NHC MUSIC has a whole new batch of registered bands interviews coming at you over the course of the next few weeks, and we start off with the hugely talented Howling Lords, a Blues Rock duo, relatively new to our ears, but they have been making waves since we heard them, this is an act that ticks all the boxes for us, and if they don't go far, then the world is weird and probably doesn't deserve nice things anyway... Anyway, without further ado, it's The Howling Lords;
Hi there guys, glad to finally get the Howling Lords on the website for a wee chat with NHC MUSIC! Open up the interview then by telling us a wee bit about yourself and the band. How long have you been going, and how did you start it in the first place?
Felix: well we are a simple blues rock two piece who love beer - that is everything about us, we have been going coming up a year roughly, not long but we're quite driven. We started cause I wanted to form a band and had been writing songs due to a recent break up (I know, lame, not the radioactive super hero thing we all hoped for) but I was being encouraged to keep writing by the ex-girlfriend believe it or not, who still supports the band and tries to help when she can.
Jens: We’re basically a couple of music loving bass players who like to party, and who bonded over many a beer. The result was this two-piece blues/rock jam group which folk seemed to get behind. After a year we’ve accomplished a fair bit and things seem to be steamrollering on!
You guys are from Stornoway, does the general isolation from the bigger music venues in the country have an impact on the way you guys go about the band business? Do you try and focus more on the writing aspect, then aim for small tours, or do you tend to travel a lot for gigs? Is there much of a local music scene in Stornoway?
Felix: Yeah kind of. We have to think carefully about what it will do for us when we do gigs, other things; not so much, It goes on a case to case basis. The writing never seems to stop, as long as I am awake I'm writing in one way or another, so it's not a focus now so much as a habit, but I like to do as many shows as possible at once cause it’s more fun and there's more choice, but yeah there is quite a bit of travel. We listen to listen to a lot of music when we do travel! For the other part of your question, you've clearly never been to Stornoway! Hahaha, we have an amazing amount of music going on cause we have a huge amount of musicians that are beyond stunning at what they do- from traditional music to heavy metal, it’s hard not to run in to musicians up here and they have been super supportive of us, which has been so amazing to have as a lot of them are musicians I have so much respect for as well. So in short yes, but there’s not enough places for us to play it feels like lately, but this is generally a UK wide problem though.
Jens: Obviously being up here has an effect on the band. Opportunities are somewhat limited so we take advantage of them whenever we can. So far, we try to get a practice in every week and every practice is a potential writing session when Felix is involved; meaning we’re always being creative and coming up with new ideas to keep the music interesting. In the past year we’ve managed to play a good few gigs here at home but we’ve also traveled to the mainland a few times and hope to continue to do so. A small tour may be in the works but we’re still trying to figure out what might work for us regarding an extended period of travel. Fortunately, there is a great music scene in Stornoway. It’s diverse and there are some super talented musicians from all walks of life. With it being such a small place, there is a sense of community among the musicians and music lovers which is great. We’ve been very lucky in that respect and I’d like to thank everyone for their ongoing support.
Tell us a bit about your musical influences then, what inspired you to create the more bluesy side of things?
Felix: Ummmmmmm no one has time to do that list hahaha! I guess one thing that helped start it was a documentary about Fat Possum Records and just how much their music was their own, and they didn’t care who liked it, but country music and traditional music are always on in the background so it is subconscious. Also the tapes I stole from my mum as kid, a lot of 70’s rock like Thin Lizzy, Free, Queen, and then our own tastes like The Cadillac Three, The Black Keys, John Lee Hooker, The White Stripes, lots of stuff like that.
Jens: That’s a difficult one. Felix writes the riffs and I try and play whatever beat I’ve learned that week… seriously though, probably a lot of White Stripes, Black Keys, Gary Clark Jr and maybe a touch of Led Zep.
What would you say is the best gig you've done, and why?
Felix: Stramash was terrifying as we knew that if we fucked up this gig we were done as band, and we manged to walk on and play like the Devil had been standing in the corner ready to rip us away at any moment!
Jens: Easily Stramash. It’s the biggest local music gig you can play here and they went all out and had a two-day mini festival this year. We were courteously asked to open the show and we jumped at the chance. There were a lot of musicians in the audience which always freaks me out but we were well received and I had a blast!
You guys launched with a load of live videos online, how much did you feel these helped with your progress as a band, do you feel bands need more content online these days to get that little bit further on with their careers? Should it be a regular thing?
Felix: It did, because unlike a live setting people can see every mistake you make so you have more to think about, but it was great cause we knew those songs inside and out then. Sadly yes, more online content leads to more opportunity as what’s online is taken as fact and you have to be super active to keep people engaged with your activates. As a musician I say no, cause it undermines the magic of the live shows when they come but as music fan yes, I want to see new music as soon as I can get it.
Jens: These days, online content is a must in my eyes. It’s how the majority of people engage with music, me included so personally I’d like to see more online content from everybody. I loved doing the live sessions because they were bare bones and raw. Every little mistake is in there which, admittedly isn’t for everyone, but it shows the type of guys we are. They also got us on the radar locally and I think that’s one of the difficult parts of starting out and progressing in a place like this or anywhere id’ imagine.
For a band who aren't based in any of the main music cities of the UK (Glasgow seeming to be one of them these days!) you guys seem to be doing pretty well in terms of decent gig slots and online (and offline) press. Any secrets of the trade you can impart on our younger acts, or is it generally all just hard work on your part?
Felix: In short if you’re not willing to invest in yourself then why would you think anyone else will? it’s a bit harsh but it’s very true, and use your ears too, think big, and if you want to be creative be creative! We have put in a lot of hard work but I don’t notice it, cause it's a lot of fun for me, so it feels easy - going to practice is like my therapy.
Jens: We do work hard and that’s got to be a big part of it. We’ve both been in bands on and off the island for years and I guess you learn that if you’re willing to invest your time and effort that that will pay off eventually. Being part of a supportive musical community definitely helps too though
What's coming up then in 2017? Any big gigs or releases you can chat about now? Any chance we can get you to Glasgow for a gig early in the year?
Felix: Fucking yes! Album should be coming out next year and we are so excited... well I am anyway! It was so amazing to do it, I was in a whole different existence cause I was so i to playing and creating ideas and just having an amazing time that I didn’t want to sleep. I just wanted to be there making music. We will have another two singles out hopefully next year too. I love playing in Glasgow cause I spent a lot of time playing there in the past and I get to hang out with my friends down there, it's always just a messy blast of drinks and music so short answer is a yes - always happy to play in Glasgow!
Jens: We’ve just recently released our first single with a brilliant video to accompany it courtesy of Wee Studio. We have ideas for another two which will be coming very soon. The album will hopefully be out early next year which is super exciting and Yes! We’d love to come back to Glasgow for another jam and ceilidh, always have an awesome time down there!
Cheers to The Howling Lords for the interview, hopefully see you in Glasgow at some point early in 2017. If we can make it happen ourselves, we will!
Check them out on the Facebook link here; https://www.facebook.com/thehowlinglords