Here on The Colour of Vinyl, we tend to title these interviews ‘A Conversation With ___’. But today, as I sit in the upstairs room of the Joiners in Southampton with HECK while they wait for their food to arrive, I really do have a chat with them. We might as well have been at the Winchester putting the world to rights over a few pints (they did offer me a can of beer, but I’m more inclined to a cider…)
The band’s manager told me I could have 15 minutes with the guys, but we got carried away. I sit in this room for 40 minutes, discussing drunken nights out, the new album, single life and killer dance moves…strap in tight for a right old yak with HECK.
Congratulations on releasing a killer album last week, did ‘Instructions’ feel different to previous releases?
Matt- “Instructions is sort of more just the progression of the last few years. We’ve been writing songs with a vision to turn it into an album eventually. It’s not like we went, ‘okay, ten songs, three months. Go.’ It was very much an organic process, and that’s how we ended up with an album that we can actually be really proud of.”
The ‘Good as Dead’ video…I want to know all about it.
Matt- “A very good man called Joe Hall choreographed that, he’s a pro dancer, a semi-finalist from Britain’s Got Talent; a complete nutcase, but an incredible dancer and teacher.”
Who was the best dancer?
Matt- “I was.
Jonny- (sniggers) “let’s say that, yeah…”
Matt- “we were all equally bad. It was a lot of work. We had the idea for it three or four months beforehand but only knew it would actually become a video a few weeks before shooting so we did three weeks of solid dance tuition. It was absolutely fucking terrible and surreal at the same time.
“We would be in the dance studio anytime we weren’t at work. You might see your loved ones at some point, you might even pick up your instrument at some point that month, God forbid. We just spent our time sweating our balls off.”
Have you read the comments section of that video?
I start to read off some hilarious comments, by which point Tom takes over and reads a paragraph from user ‘shadowcat64’.
What was your ‘gateway’ album into the kind of music you love now?
Paul- “mine was actually Enter Shikari’s ‘Take to The Skies’. Cos I used to listen to Red Hot Chilli Peppers and stuff like that and then I was like, ‘I like this, it’s heavy’”
Matt- “my mum’s best friend actually bought me a copy of Ten by Pearl Jam. That actually probably got me more into rock music than I give it credit for. I’m not a huge Pearl Jam fan by any means but that did sort of get me into the motions”
You do a lot of things in the band sort of DIY- you had fans hand out flyers for you before this tour, do you think that’s a batter way to spread the word?
Matt – “I don’t know; I feel like you should do everything in your power to try and make everyone know what you’re getting up to. It sounds silly but the best way to do things is talking to people and then giving them a flyer or whatever rather than just a link on Facebook or whatever.
It’s like when you do the same walk into town everyday, you start to forget your trip when you get to the destination because you’ve seen it so many times. You need to do something against the grain. And what better way than to talk to our -not fans -but, friends.”
You’re playing to a nearly sold out show in London tomorrow…
Jonny- (looking at his phone) “there’s no tickets left now! Only on seetickets and that.”
Matt- “it’s looking like it’s gonna be a sell-out, which is butterflies in the stomach thing. I’m already nervous.
“I’m gutted tour’s gonna be over, too. I was getting calls from work earlier and I looked at my rota and I’m straight back in after London.”
Has anyone got ill or injured on this tour?
Matt – “I got a throat infection on the first night and since haven’t been drinking. (Points to beer) this is my first on tour. I fucked myself over and then had no fun for the rest of tour.”
Tom- “moderation kids!”
Jonny suddenly bursts up with, “Paul, you like drinking in Southampton!”
Tom continues into what can only be described as a shaming session on the poor bassist, which was too funny to transcribe.
Listen to ‘Drunken Storytime with Heck’ below:
Dream dinner party…who’s invited?
Matt – “Mark Lanegan…he’d just add to the bass of the conversation quite well. Barbershop with Mark Lanegan is actually my autobiography, it’ll be on Penguin and it’ll be a classic, available on kindle too, yeah. (looks to me) Can we go out kindle shopping together? I really want one. That’d be great.
Only if we get cases for the kindles…
Matt – “Like a classic brown leather case, ooh. Anyway… (to the rest of the band) who’s coming to dinner guys?”
Tom – “Mark Lanegan, Stephen Fry…and Phil Jupitus”
Matt- “I’d quite like David Mitchell to be there, he’d be fucking great.”
Tom – “Matt Berry…. fuckin’ Chris Morris too, yeah!”
Matt – “we’d eat Justin Bieber’s testicles.”
In five years’ time…what’s going on with Heck?
Matt – “Jonny’s dead. We made it look like he killed himself but it was us. Pat Smear did it. Pat Smear the puppet master.
I’ve had too much to eat.
Tom teaches kids how to read in a centre that he founded himself out of his own pocket.
Paul is a devout father of ten…in five years.”
Matt how did you go from doing an English degree to being in a band like Heck?
Matt – ““I just sort of found what I wanted to do. Being in a band kind of nearly ruined my entire education. Between that and girls…”
Yeah we’re the worst…sorry about that
Matt – “you’re all just too fascinating. Just too much going on. Men are a bit too simplistic, a little too straight forward. Men are like a light switch and girls are like a thermostat. Cos I have no idea how to make a thermostat work.
Your shows are pretty mental…how do you prepare for them?
Matt – “no they’re not! (laughs) nah, I think the best thing to do before any show is try and not think about what’s gonna happen during the show. Because if you do, it’s not natural and it doesn’t make for a good musical, emotional, fun watching experience. Our shows work best when they’re at their most fluid and their most unpredictable.
If it was premeditated I don’t think I’d be able to go on because it’d be too nerve-racking. You start thinking about who’s gonna break their wrists or their back (points to me (I had told the band horror stories of my many injuries beforehand)
What’s the best show you’ve ever been to?
Matt – “Radiohead. I’ve seen loads of amazing, close up gigs and stuff, but that was amazing. It could move you no matter where you were stood in that field. It was…woaahh. Thom Yorke’s madness is just…electric.”
What’s something about Heck no one will know?
Jonny – “we were in a wedding band”
Matt – “yeah that’s something no one will know. It was all the same members but we were called Butcher the Cassidys. We did that to make spare cash in-between tour and we played 50s and 60s rock n roll and Motown. I wish I had the range to do Robbie Williams, mind. He’s my ultimate karaoke crush.”
Any cool bands people should be aware of that you’re digging?
Matt- “Let’s Talk Daggers, obviously Raketkanon and Allusondrugs.”
What’s going on for Heck now then? I expect another album in the next six months.
Matt – “oh that’s what we’re gonna do. The next one will show up anytime…you don’t know! There’s already a lot of ideas… “
– Dev Place (@SquadUp_)