EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – DEAF HAVANA
Following the release of Deaf Havana’s brutally honest new album All These Countless Nights, RUSHONROCK’s co-editor Adam Keys caught up with the bands drummer Tom Ogden. The album saw a change in direction for the Norfolk five piece and subsequently earned a thumping 9/10 from RUSHONROCK (check out the review here).
RUSHONROCK – Thanks for joining us at RUSHONROCK. Can you give our readers a quick overview of All These Countless Nights and the change in song writing direction for Deaf Havana?
Tom Ogden – ATCN is the first album we’ve spent time on writing and developing songs. Usually we just write exactly enough songs to fit on the record, but with this one we took our time. We had about 30 songs to chose from in the end, and it was nice to go through them all and chose the best ones.
RUSHONROCK – This is ‘the most honest Deaf Havana album to date,’ and the Happiness lyric ‘My drinking is taking its toll on everyone I meet,’ certainly shows that. Can you tell us about the struggles of the band over the last few years, and how you overcame those difficulties to make this album?
TO – I think towards the end of the Old Souls era we were all in a pretty dark place. No one really wanted to be in a band any more, no one really cared, and the only reason we’d show up to shows is because of the free booze. I think over the last few years, or especially the last year, we’ve all really missed playing music together, and that has become our main focus again. I think as soon as we all realised we missed music, and missed each other, we got our acts together very quickly.
RUSHONROCK – Old Souls saw you break the top 10 and sell out bigger venues than ever before. Has this led to more pressure with this release? If so, did this change your approach?
TO – It hasn’t really had any pressure on us. We never write music to gather good figures or get good chart positions. I think the moment you start thinking like that, its over. With ATCN we just took our time, made sure we were all happy, and created music which we enjoy listening to.
RUSHONROCK – Deaf Havana came very close to splitting a couple of years ago, when James started his solo project. How did this affect you and the rest of the band, and would you say it has galvanised you as a unit ahead of the making of All These Countless Nights?
TO – Yeah I definitely think its made us stronger. I don’t resent him in any way for starting a solo project, its something that he’s always wanted to do. I just think the timing of it was just kind of the ‘nail in the coffin’. We were already going though a bad patch so when that was announced I gave up completely. ironically, it was actually James that pulled the band back together though.
RUSHONROCK – With more honest song writing, this album also is heavier than previous releases. Would you say this has given you more freedom as a drummer to really drive from the back, with harder hitting than before?
TO – Yeah definitely. I think the producer we worked with (Adam Noble) helped me a lot, and made me into a more confident player. I really enjoyed tracking the album live too, it definitely gave me more freedom and made me perform better. Hopefully that shines through on the record.
RUSHONROCK – In our 9/10 review of the album, one of the big things that impressed about the album was the variety of sounds. While a lot of credit is deservedly given to James for his lyrical approach, the musicianship on this album steps it up a level as well. Can you tell us a bit more about the sounds you explored making this album, particularly with tracks like Seattle, Happiness and Fever?
TO – We approached each song differently, which is something we’ve never done before. We used different snares, cymbals, bass amps, etc etc on every track and I think that makes it more interesting to listen to. With Seattle I actually got hammered before I tracked it. Everyone wanted the drums to be lazy and loose, so I drank a lot of Gin. Fever I just want for it, hitting things as hard as I could and getting the loudest sound out of my kit. With happiness, we want it to sound kind of ‘posh’. So we used a massive snare drum, massive ride cymbals and made sure most of that was tracked live. I think Happiness, Seattle and St Pauls are the 3 main ones that needed to be tracked live.
RUSHONROCK – Finally, you’re heading out on the road for the first time in a while. What can fans expect to see from the real Deaf Havana?
TO – We’re just going to go out there and put on a good show, play songs that we (and hopefully everyone else) loves, and have a good time. We’ve spent a bit of time working on the stage setup and I’m really looking forward to it. Musically we all enjoy playing together and I hope we get that across with our live shows.