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HERIOT’s Debbie Gough: “It’s More Of A Feeling That We Are Trying To Express Than Anything Else”

Jack Rogers
Jack Rogers 23 May 2022 at 17.42

"There is so much to explore, and that is so exciting."

are one of the most exhilarating and exciting bands to come out of the UK underground in the last 18 months. 

And there is a very good reason for that. 

Uncompromising, unrelenting and brimming with unbridled discomfort and desolation, they are on a path of destruction like no other, with every move feeling like a proper statement of intent. And this is only the beginning. 

With the recent release of their debut EP 'Profound Morality', we chatted with guitarist Debbie Gough and bassist Jake Packer to find out how they have made it to this point and what they hope the future holds...

How does it feel to be at the place where you are right now, what with the journey you have been on for the past year and a half?
Jake: "As bad and weird as the lockdown was for everybody, we really tried to take advantage of that back in 2020. We tried to be a bit more methodical about how we did stuff, so we launched ourselves with the singles. That gave us time to find the sound we wanted to go for, which I think we found on the EP. Then that became the foundation for anything and everything that we were going to be working on going forwards. Having that in place has been really good for continuing to write and continuing to adapt our sound. We’re just going to keep on messing around with that, because we have the pieces in place now."

When you realised how much space and time and had to develop that and work on all of the little bits and pieces, you start to realise just how easy and rewarding it is to keep using it to expand…
Debbie: "I think having that space really gave us the time to think about exactly what we wanted to achieve. Before that, we were just playing and writing, but with more focus on playing shows. To have the time to sit back and really look at what we were making and what we were actually enjoying about it. We will probably never have time like that again, so it was so beneficial to have been able to use it as we did."

Jake: "No band ever has what we had there. It’s always a balancing act of getting stuff done behind the scenes whilst also trying to grow on the stage. I also think that we have been more active now because of it, making things happen quicker because of the ethics we put in place. We realise now how important it is to keep everything going."

And then you have to consider the things that were affecting you in terms of the world and what was going on in it. And as you develop the sound of HERIOT, you’re also developing the lyrical and sentimental approach as well…
Jake: "Absolutely, and as the singles have progressed, you can see that we have focused on dealing with the situations rather than the situations themselves. ‘Profound Morality’ is more centred on people’s morals and the more human element of things than the industry and the government. A lot has happened in the two years we have been doing this, and there’s a lot of stuff around us. It definitely affects how we write."

Debbie: "Me and Jake write together, and a lot of the time, we have this subliminal way of making things feel not as obvious. We try not to be stating the obvious and leave them open to whatever people need them to be. It’s more of a feeling that we are trying to express than anything else."

Jake: "It’s a collective feeling of how we view life and how we live it. The things that we write about."

And in creating that feeling, you can’t be going 100mph all the time. There needs to be space to breathe and consider, and it feels like those are the elements you have been trying to work on more recently…
Jake: "Absolutely, and it is something we have been considering a lot more. ‘Profound Morality’ was set inside of its own sound and own universe, so you can come into listening to us as a band and feel the things that we are saying in the way that we feel them as well as reflect on the way that you are hearing them as well. The heavy parts speak for themselves, but what you get from the ambience really helps define that heaviness."

And how has it been being out on the road and playing to varied crowds and them understanding what you are about in different ways?
Debbie: "There have been a lot of moments recently where none of it feels real. I’m always looking at the crowd and thinking, ‘How are we doing this?’ We’ve all played in bands for years before this, but this feels like something completely different. The fact that so many people care and are taking notice in different ways, but it’s not your No.01 aim for being in a band. But it is so nice having that support, and we feel so lucky to now be able to go and do things that we had only ever joked about being able to do."

Jake: "I’ve found that the shows in the last six months have felt different from those before, and that’s just because of the people who have come to see us. That makes us want to keep on doing what we are doing to keep that happening. Because it’s not just you now who are obsessing over these things, you want to make sure that everything you do has the same level of love and care to make it as good as it needs to be."

Debbie: "As a band, we are all such thinkers. We’re always thinking about what to do all the bloody time. That’s what pushes us to find so many different avenues and take different routes. There is so much to explore, and that is so exciting."

What do you feel as though this band has provided you that you weren’t expecting?
Debbie: "Before this, I had never done vocals before. I have always played the guitar, but it was a big jump to use my voice as well. The guys have all really supported me with it, and the same with singing clean. I feel like we are trying to hype each other up as possible, which is really lovely."

Jake: "We’re all trying to build up each other’s strengths in how we see them. That makes us stronger when it comes to writing, as we are all thinking on the same level. We’ve been building to the place where we feel comfortable with what we can do and how we can do it together, and that’s only going to get better as we carry on."

Debbie: "I feel like we feel a bit safer now to experiment, and we are more confident and proud of what HERIOT is."

And what does this band mean to you, and what does it mean to have it in your life?
Debbie: "It means so much to us. It’s the only thing I’ve ever cared about and the only thing that I will ever care about, I feel. I could go on for hours about how soppy I am about this band. But I’m so grateful to have it in my life and to have the opportunity to do what we are doing with it."

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