In The Middle with Howl

Your sound is a lot different to the indie/rock bands around at the minute – what do you think makes your sound so unique? 

Being from Bradford [laughs]. I don’t know if it gives us that bit of grit that a lot of other bands don’t really have. I think a lot of it has to do with our performance as well. We try really hard to give everything we’ve got to our performances. We practise constantly – we live in the same house, so we’re around each other all the time, and we just work hard.

What’s your songwriting process?  

We all write together. Someone will come in with an idea, then we’ll all just jam our own parts down. When it’s all done I’ll be singing gibberish over it, then me and Alex will spend quite a few days actually writing lyrics. He comes in quite poetic and serious, and then I’ll be a bit dafter – and I think that’s what makes it work lyrically, because we just meet in the middle.

Which artists would you say have influenced your sound? 

I think we all grew up listening to different styles of music, and I think our parents were the biggest influences on us. I grew up on a lot of Motown, and then Alex and Lewis grew up on a lot of punk, like Siouxsie and the Banshees and Pixies, and then Billy grew up on Bowie, T. Rex, The Beatles, Joe grew up on The Beatles too – but I had a lot of Carole King and Bob Dylan.

Has there ever been a moment since the band formed that made you think “we’re actually pretty good at this”? 

Maybe ‘Blue’ being featured on FIFA. I think when we got a call from our managers, we didn’t think anything of it. I know that sounds really daft because it’s such a big deal, but I think in the music industry it seems a lot of people make promises and it just falls through. So when EA said they were interested in ‘Blue’, we were kinda like “yeah, that’s incredible, we’re alright at it”.

The last time you played at Live at Leeds you were at the Nation of Shopkeepers, how was that for a venue? Where would you prefer to play this year? 

Lovely. I’ve been going there since a little boy – I love that place, it’s a great venue. I love a lot of the venues in Leeds, but Nation of Shopkeepers is a cool place. I think we were the first band on back then – we might be this year! We’d love to play the O2 – or Stylus, Stylus is a great place.

Since the last time you played at the festival, you’ve gained a much bigger following – are you expecting an even bigger turnout this year?

I’d have fucking hoped so [laughs]. Two years later still have the same crowd, just playing to our parents like “oh, fantastic!”. No, I’d really hope so, I think a lot has changed since two years ago for us. I think we’ve got better – yeah, we have got better.

When you’ve finished your set, will you go and watch other artists?

Yeah, we definitely will go and see them. I think our problem is, and I’m speaking for myself here, I don’t really listen to that much new music as much as I probably should do. I think it just doesn’t really do much for me. There’s very few new bands that emotionally move us I think, but we definitely will go and check out other bands and see what’s happening. I’d love to go and see Slaves live, and check out Wild Beasts. Oh, and Jagwar Ma, we’ll definitely go and check them out. We’ve seen them before in Leeds and they were really good.

What else has 2017 got in store for you? 

We’re touring with Spring King and Kaiser Chiefs in February. I think we’ll be doing our own tour as well, and I think we’re playing in Amsterdam at a festival called Waterpop in August.

Emily Moscrop

(Image: Sonic PR)

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