The once pop-punk outfit have been persistently progressing their sound ever since dropping Meet Me Halfway, At Least, their debut album, in 2009. After adding an indie-folk edge to their music in the wonderful Fools and Worthless Liars two years later, the group came back with the organic awe of Old Souls in September, a magnificent mix of musical purity that features nods to the rock, indie, blues, folk and even jazz genres by the end of the twelve song tracklist.
With a bold movement made to a reel packed with untested material, some may have expected a subsequent jumble of half-hearted, ungenre specific songs to make up the bulk of the band’s latest release, yet this ignorant statement could not be further from the truth. Old Souls is rather a brilliant blend of styles connected with the signaturely autobiographical lyrics of the group and irresistibly organic nature of their matured production.
For James Veck-Gilodi, the front man of what is now of the biggest bands on the British rock scene, the recently released album is the result of a sound evolution goal set long ago.
“It was a sound that we’ve always wanted to go for,” he said. “I guess after ‘Meet Me Halfway, At Least’ we couldn’t just change our sound that much, so it has been a progression. Saying that though, it’s all pretty natural. It’s not as though we sat down and said ‘I want this album to sound exactly like this’, it just naturally happened.
“When me and my brother [Matt Veck-Gilodi, rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist] were writing it we were coming up with all these different sounding songs, but we didn’t exactly say ‘that song doesn’t fit in let’s not use it’, we just put it in anyway. It is kind of an experiment but I think it worked.
“The reception has been ridiculous – I never expected it to be as good as it has been. I was pretty worried about how it would be received because it is quite different but the response has been amazing.”
A defining factor of the Deaf Havana experience is the anti-autotune attitude that has established the band as one of the most musically pure, natural artists currently on the scene. Veck-Gilodi was keen to emphasise that this, along with the deeply personal nature of his lyrics, is indeed among the most important components that goes into any new work from the group.
“I think there’s too many bands around that are doing it for the wrong reasons and too much music around that is just awful,” continued the vocalist. “We’re trying to be as honest and natural as we possibly can and hopefully people will take notice of that.”
“[The autobiographical style] is just naturally how I write songs, but also I like people to be able to understand exactly what the song is about without having to look into too much. I always like to keep it quite literal and plain... well not plain, but you know what I mean! It’s just the natural way for me to write lyrics though – a lot of bands that I listened to and admire have the same kind of style.
“This time around me and brother wrote the songs in my house and just start off with an acoustic guitar, and then we’d do a really crap demo of it on his laptop. After that’d we’d send it off and when we went into the studio to actually record it everybody would put their own spin on it and turn it into the actual song. It’s pretty simple, natural writing.”
With a new album comes the announcement of the biggest British headline tour to date for the group who have gone from promising potentials to proven critical hits in recent years. After supporting Bruce Springsteen and Muse in the past few months the band will certainly not be rusty for their live stage return, and Veck-Gilodi admits he is relishing the prospect of getting back on the road.
He continued: “[Springsteen and Muse] were both ridiculous. It was pretty weird because we’re not used to playing to such huge crowds like that, so it was pretty scary. It was awesome though too, because the people there weren’t fans of our band so we had to win them over and it was a challenge but really enjoyable.”
“I can’t wait to get going on the tour. We’ve had the new songs for quite a while so to be able to play them live will be so good. We haven’t really done a tour in ages so it’ll be nice to get back out and play. We can’t wait.”
As published originally at: www.brignewspaper.com