I met up with Tom and Lee from Deaf Havana before their birmingham show, and this is what they had to say...
your album “Fools and Worthless Liars” late last year, how has it gone
down with the fans and press?
Surprisingly well. We were worried that people wouldn’t like us anymore but it
seems like everyone that liked us before still does.
The only problem was that we had to adapt to just James singing but it just
seemed to work and the fans liked it
themes and stories do you cover within the album?
It’s basically about our singer James and what he went through. It wasn’t a
tough time but he was like “why am I doing this”. He was living in London and I
think struggling a bit with being a frontman and having lots of pressure on
are currently starting a massive UK and European tour with The Swellers, what
can people who have never seen you before expect from your live shows?
It’s a lot more chilled. We are playing some rock songs obviously there’s some acoustic
ones in there and one on the banjo.
We’re mixing it up a bit and trying to do something a bit different.
We kind of went with the idea of what would we want to see from a gig. It’s
basically a few types of music mixed into one.
are getting bigger and bigger, with your singles being played on Radio 1 and
with sell out dates on this tour, is it a little daunting or you taking it in
tour was a bit of a shocker (laughter). The first show sold out in like a week
and then the rest started to go and now they’re all pretty much gone. I mean we’ve
been upgraded twice.
It’s overwhelming really.
are playing a few festivals this summer, with Hit The Deck this weekend, Banquets
Big Day out, Hevy Festival and most importantly you’re playing the main stage
at Leeds and Reading, how do you feel about playing these shows?
Reading and Leeds was the one (Laughter). When you’re a kid you always want to
It’s nice to see that we’re playing higher and higher on the stages. We’re use
to playing on smaller stages or opening to it’s nice to see that we’re getting
recently played the Station Sessions, at St Pancras Station in London, how did
this come about and how was it playing this intimate show?
I think our manager sorted it out for us.
It was good because is gave us a chance to do something that we don’t normally
do. It was more like a lounge session than a gig but it was really good, we
It was nice to play to people who were just walking by, to catch their ears and
see them stop and listen to our music.
We’d like to do a tour of smaller venues with brushes and acoustic guitars but
if that will happen or not I don’t know.
You seem to be constantly on the
road, is it hard being away from home all the time?
Tom: Yeah it is. We haven’t been
that busy up until today but now we’re on the road for a full month. We
definitely get home sick.
Lee: Trouble is when you’re on
the road you miss home and when you’re at home you miss the road so you can’t
win either way.
What would you say your biggest
high and low points as a band have been so far?
Tom: The high point for me was
the whole Reading thing, I was like “wow” (laughter). It’ll be even better when
we actually play there but we’ll probably be cacking ourselves (laughter).
Lee: When Ryan left and James
wasn’t entirely happy with everything and we were wondering if we should just
jack everything in; that was pretty low.
Tom: But then we wrote this album
and thought it was wicked. The whole transition period was really hard but it’s
made us what we are now.
your opinion on the whole anti-piracy laws going on at the moment and how it
will affect the music industry?
don’t mind people illegally downloading but if they like it then they should
buy it rather than just downloading it and keeping it. We put a lot of effort
into this and it’s really hard to put in this effort for someone just to go
along and not buy it even if they do like it. I understand that you need to
hear it first but if you do like it then you should buy it.
do you hope to see Deaf Havana in a year’s time?
Headlining Reading (Laughter)
don’t know, I guess we’ll just take it as it comes
We didn’t expect to be here this time last year so who knows. We could be doing
the big room or we could be doing nothing.
last random question that we ask every band, if you could be an animal out of a
zebra or Giraffe which one would you be and why?
I think I look a bit like a giraffe anyway (Laughter)
I’d probably say a giraffe because you’re less likely to be eaten
for your time is there a message for your fans reading this?
Thanks a lot; we wouldn’t be here without you.
Well it's Friday in Birmingham and for most that means the start of a
busy weekend full of drinking, and the streets outside of the venue definitely
show the over excess already. But tonight I'm in for something different I'm in
for a night of acoustic music by two artists who are normally known for rocking
out and bringing the noise. I'm not sure what to expect but when I arrive at
the venue, I find that instead of it being both on the stage at the same time
mixing up the songs, but they're doing individual solo slots.
Neil Starr is first up to entertain this room of about 40 people. He
starts off as he means to go on with nice slow acoustic numbers about things
that have changed his life whether it be girls and love, being on the road or
more girls. The first song he plays is so soft and so quiet you can hear a pin
drop, I've never been to a gig with a room as quiet as this, I know there
playing in the HMV library but it really does has a feeling that if you talk,
someone will shush you. He mixes up the set with some Attack! Attack! and Dopamine
songs as well as his own from the album that goes with this tour Echoes and Ghosts
which is split half Neil and half Gavin. There's not allot I can comment on
other than it sounds lovely, it's one man and a guitar so it's easy to tune and
get levels correct so it sounds as good as it would on cd. One thing that Neil
does well is engaging the audience between songs as he tells us how Gavin said
“let’s write a dark album and then he goes and makes a song about sunshine and
rainbows, which is just typical of him, fuck the blackout” this is obviously
said sarcastically for laughs.He also
tells how he and Gavin are like an old married couple, touring the country
together and drinking in gay bars. He brings the set to a close by doing a cover
of End Of The Road by Boys To Men. Which gets the entire crowd joining in; even
Gavin joins him on stage unannounced which makes him burst out in laughter.
Gavin Butler does pretty much what Neil did; play nice slow acoustic
songs that sound great live. This just shows how good of a singer Gavin is, as
sometimes he's left in the shadows by Shaun Smith in The Blackout but here he
shines. He does his songs off the Ghosts and Echo’s album along with some
covers including Oasis song and theme for the royal family, Half The World
Away, The Blackout’s Save Our Selves (The Warning), which is hauntingly
beautiful and a version you’re not going to hear anywhere else, all the crowd
sings along too making it something wonderful and massive due to the quietness and
closeness of the whole evening.
Unfortunately he doesn't do as well as Neil keeping the crowd
entertained between songs as he tunes his guitar, but he tries by adding to the
gay club story, telling us all how Neil met a nice woman with a massive adams
apple then changes the words to one of his songs to tranny to poke fun at Neil
which makes the crowd laugh. Neil joins him at the end of the set for a
dopamine cover which is normally the end of the show but the People Poet joins
them on stage for a great cover of Foo Fighters My Hero which ends the night in
To be fair this tour was never going to sell out massive clubs, it's
about two guys doing something different, something they enjoy as a bit of fun
on the side, and although the songs are slow and not really something you'd want
to listen to in public, it's worth a watch as the two guys have so much
character and talent it really makes up for the plainness of the affair. So go
and watch them and if not go out and buy their album and have a listen and
chill out after a hard Friday night of partying.