Will Haven Interview

Hmmm, we’re in Dudley at the moment for the Tura Satana gig. Actually, I’ve just turned up to be greeted by a grinning Andy and Vicky informing me that they’ve, helpfully, given Grady from Will Haven a copy of the latest zine. Which includes a review of their gig with the Deftones in Nottingham. What they didn’t do was to read it first, and realise it wasn’t the most complimentary review ever written. Oh great. Then they drag me over to introduce me. Before I manage to tell them it’s not a good review. He’s reading it, I recognise the page. Super.

But still, he seems to take it fairly well, I mean, I’m typing this, which I guess means I’m still alive, and he actually agrees to an interview in Bradford the following week.

So now we’re in Bradford, and the trip wasn’t as long as it was in the car now was it. So, remembering the agreement, we go to do an interview. Inside Rios. In the “dressing room”. When Psycore are soundchecking. The drummer seems to have found a new toy. It’s something that he hits, and when he hits it, it makes a loud noise, and conducting an interview bloody difficult.

So, there’s the excuse for this one. Just about on time don’t you think? Yeah. And Grady is in a way a bit like me, a bit reserved at first when he’s talking to people. And, for a man giving vent in such a vociferous way onstage, he’s very quietly spoken offstage. So I’m not actually too sure how good this interview is going to come out, cos I haven’t started typing it yet. Maybe it was just his way of getting back for the review. Nah. Just one of those things. Oh well, let’s go.

And if you hear a banging sound during all this, well, it’s that Psycore drummer. Or an indication that you should go and see a doctor.

Right then, the first thing to ask is the boringly obvious, “how’s the tour going, and how does it feel to return so soon after the Deftones tour?”.

Good, it’s good to come back, especially right after. People know more of us I guess, and we did a tour in the States.

Do you feel that there’s any difference towards you from the last time that you were here?

Yeah. I see people singing along now, and it’s in smaller clubs, so that’s kinda nice to.

And you picked a slightly warmer time of year.

Yeah, it’s a bit warmer now.

A question I’ve asked a few bands is a reflection on the differences in attitudes for playing gigs between the States and Europe. The general culture towards music I guess.

Here in England it seems kids are more into going to the shows than back in the States. Into checking out the band. In the US it’s like “yeah, cool show” but the kids just stand there.

Is that just the way people are over there, or is it a reflection of the MTV generation?

Probably a bit of both. I dunno, I mean when I was younger going to the shows, you’d run around, dance around and have fun. Now it seems they stand around. Either way it’s nice to see the kids dance and have fun.

How aware then are you of the crowd when you’re on stage. You seem very intense and as if you’re probably not aware of what’s happening.

I don’t look out too much, but I do every once in a while, and it’s nice to see them going off.

You saw what I wrote before about the Deftones gig you did, and you haven’t killed me anyway. In part my complaint was to do with the vocal style. I wish there was more variation sometimes. Same with Snot. Far are not as extreme as you, but one of the reasons I like them so much is the variation in Jonahs singing. Do you sing how you feel? Any thoughts on that?

Yeah I sing how I feel. I dunno, I haven’t really tried “singing”. Jonah’s got a beautiful voice. Maybe if I could sing like him. I kinda want to try singing a little more on the next album.

It just feels that musically it would all take a big step.

Oh yeah definitely. I might go get some lessons he laughs.

I mentioned Jonah and Far. There seems to be some sort of connection between the bands?

We’re all good friends and have known those guys forever. We used to live together. Before we had a band, I used to go and to the Far shows. Checking them out. And the Deftones.

Right now our drummer friend is starting to hit those drum things. Bang, bang, bang. Shutup.

Do you think there’s a friendship at the moment between some bands that if you like extends beyone the music? You know, the Deftones took out Far, then yourselves.

Yeah well I don’t really know what other bands feel, but for us we’re really good friends and to us the Deftones have been cool.

Ok, I’m not sure, but I get the impression that you’re a straight edge band.

No we’re not he cuts me off.

Ah well, there goes that bunch of questions then. I just thought that straight edge seemed to be getting a bit extreme if the stories are to be believed.

Yeah, it definitely does. I mean, we were all sober for a while, but now we let it slip every once in a while and have fun. But there’s a lot of extreme kids who won’t listen to any music unless it’s straight edge and beat up kids.

