After going through a long journey of struggle, UK’s Deaf Havana made a firm decision to continue working towards their dream. Formerly signed on to BMG, the Norfolk based band has recently released their first album All These Countless Nights on January 27th via SO Records. Their 2013 release titled Old Souls would catapult the band into stardom, breaking into the Top 10 of the Albums Chart in the UK and embarking on an arena tour with the chance of opening up for Bruce Springsteen. Behind the scenes, however, the band was dealing with internal financial and communication issues. I had the chance to speak to drummer Tom Ogden about the band’s conflicts, new found inspiration and their future with the release of “All These Countless Nights.”
TSL: Deaf Havana has enjoyed much success overseas in the UK, for our readers in the States, can you tell us more about the band? How did you guys come to be?
Tom Ogden: We all met in college. James and Lee were in a metal band together and their drummer went away to University, so I kind of stepped in and we started playing a few covers, a few out of town shows, then we started playing a lot of shows in London, signed to a small label. Once we started playing shows out of our hometown, one thing lead to another and we eventually ended up where we are now..
TSL: Over the last 12 years of your career, you guys have released a number of albums and EP’s. What specific releases stick out in your mind as landmarks for the band?
Tom: I think Fools and Worthless Liars is the beginning of the band everyone knows as Deaf Havana. We should’ve maybe changed our name at that point because everything we’d done before that album we wanted to leave behind. I think every album we’ve recorded we’ve matured a bit, and All These Countless Nights is the record that captures what we’re capable of the most, so I’d say where we are right now is probably the biggest landmark.
TSL: In 2013, Deaf Havana saw huge success with the release of Old Souls. The album made it into the top 10 of the Album Charts in the UK and led the band to playing festivals, even opening up for Bruce Springsteen! Can you talk about how impactful that experience was for the band?
Tom: Yeah, that moment when we found out we had a top 10 album was amazing, and everything that followed in the UK was great. We headlined a very prestigious venue in London called the Roundhouse, which is a massive milestone for any band. Then we got that Hard Rock Calling slot with Springsteen, big slots on Reading and Leeds festival and loads more. We felt like kings when we were getting those sort of slots, its what we always dreamed about when starting a band.
TSL: I know that Old Souls also marked a change in how Deaf Havana identified, stepping away from the emo genre. What inspired this change?
Tom: Well we kind of listened to a lot of older music, Springsteen, Ryan Adams, The Who etc, so the sound we wanted to go for was inspired by our idols rather than our peers. We listened to a lot of older records, and we loved that organic sounding production and traditional sounding songwriting. We didn’t actually say ‘we’re going to sound like this’ it just happened because thats what we were all enjoying at the time.
TSL: Out of the many struggles you guys have faced, financial and internal communication problems almost pushed you guys to break up. How was it to go through something like that and how did you guys rediscover the motivation in order to continue? Do you have any advice for other bands going through similar issues?
Tom: I think we were all going to treat Reading and Leeds festival as our last show; we had no money, we were falling out and it felt like a chore– so what’s the point? Its hard enough being in a band and going away from home all the time, so if you’re in a band, going away from home and not getting along, it’s pure hell. I think we needed to take a bit of time to decide what we actually wanted to do, and once we all realized that we loved music, and missed each other, the rest was easy. You only really know you love something when its taken away from you, and thats what happened with us. James sent a song over and asked what we thought, we all loved it, and the rest just happened. It was weird because it kind of ‘just happened’, it was like as soon as we became truly passionate about our music, everything else just fell into place. As for advice, I would say just make sure it’s exactly what you want to be doing, and make sure you all want the same thing. If everyone is pulling in different directions it will never work.
TSL: The new drive and motivation have been the emphasis of Deaf Havana’s latest release All These Countless Nights (out 1/27), and you guys have now released three songs off the album; “Sing”, “Cassiopeia” and “Trigger.” Why were these songs the first choice in being singles?
Tom: I think these three song all related to each other, they’re all about toxic relationships, with booze, women and music and I think they really show what this album is about about. We also picked the songs that are quite exciting musically. We wanted people to listen to these songs, enjoy them, and leave them wanting more.
TSL: What do you guys hope listeners take away from All These Countless Nights?
Tom: I hope people relate to the lyrics, because lyrically the songs are very relatable and James has a beautiful ability to tell a story within a song. There are times when we all feel lonely, or drink too much and it’s nice to know that you’re not the only person that feels like that. Musically I find the album interesting to listen to. I love the way every song has a different dynamic to it and how it fluctuates. I just hope people enjoy what we’ve created.
TSL: On your most recent tour, you guys were picked to open up for Jimmy Eat World! What was it like to tour with them?
Tom: Touring with Jimmy Eat World was amazing, we’ve all been massive fan since the age of 15, so it was great. It was nice to do some bigger shows outside of the UK too. I love doing support slots because we get the opportunity to try and win over another bands fan base. 95% of the people would have never heard of Deaf Havana before, so its rewarding when you gain new fans.
TSL: Are you guys planning on doing a headlining tour anytime soon?
Tom: In the UK we start a headline tour on the 17th Feb, then we go out to Europe and hit as many countries as possible. I think we’ll be touring this album quite a lot, because we didn’t really tour the last one properly. The aim is to take this record to as many different countries as possible.
TSL: Where can our readers stay up to date with Deaf Havana tours and releases?
Tom: Our new website has all the information on it, tours, videos, merchandise, tickets, videos, etc. www.deafhavanaofficial.com
We would like to thank Tom Ogden for taking the time to chat with us and make sure you check out their latest music video for their single “Fever” down below: