your humanity

Playing a string of shows as supports for UK rock band Placebo across the country and latest album All These Countless Nights being well-received in the UK, Deaf Havana guitarist Matthew Veck-Gilodi spoke with Grok on growing used to touring and the pros-and-cons social media has with distributing music.

What has the band been up since the release of the latest record?

We have been pretty busy. We released a record back in January, and we did a tour around the UK and Europe in February, and into March and April. Since then we have been doing festivals all over from June onwards, which has been awesome. It’s the first time we have had a busy summer. Now we have just finished that and on to Australia.

Does the band get used to a busy touring schedule?

You definitely do. I think it’s easier almost when you’re away for a solid amount of time. If you get three weeks away—three weeks to a month or whatever—when you’re on tour I always find that’s easier. The first week can be a bit misplacing but after that you get used to it. It’s easier when you’re away for a solid amount of time.

When you’re doing a summer like we have, where we’re busy every weekend and we get to go home, I just find that weird because you never get into the rhythm of it.

Do you guys love touring or spending time in the studio more?

I think we have a healthy bit of both. I don’t think we prefer one more than the other. The one thing I would say, the live cycle can be a bit up and down. When it works for everyone and everyone has had a great show then it is the most incredible thing in the world. Coming on stage with your best friends knowing that you had one of the best shows you have ever done is the best feeling I have ever had.

But then equally it is incredible to be in the studio creating something. For me I do prefer live shows a bit more, because in the studio you have second chances – that knowledge that everything you do can fuck everything up again. So you ride that line of adrenaline.

How have people taken to the latest record?

Really good, actually – we didn’t know what to expect because this is the first record we released in a long time. We didn’t know whether people had forgotten about us and stopped really caring at all. It’s actually been received over in the UK as our best record. We believe it to be our best, it’s a product of all the struggle we had the past few years – it means a lot to us.

But to have it resonate with a lot of people is a lot to take in, we weren’t expecting that at all.

This record took a considerable amount of time to make, was that something that hung on the minds of the band when recording?

We definitely did have that worry; we took a long time because we had money struggles behind the scenes. The financing to actually getting a record done, we didn’t have and so it took us a long time to get to that point where we could write a record.

Then we did that, recorded it, management and everyone said it would be best to push the release back. So we sat on the record for about six months and were getting incredibly anxious thinking about whether people would have forgotten about us not cared when we came back.

Looking from the struggles the band has gotten through and up until now with supporting Placebo on their tour – do you feel the band has overcome a massive hurdle?

It’s a lot easier than it has been at the moment. It is pretty nice to be able to come to Australia to support one of our favourite bands, and to be able to play a couple of our own headline shows as well is just mad. I really can’t complain.

Does a kind of journey like that affect the band?

It certainly has for us; it’s made us grow up a bit. Growing through those sorts of struggles – maybe it has affected us as well. It has affected us as a band mindset the most, the way we go about things has changed since we have gotten through these bad times.

How did you guys get on board with Placebo?

Our management company has looked after Placebo since they started. We did a few shows with them last year and we did one earlier this year. Since we saw they were touring Australia we asked the manager that we had tour that one and we managed to get it which is awesome.

Was it a thinly veiled attempt to get an Australian holiday?

It’s something we have been trying to make work as well, to come over to Aus. We came in 2013 when Soundwave was still on: it hasn’t been viable to get back since then, so we just thought it would be a perfect opportunity really.

The track Seattle on All These Countless Nights talks about the loneliness of touring, has the band grown more attuned to that issue?

I think so. I think we are more grounded, so we don’t run away with our own expectations as much as we did around the time Seattle was written about. You certainly learn to cope with that sort of thing, but the main struggle with what Seattle was written about was we were touring for about two months in depths of winter in America and the shows were all just shit – no one turned up, it was rubbish. So it was basically dealing with that, so we are certainly more well placed to deal with that sort of thing.

What do you think of the state of the current genre of guitar bands?

It’s in an interesting state, I can’t work out whether it is really good or really terrible. There are some really great guitar bands apart from a certain few who are exposed a lot. You have to really search for some great music, whereas especially in the U.K you get a lot of pop acts because it works for radio but it’s just embarrassing to hear really.

There is this commercialised stuff that works on radio and that’s what a lot of people go towards because that’s how they measure success. On the other hand there are some really great, much harder to find bands which you really do have to search out. It is healthy and alive, but you do have to work a bit to find some great stuff I find.

Do you feel the changes in social media has amounted to a ‘double-edged sword?

Social media has made it so everyone is reachable. It’s so easy for some guys sitting behind a keyboard to feel like they have some sort of connection. It might be playing a hand into people wanting to make more – I don’t want to say bland – but more music that is ‘fine’. Obviously its great because its very easy to get your music out there but it also is a double-edged sword. It was very different when we first started.

Could you argue it has created more disconnect between fans and artists?

I would. I’m someone who is now fully bought into how accessible it is—I have a music subscription. Sometimes I catch myself thinking it’s incredible to have every single album I have ever wanted on my phone, but it definitely does work the other way because where it is more accessible, I find people treat listening to music as more throwaway than it used to be.

When I used to fork out to buy an LP and get friends around because you’re the only person that could afford it – you’d buy a record and just listen to it and wear it out because that was the record you bought. Whereas now if you listen to a record and [you’re] slightly like ‘meh its fine’ you just toss it by the wayside because it’s not something you’d really invest in. There is such a wealth of music out there that you have an exposure to. It’s a lot harder to get invested into records like that, so it does work the other way.

Deaf Havana’s latest album All These Countless Nights is available to purchase or Stream online.