"It reaffirmed our belief and worth in the band."
We caught up with James Veck-Gilodi from Deaf Havana to talk about his band’s current UK tour, their reworked version of their latest album and the future.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO REWORK ‘ALL THESE COUNTLESS NIGHTS’?
Says James Veck-Gilodi (vocals / guitar): “When I was writing the songs I had the initial idea. The way I see it is that the song is just an idea and there are different ways it can go. The song is just lyrics and a melody essentially. There are so many genres and different ways that it can go. Even when I was writing the demos for the actual album I thought to myself that one day I might take these in a different direction. I think it was just that nagging voice in the back of my head that is never satisfied and always wants to do something different."
DO YOU ALWAYS GO INTO WRITING SESSIONS WITH THAT OPEN MIND?
“When we were working on this album I did because there were no restrictions. We could do what we want. When we record an album I ideally want to go in like that and do what you want but realistically you have to make it sound like an album. Songs have to have a flow and fit in to each other. Even though on our records we have songs that are wildly different to each other and don’t fit together. So it’s hard to go in with a completely open mind. With this band I have an idea of how it’s supposed to sound, but with this project though we were completely open. We – me and Adam Noble, our producer – always wanted to do a track with just strings, for example.”
SO WAS EVERYTHING COMPLETELY RE-RECORDED?
“It’s all completely re-recorded. It took us ages. It’s a completely new record. It was just really Adam and me sitting in a dark room trying to come up with some decent ideas. It was quite a long process. Initially we went into it thinking it would be quite quick. Go in, flesh it out and settle for whatever. Then we just got obsessed with it. We had to cut it off at some point otherwise we would have been in there forever. It wasn’t as emotionally stressful as recording an actual record because there wasn’t any pressure. We could have just banged out an acoustic record and it would have been alright, I think. When we got back off tour and everybody went home, I was going into the studio every day. I didn’t have any time off. I enjoyed doing that though. I love recording. It’s my favourite part of being in a band.”
ARE THESE FINAL COUPLE OF TOURS THE END OF THE ALBUM CYCLE?
“Yeah, I think this is the end of the cycle. I’ve already started writing for the next album. We want to get it out just after, or late summer. Obviously between ‘Old Souls’ and ‘All These Countless Nights’ there was four years and we don’t want that to happen again. This will nicely cap off this album cycle but also if we do stuff early next year that will be cool. I don’t think we will be doing another headliner on this album. Maybe a little support tour.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL THIS YEAR HAS BEEN FOR YOU?
“It’s 100% been the most positive year we have had. I maybe would have liked to do one more tour somewhere else but regardless it’s been the most positive and productive year the band has had. It has kind of re-established us. If we had released ‘All These Countless Nights’ and no one cared about it that would have been us, I think. ‘Let’s call it a day boys and do something else’. It reaffirmed our belief and worth in the band. I feel it’s the most important year that we’ve ever had.”
IT’S INTERESTING COMPARING THAT TO THE ‘OLD SOULS’ HEADLINE TOUR, WHICH FELT A LOT LIKE THE END…
“I already knew I didn’t want to be in the band at that point. It felt like the end. I remember playing the Roundhouse and I didn’t give a shit. I hated it. I didn’t want to go on stage. Sold out Roundhouse, I should be buzzing. I literally went onstage in a Deaf Havana crew shirt, baggy jeans and long hair tied up. I just couldn’t be arsed. It was terrible. The life was drained out of us. There was something very wrong, but this year has been the absolute opposite of that.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL LOOKING BACK AT THAT PERIOD?
“I wish I had the mindset I have now when we released ‘Old Souls’ because I think it would have done a lot better. I still back that album, I think it’s our best album. Maybe there was too much of a change, I don’t know. Or maybe I was listening to Bruce Springsteen too much. The thing is everybody hyped it up before we released it and then went, ‘Nah’. So I got really bummed and didn’t care anymore. If I had been a bit more positive it would have gone further I think. I don’t have any regrets though. I don’t have any negative feelings. I just wish I could have been a bit more mature."
IT MUST BE HARD TO PUT YOUR ALL INTO SOMETHING AND THEN PEOPLE DON’T RESPOND…
“It’s soul destroying.”
HOW ABOUT NOW? IT FEELS LIKE THERE’S SOME REAL MOTIVATION NOW…
“100%. I definitely want to keep this momentum going and make things bigger. I don’t want a downtime period. I want to keep going, keep writing and get a record out soon. Then again, if I write stuff and nothing good is coming out, I’m not going to release a crap record just for the sake of getting it out. I feel like a lot of people do that. They just release stuff too quickly. It takes a while to sink in. You need to listen to the songs for ages and live with them for a bit. If I don’t have twelve songs that I’m 100% happy with that are going to make a wicked album that is different and better than the previous record, then I’m not going to rush it and get it out. I am going to try and do it as quickly as possible though. Our goal is to get the record out by September next year, so if we do that it will be amazing.”
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS THAT DEAF HAVANA IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE, RIGHT?
WHAT’S THE PLAN GOING FORWARD?
“This may be very detrimental to me, but I’ve never been someone with aims. I play music because I love it. A lot of people in bands are like, ‘We have to hit this target and then do this’. I’ve always just liked playing music in front of people and writing songs. What gets me is that if I was a little more driven maybe we would have got a little further. I don’t have any unrealistic goals like, ‘Oh, I want to play Wembley’. I don’t care about stuff like that. Yet as soon as we start playing venues that are smaller than what we’ve already played and start going down, I think we need to have a serious word and find a way to make it work. As long as we keep getting progressively bigger and keep playing music then I’m happy."
The reworked version of 'All These Countless Nights' is out now via SO Recordings.
The band are currently on tour, with support coming from Decade and Black Foxxes.
13 - BATH Komedia
14 - COVENTRY Kasbah
15 - LEEDS Beckett University
17 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
18 - LIVERPOOL Academy
20 - ABERDEEN Garage
21 - EDINBURGH Queens Hall
22 - NEWCASTLE Northumbria University
24 - CARDIFF Y Plas
25 - EXETER Lemon Grove
James also appears in the latest issue of Rock Sound! Head to shop.rocksound.tv to pick up EXCLUSIVE bundles.