Releases in the early days consisted of a string of independent, bedroom-produced EPs but from 2008, the band moved from totally independent to joining the roster on indie label Wolf At Your Door, and then in 2011 they upped the ante again, signing to BMG. 2011’s Fools & Worthless Liars (which due to the timing of the Australian release will be 2012’s Fools & Worthless Liars) garnered them critical and commercial success and cemented their place in the alt-rock/post-hardcore scene. Further boxes were ticked when they supported You Me At Six, Architects and Skindred and appeared at the UK Slam Dunk festivals.
They’re embarking on album number three (which Veck-Gilodi sometimes refers to as ‘album number two’) and are embracing the pros and cons of a big-label directed album. Veck-Gilodi is getting ready for his first day in the studio when we chat. “Well for a start it’s not just us arguing with each other, pretending that we know best – there’s someone there with a level head to tell us, ‘That’s a terrible idea; don’t do it,’” Veck-Gilodi says of the difference between this album and previous recordings. “The end product is definitely better; it’s easier for us, and it’s great to have someone to back me up and say my idea is better than someone else’s, you know what I mean?”
Ah, but what happens when that ‘someone’ doesn’t agree with him? “I try and ignore that when it happens,” he says, laughing. “The last album was kind of weird because it was only myself and Tom [Ogden] the drummer that play on the album; the other two don’t play on it at all. They helped write some of it but they didn’t play anything. I don’t really know why actually. Nothing really changed with that one but with this one, we’re going to be doing everything together live and we’ll just let things evolve naturally. We’ve got a few other people working with us and it’ll be nice to play songs for them and maybe change things up a bit.”
Veck-Gilodi likes to pour every part of himself into the music he writes. His songs are not merely fictional narratives and when an artist is so emotionally connected to their work, any suggestions can be taken as a personal attack. “Criticism really affects me,” he admits. “I don’t mind taking criticism if I don’t care about the song too much but if it’s one that’s really personal to me, I think I let that get in the way of my judgement a fair bit. Being emotionally connected to music is the reason why I write a song; I don’t really understand how people can write a song that isn’t about something that has affected them. For me, if someone tells me that I should make a change to a song that means a lot to me, I have this pattern where for a day I flatly refuse to consider any changes. Then I settle down a bit and if it’s a good idea then I usually do come around to it.”
He laughs at his own folly and realises that although he always wants to serve the song first and foremost, he knows his emotional routine. Fools & Worthless Liars did extremely well in the UK and time will tell how Australia embraces the album. Veck-Gilodi admits that by the time an album is released he’s often pretty sick of the music but he’s also excited by the fact Fools… has only just been released here. “When you go into the studio, you’ve had the songs for like a year or something and when people hear the album, it’s a new song for them but for us we’re sick of it before it’s even released,” he says. “It does suck a bit but you have to be happy that people like it. In a way it’s kinda cool that Fools… is only just being released down there because for the audience it’s so new that it freshens the songs up for us, because we approach them in a different way.”
Starting out as a high school/college band can be rife with partying and fraught with unachievable dreams. Deaf Havana are reaching even headier heights and with that comes even more expectation. Veck-Gilodi isn’t letting that get them down though. “BMG are extremely lenient and pretty much let us do what we want which is great. But yeah, success takes away a bit of the fun out of being in a band because you actually have to be good,” he says, laughing. “You can’t just mess about and have fun; you have to impress an audience. We do get more out of it in a different way now, though. But the pressure generally comes from yourself and you have to consider each record before you release it. If I made a record that I didn’t think was better than the last one then I wouldn’t release it, you know? So even if each album doesn’t get more acclaim than the last one, I know that it’s better music and that keeps me happy.”
BY KRISSI WEISS