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Interview: Deaf Havana

Having toured with Young Guns and We Are The Ocean, and with a headline tour and dates supporting Emery and Emarosa to come, Deaf Havana are slowly making their way in the UK scene.

Guitarist/Vocalist James Veck-Gilodi recently spoke to ATP about the pressures of writing debut album "Meet Us Halfway, At Least" and gives a very honest assessment of the record, as well as talks about the depth of UK talent around at the moment and more.

ATP: "Meet Us Halfway, At Least" was released a while back now, how do you think it has been received so far?
James Veck-Gilodi: Well to be honest I think it's a pretty equal divide. I've heard as many people say they love it as I've heard people say it's thoroughly average. All in all, I think it got the criticism it deserved, it's not a great record but it's not an awful record either and I think that has shown through in the reviews and feedback that we have received so far. I mean obviously it would have been great to have excellent reviews in every magazine, but seeing as the majority of the writing for the album was very rushed. I think the feedback has been fair, and besides, I don't think anyone has actually said that its bad yet, just that it could be better, and that, my dear friends in the music industry, is what the next album is going to be. Better.

ATP: Did you have any aims or goals for the album and do you think you have achieved them so far?
JVG: Well if I'm honest, my only goal in writing this album was to produce a record that was as poppy as possible, without losing the screaming and heavy elements of the music, and for the most part, I think that's what I achieved. Whether it worked or not is a different story.

ATP: You said before you went into the studio you wanted to make the best record humanly possible. Do you find as a band you need to put yourself under that much pressure to achieve the best results?
JVG: Well I don't think its healthy to ever be under that much pressure and it has clearly shown through on the record. I think we just found ourselves with barely any time left to write a whole album. So myself and Ryan had to work pretty quickly to achieve that, it was very stressful and we didn't leave ourselves enough time for error but I guess it's all part of the learning curve isn't it.

ATP: With the hype surrounding the EP, there must have been a lot of pressure on you to deliver with 'Meet Me Halfway, At Least'. How did you handle that?
JVG: Indeed; although when we actually wrote the album, I myself wasn't aware of how many people actually liked the EP and I didn't really take that into account, resulting in me writing the album that I wanted and not necessarily thinking about the people who were actually going to be buying this CD. So for the most part I don't think we handled it as well as we could have.

ATP: Your lyrics are very deep and personal, especially on tracks like 'Waves' and 'You Are Beautiful'. What were the inspirations behind the record?
JVG: This is a question Ryan should really be answering because the only lyrics on the album that I wrote were "Another Day In This House". But generally Ryan's lyrics tend to be about people who are or have been close to him and experiences he has had. He's been through quite a lot for a man of 21 so he has a lot of life experience to fuel his lyrics.

ATP: You have a headline tour coming up, would you say this is the bands most important tour to date?
JVG: I wouldn't say so, the most important one to date for me, was probably back in January 2009 when we supported our good friends We Are The Ocean on their UK tour. That tour is pretty much the sole reason why people started to hear about us.

ATP: With bands like yourselves, Bring Me The Horizon, Young Guns and We Are The Ocean all making waves recently, just how good do you think the British talent on the scene is at the moment?
JVG: Well I'm the wrong person to talk to about this really because I don't really listen to much heavy music at all, but yeah, there seem to be a lot of bands breaking through at the moment. As for how good I think the British talent is at the moment, there's a few bands in our scene who have caught my attention; Francesqa (who we are touring with at the start of march), Flood Of Red, Outcry Collective and SHARKS.

ATP: The festival season is on the horizon, might we be lucky enough to see you guys at some of them?
JVG: I do believe so, would be nice wouldn't it.

ATP: 2009 was a huge year for you guys, with the album release as well as the amount of hype you have picked up. What are your hopes for 2010 and how do you hope to build on your success?
JVG: In 2010 I hope to write a better record than the last one, I hope to gain more fans and reach a wider audience and I hope to keep damaging my liver with free beer. Peace.

'Meet Us Halfway, At Least' by Deaf Havana is available now through A Wolf At Your Door Records.

Deaf Havana will be touring with All Forgotten later this month, followed by a UK and European tour with Emery. In addition the band will be touring with Emarosa and We Don't Dance To Love Songs in May.

Full dates can be found on Deaf Havana's MySpace.

Words by Liam McGarry
Edited by Sean Reid

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