In the latest instalment of our backstage coverage from Takedown Festival 2014 in Southampton, Laura was able to sit down for some time with the twin guitar attack that is Steve Haycock and Carl Ayers of UK metal favourites Heart Of A Coward. Read on for what they had to say for themselves….
Hi this is Laura from Rock Sins and I’m with Steve and Carl from Heart Of A Coward
CARL: How you doing?
I’m good cheers, so you just come off tour with Thy Art Is Murder, what have you been doing since then?
STEVE: We’ve started writing again haven’t we?
CARL: Yeah, we’ve had a bit of time off so we started putting together new ideas for the new album. Obviously it’s quite a way off yet but we wanted to get a bit of a head start this time.
STEVE: Just been doing that really and just getting ready for these shows.
This is the first festival of the year, are you excited for the festival season?
STEVE: Yeah it should be good.
CARL: Yeah we’re going to Europe quite a lot this year so we haven’t really done many European festivals before, so it’ll be nice to do something a bit different and hopefully then we’ll be on some bigger UK festivals as well.
A lot of people have said they don’t like the line up this year compared to last, who are you most looking forward to seeing?
STEVE: You’re always gonna have that though, you can’t always have the same bands. I’m looking forward to seeing Feed The Rhino, I’ve not seem them properly and now we can actually stand around and watch them because we’re not loading in or out, so that’ll be good.
CARL: I wouldn’t mind seeing Rise To Remain as well to be honest, haven’t seem them in a while.
STEVE: Gonna see Funeral For A Friend as well, just to get some nostalgia [laughter]
Yeah I haven’t seen them in a while actually, so nevermind everyone elses, what can we expect from your set tonight?
STEVE: This is probably one of the heaviest sets we can do isn’t it? Heaviest songs.
CARL: We’ve got a mix of Severance and Hope and Hindrance tracks so it’s gonna be heavy, it’s gonna be big
STEVE: Fast paced and energetic to be honest
CARL: I’ve got a new guitar, so.
Ooooh, what is it for all those guitar loving fans out there?
CARL: I’ve got the tele shaped steph carpenter ESP. It’s very nice I cant wait to try it out, I got it yesterday so I’m ready to give it a go.
Awesome! So Severance was dubbed one of the best metal albums of 2013, do you expect it to take off the way it did?
CARL: Fuck no, not as much as that. We were quite nervous because we wrote it quite quickly, we took about 7 months to write it and we had no idea how it was gonna go down and how people would receive it and if people would get what we were going for because its quite different to what we had done before, in the way that we were structuring songs and that kind of thing. But it went down way better than expected
STEVE: Yeah, way better. I mean, we changed it up and it was quite a dramatic change and its quite hard to write an album where you wouldn’t know it was us until you were told.
CARL: It’s been wicked really, hasn’t it? It’s been non stop since we released it, we’ve been really busy.
STEVE: Especially because we just kind of did what felt natural and that came out and the reception was really good.
CARL: It was a completely different writing process, we were nervous to see how it would go down. Honestly we didn’t expect it to go down how it did and the response has just been amazing.
STEVE: More people get what we’re trying to do with it.
It was released through Century Media Records, how was that from originally self releasing?
CARL: Oh, it was a massive difference, Century Media are great to be a part of too, their roster is amazing, the people we working with, to knowing where we wanna take everything, they’ve been really supportive. They’re based in Germany so we met a few of them whilst we were out there with Thy Art and they’re just great people to work with, they did a really good job pushing it really.
STEVE: Stand back and let them do what they do really, you’ve got a massive confidence with it, you can let it grow, you don’t have to panic or anything.
That’s awesome, so you’re heading back out on tour with After The Burial in Russia, what are you most excited about?
STEVE: Seeing After The Burial really [laughter] I’ve never seen them so.
CARL: We’re looking forward to that and we went out there last year and we played slightly smaller venues so going back it’s a little bit bigger.
STEVE: Those small venues are crazy so the bigger ones… [laughter]
CARL: We’re excited to see how it’s gonna go down.
Aren’t you scared about going into Russia in the current political climate?
STEVE: We did have some shows booked in Ukraine, for obvious reasons they got cancelled.
CARL: Yeah, because we were gonna be going into Ukraine on the same run but they cut it down around the borders of Russia.
STEVE: There’s a lot of media scare really. It’s always gonna be blown up bigger than it is.
CARL: It’s quite exciting, it’ll be crazy.
You’ll never come back!
STEVE: It’ll be fine, it’ll be fine [laughter]
It’ll be on the news, “Heart Of A Coward aren’t coming back!”
STEVE: Yeah mug shots and all that all over the news [laughter].
Finally, what is your goal for 2014?
CARL: We wanna push the album as far as we can on this album cycle and play as many festivals as we can. Hopefully get on a bigger support tour. Just have fun with it man. We toured throughout January and February, we haven’t had one show where we’ve been like eurgh, this is boring. Every show has been unbelievable if we can carry it on like that, we’ll be happy and we’re starting to write for the next album.
STEVE: Yeah, so we can get enough of that together so that the start of next year we’ve most of an album sorted.
Yay! Thank you for talking to us!
STEVE: Wicked, no problem
Heart Of A Coward’s current album Severance is out now through Century Media / Siege of Amida Records. You can catch HOAC in the UK at the Impericon Festival in Manchester in April, as well as at Upload Festival in Dundee in May and Redfest in Surrey in July. For a full list of dates head over to the Heart Of A Coward Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/heartofacoward.