Interview: Heel

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We managed to grab a chat with the busy bunch in Heel, who found a minute in between festival shows and touring to catch up with us about their new album, their fun live shows, and what the video for latest single ‘Nothing New’ really means…

You guys are right in the middle of touring a bunch of shows at the moment, how’s that going so far?

We love it! They’re coming thick and fast. Just today we confirmed a slot at the Isle of Wight festival and a show in Edinburgh. We’ve had a great response from all the crowds we’ve played to so far and it’s a massive joy to us to see first-hand all the people that are digging the music we make.

Heel are known for being a fun, playful band, how do you make sure your live performances show off that side of you?

We just get up there and play! We make sure we’re tight so we don’t have to think and can just enjoy the show. We are who we are, so if there are no inhibitions, our personality as a band will always shine through.

How do you manage to translate that same level of entertainment into studio recordings?

For us, the studio is whole different experience. There’s really nothing fun about that process as we all get incredibly serious about what we’re doing. We’re very passionate and finding a place for the music to sit that satisfies everyone is an incredibly difficult, but ultimately satisfying, process.  I don’t think we ever used the word entertainment when we were in the studio, I think we see it as a more creative process. If people are entertained by the album that’s amazing, but our only priority in making it was trying to communicate all the feelings we set out when we wrote the songs.

You guys have announced a slot at Camden Rocks Festival this year, how excited are you to be part of such an awesome festival?

We’re utterly blown away to be asked to play Camden Rocks! It’s such an epic mix of acts and the team over there do an amazing job of finding relatively new artists like us and giving them a chance to shine.

Your debut album The Parts We Save was released back in March, how has the reaction from fans been so far?

We couldn’t be happier to be honest. We’ve had so much positive feedback from the night of the album launch up until now. Plus, for a band like us with no management or label, to be getting the kind of national radio and TV exposure is just mind blowing.

What did you want your first full-length album to represent about Heel as a band?

We loved the idea of letting the material be snapshot of exactly who we were and what we were feeling at that time. We intentionally wrote all the songs two weeks before we went into the studio.  We only spent two days jamming them together and then just got in there and let the performances happen. We all believe music is about making someone understand and empathise with some part of us we think needs to be shared.

You’ve recently released latest track ‘Nothing New’ from your debut album, what made you choose to release this particular track as a single?

What we’ve seen in our short time in and around the music industry is lots of bands selling out before they’ve even made it. Making music to fit a scene and to try and tie in to some level of success that surrounds it. ‘Nothing New‘ is about allowing yourself to be who you are as an artist.  No being afraid to risk complete failure and understanding that if we’re not authentic, we serve no purpose.

The video for ‘Nothing New’ sends a pretty strong message about the relationship between image and the music industry. What made you want to play around with this idea in your music video?

The video is obviously very tongue-in-cheek. We showed director Mikee Goodman the lyrics and he thought it’d be fun to use us to tell a narrative about how bands flip-flop around with their image to try and impress whatever trends the industry might be into at any given time.  Also, it was a great excuse for us to dress up like a bunch of twats and prance about!

Does the video represent something that you guys have had personal experience with in the music industry?

Definitely! I’d say one in five people we talk to tell us what’s ‘in’ right now and that’s what we should be doing. If we listened to anyone but us I think we’d have changed our sound and image about 20 times over by now!

Do you think women in music experience more pressure from labels and managers to look and act a certain way? Why?

It’s hard to say, but I feel like every artist has a pressure on them to conform. Even in rock and metal, if you seek the mainstream you’re gonna struggle to get there without first becoming exactly that. But it’s hard in any walk of life to do something different. Labels and managers are amazing at making money, so if they want you to go a certain way it’s for good reason. We make a personal decision to prioritise what we want to say and how we want to say it. If the labels and managers get behind us then great and, if they don’t, we’ll keep doing it anyway!

You can find out more about Heel here.

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