Thursday, 3 March 2011
The Heartbreaks interview
A once great seaside town, Morecambe is now faded, but it isn't hard to see where The Heartbreaks, consisting of Matthew (vocals, guitar), Deaks (bass), Ryan (lead guitar) and Joe (drums), get their inspiration for their music from. During a time of manufactured Disney popstars taking over, The Heartbreaks are coming through as a rapidly rising band, opposing with poetic lyrics and a sound that embraces so many traditional guitar based bands, but brings it up to date with a raw honesty arising from their decaying surrounding, living in "the coastal town that they forgot to close down". We meet at the statue of arguably the town's most famous son, Eric Morecambe.
Since forming in 2009 you've released two singles, when can we expect a third?
Matthew: Oh, soon, very soon. April, in fact.
Deaks: The 4th has been pencilled. It's called 'Jealous, Don't You Know' and it's a better, new version of an existing demo that's around at the moment. It's very good, we're very pleased with it.
You're recording your new album at the moment, how's that going?
M: We're trying to work in, you know, we're recording in different places and trying to find somewhere we're happy with. The b-side to the single is actually one of the tracks we did with Edwyn Collins, and we're really happy working with him. We have time scheduled in with him...
Joe: We're working with him tomorrow, in fact, so at the moment, as Matt said, we're very, very happy with that.
Do you have any idea when it's going to be released?
D: Either June, which might be a bit rushed...?
J: I doubt that.
D: That's something we've been told, but we think it's more likely September - probably early September.
J: But if it's not ready then, it's not going to get released any either way, we're not going to release anything that we're not really proud to put our names to, but yeah, I think September is pencilled.
D: And do we have any working titles?
J: We'll give you a world exclusive...we think we're gonna call it 'Funtimes' by The Heartbreaks. There's an arcade down there called Funtimes and it's a bit of a reaction to being labelled really dour, boring Northerners a lot, so maybe someone in London will get the joke, but I doubt it!
I've read that you're big Orange Juice fans, so what's it like working with Edwyn Collins on your new album?
J: A dream.
D: We keep having to pinch ourselves. [to Joe] Have you got that picture on your phone? Because of all of his guitars around, we found ourselves putting his guitars from the Rip It Up video on, and putting sunglasses on and pretending to be him.
What do you think appeals to people when they hear your music?
J: I think it's honesty, and I think it's, from what I've spoken about with other people, at this moment in time when pop music is quite detached and synthetic, we've got kind of a realness, and honesty is rife to our sound.
D: Our approach to creating music has been missing for quite a while, and I think that's what people are trying to connect with. I think, as well, because this is all that we do, we don't have jobs or anything, and we're not very good at anything else, apart from Matt's really good at Mr Whippy ice creams and stuff...
M: I actually won the best Under 21s pourer in the North West for it, if you can believe that.
D: I think because this is the only thing we do, we've created our own little world. If people like the music it teaches them to get involved in it. There's lots of references to places round here like I pointed out before, like The Kings is in one of our songs, so everyone's more than welcome to jump into our little world and come along with us.
What were you doing before you formed The Heartbreaks?
M: Joseph and I were ice cream men when we left school, for two years, and it seemed like a really good, novelty job for two days, but for two years it was enough.
Ryan: I was a roofer, and I made a few smoothies on the side.
D: I did nothing, plethora of nothing for a long time and I just floated from place to place, from job to job. It was rubbish.
What made you realise that this was what you want to do?
M: I think we all probably had a vague sense of knowing that we wanted to do something different and I think it was when the four of us got together that it was definite. When we're recording together it feels right. We're all in the same tree, all on the same wavelength and we're happiest when we're all together.
D: ...in the tree.
What would you ultimately like to achieve as The Heartbreaks?
D: To be some people's favourite band in 20 years or something.
J: To really, sort of, connect with people, and I don't know, something like...longevity.
D: Not like hero worship or anything, just so people love the songs and it means something to them, and they know all the words and all the reference points and things, and if they're having a bad day, they can put our records on and it can make them feel that little bit better.
What was the worst and best gig you've played?
J: The worst gig was probably last week. Everything blew up!
M: To everyone who was at The Proud Galleries last week, we're sorry.
D: That was just a combination of a bad venue...there was a good audience, but we thought we'd sort of got past that 'teenage band' thing where there's like five bands playing, the sound checks are rushed and you're all getting rushed onto the stage. It just doesn't put you in a good frame of mind to play.
M: The best was probably the Scala with Carl Barat.
R: We played a really good set in Scotland the other day...
D: Yeah, it was just a tiny room with about 30 people or something, but they all came just to hear us play.
J: I still can't get my head round, even though there was only about 30 or 40 people there, it was the fact that they'd come to watch us from further afield. It was just a beautiful thing that there were people who'd bothered to travel from Inverness and wherever, to Glasgow, and it's not like we've been rammed down people's throats, or punched into anyone's ears on the radio or in the press. I think it's really nice that people have discovered us and shown that level of dedication already, it's just really moving.
D: One of the best moments was when this lad from Nottingham, he came to Manchester to The Deaf Institute, and he'd made his own t-shirt with the Liar, My Dear cover on it, and it was like, 'are you serious? Why've you done that?' These are just songs that we'd written in my mum's kitchen and it's come to mean that much a lad from Mansfield that he'll drive however many miles just to see us.
J: It probably means that we should get our arses in gear and make some t-shirts!
Where's your favourite venue to play, and where would you like to play?
J: The Deaf Institute in Manchester, that's cool...
D: We're back there in April.
M: We used to do a lot of gigs in an Irish pub in Morecambe, called Ma Murphy's.
R: We love playing big venues when we get the chance, but my favourite gigs are in little bars, they're the best
J: I've always liked to play at the Apollo in Manchester, and Brixton Academy.
D: Shea Stadium!
Who are your favourite bands at the moment and who were your favourites to come out of 2010?
M: Do you say 'two thousand and ten' or 'twenty ten'?
D: Or either...Best Coast were one of my favourite to come out of 2010, and, I think it came out in 2009 but it was really late on, but The Raveonettes' last record was one of my favourite ones, 'In And Out Of Control".
M: I like Vivian Girls an awful lot.
J: We like a band called The Crookes; they're good pals of ours.
D: They're like a really nice, Southern home county version of us, but just that little bit less stupid.
R: Mabel Love.
J: They're supporting The Arctic Monkeys actually, at the Don Valley Stadium.
D: There's a band I really like as well, from London called Evans The Death. They're a bit like Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, but they're all about 16 or something, and they're incredible.
M: I love PJ Harvey's new song, 'The Words That Maketh Murder', it's just amazing, I can't stop listening to it.
D: Other than that, if it was released after 1984 we probably don't know it...
Where's the best place to get ice cream in Morecambe?
J: Lewis' of Morecambe!
R: What's your favourite ice cream flavour?J: I like Whippy's you know, Whippy's are my favourite kind of ice cream.
D: Pistachio is mine, that's incredible, but why's it green?! They just try and trick you into thinking it's mint.
M: It surprises you...like when you eat a parsnip instead of a roast potato.
D: Or like when you eat a plantain...it doesn't happen very often in Morecambe, but it happened once. I'd never eaten it before and my mind was blown.
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