That actually does happen?

Yeah. It’s just bullshit though.

I sometimes get, I guess concerned going to some gigs. You know, Mr Metal attending a hardcore gig etc.

Yeah, it’s ridiculous. Straight edge is meant to be something positive y’know. But beating up kids? I wouldn’t want to be a part of that scene.

Would the drummer please shut up now? The bloody things work. That’s why you can hear them making that thud noise. And it’s just about all I can hear.

Right, there was a letter in Kerrang! the other week from someone complaining that Will Haven were getting covered. They reckoned you should be ‘discovered’ and bands like yourself getting coverage like this would only lead to major labels coming out, which would mean you selling out. Any thoughts on that?

I get what hes saying, but I think it’s nice to have people write about you and build you up. I mean we’re on an independant label and they don’t have the money to promote us. Sure Kerrang! gets a little carried away building us up to be like this great new band. We’re just regular guys y’know. We get back home and we go back to work.

You still work?

Yeah, to support ourselves y’know. That’s one thing that blows me off when Kerrang! makes us out to be these rock stars. And all these kids are going to me “I can’t believe you’re out selling shirts. I can’t believe you’re standing right here”. I’m like, ‘well,, I got to take care of business y’know’.

Yeah, that does exist still though, that people believe that once you’re in a band and you have an album out that you are suddenly stars and the money is coming in.

It’s not like that at all. I haven’t seen any money from either the EP or the album. The label only pays for our plane tickets and rent us a van. That’s about it.

Bloody drummers. He’s hitting the things harder now. Look, you do that they make more noise. Simple. And now the bastard has figured out how to hit more than one at once. Drum rolls ensue and we depart the room as we can’t hear a bloody thing. Well, apart from drums that is.

So now we’re stood on the balcony. The first thing I notice is the HWP signing in amongst all the others that adorne the walls. Weird how you pick out certain things sometimes isn’t it. Yes, it is. Anyway, onwards.

On the first EP, there’s a song called ??? Is that about research on animals? And are you totally against it?

Yeah, I think it’s a cruel way to go about it, especially when there’s alternative methods for research.

What do you think the alternatives are?

Well, I’ve read that there are alternatives. Like testing for makeup. They could do that totally differently.

I was thinking more in terms of like medical research. Such as cures for cancer. As far as I know, I may owe my life to it, as when I was born I had a tumour that had to be removed, and the procedure was new then. Who knows, maybe that had been tested on animals and it saved me.

There is no alternative there though. What can you do? But if there is then we should use them y’know.

I saw some program on the TV today, and it was discussing this sort of thing. There were some animal activists who were calling for testing to be done on incurable humans instead.

I dunno how good that would be. There’s a lot of people in jail, you could use them.

That was one of the suggestions.

I’m sure there’s some lifers in there that are kinda wasting space.

Anyway, I don’t know the answer to it. I don’t know what I believe. You can probably argue it both ways. Should we take any drugs at all when ill, at least non-natural drugs. But if we don’t most of us would probably be dead by now. At the end of the day, whenever you take situations such as this, and other emotive issues, there is no real solution. There’s idealism, and then there’s realism.

So let’s head back to a safer subject. That of music, and the talk of a Neurosis influence to the Will Haven style.

They’re one of my favourite bands, so I guess there’d be some influence in there, but there’s nothing deliberate.

At which point the noise builds once more. A combination of this and my total inability on this day to come up with anything remotely interesting to talk about means that we should probably bring things to a close, so the old favourite of “current plans”.

Hopefully recording after the summer. Nice to do that as soon as possible. We want to get another record out and play some new stuff. And we should be doing a tour of the States about a week after we get back with Vision of Disorder.

Any bands to recommend?

Coalesce. (Some others that are rendered inaudible in the din), Tribes of Neurot. Oh yeah, you wrote about that one didn’t you. I dig the noise, I can put it on and just kick back.

And with noise currently defeating us, that’s where we call it a day. Later Will Haven play the most convincing gig that I’ve seenn them do. Maybe it was the crowd reaction in Bradford, I don’t know, but for the first time live, it suddenly seemed to make a lot more sense.

Sorry it was a bit of a crap interview on my behalf. Now, if you’ll just excuse me, I’m off to kill that fucking Psycore drummer! Bastard.