An interview with Heart of A Coward @ Download Festival 2019

HEART OF A COWARD / MK / Shot by Rob Blackham /
HEART OF A COWARD / MK / Shot by Rob Blackham /

As the evening sun set on Download 2019 for the final (and first) time this weekend, Rock Sins caught up with bright young things Heart of a Coward, for a sit down chat about new album The Disconnect, gigging, festivals and adjusting to new personnel.

I missed your set unfortunately, but how did it go?

Carl Ayers (guitar): Really good

Steve Haycock (other guitar): Yeah really happy with it actually

This isn’t your first rodeo is it?

SH: No this is our THIRD rodeo! Amazing to be asked back for a third time

Have you played any other stages before (Note – HOAC played on The Avalanche Stage this year)?

CA: The only one we’ve got left to do before we complete Download is the Zippo Stage

You’ve already done the Big Boy Stage?

CA: Yeah we opened it in 2015

SH: I’d love to do it again though!

 New vocalist Kaan Tasan has been in the band a year now – has he settled in now? 

SH: Yeah very well

Have you had good feedback?

SH: Yeah…mixed at first…

People don’t always like change do they?

SH: No they don’t – especially with a vocalist as well and from someone who was held in such high regard as a vocalist, to then have that person changed…there’s always gonna be someone…

There’s always gonna be some bellend…

SH: There is.

CA: It’s one of the reasons we did a single a year ago – we wanted to give people the opportunity to hear our new vocalist to give people a year to get used to it and give them the chance to come out and see us and see that Kaan actually fucking kills it live and now we’ve released the album people are enjoying it as a whole without comparing every single song.

SH: And we look at comments – we’re only human – and the neggy feedback has got less and less

How has The Disconnect been received? Personally, I like it

SH: Yeah the reaction’s been really good, as I said, people have come to accept that Kaan is the vocalist and it feels like it’s doing its own work now.

I want to ask you about the track Return to Dust – is a great length, it isn’t too short to be nothing and it isn’t too long to drag, then it segues in to Suffocate – was that deliberate? Was it a happy accident?

SH: I think it was sort of half and half. We wanted to do a nice ambient tune – we’re into ambient music like Cult of Luna and that really nice post-rock stuff and we just wanted to do something a little bit like that that we could put on our album.

It’s cool coz it stands out from the rest of the album as well – I’ll always remember that track because of that fact

SH: Yeah it was fun, we got a bit experimental for it…

CA: We didn’t really write anything for it

SH: No we kind of had the base of the tune and we just experimented in the studio just adding noises…

How long did it take you?

CA: Was it a day?

SH: Most of a day yeah

That’s pretty good for a day’s work though right?

CA: Not a bad day!

SH: That was one of the songs that wasn’t…. a lot of the songs were in their final form, but that one we were like “let’s take it to the studio, see what happens.” Justin Hill – our producer – threw in so many ideas, we were like “ok cool”.

You worked with him before?

SH: Yes a few times… 

CA: He’s a good friend of ours, he knows how we work and we feel free to experiment with different riffs, different structures and everything

SH: His input’s really good as well, he really throws himself into the process with us

CA: That’s a good point – he knows when we’ve got an idea that we are 100% set on, but he can recognise when we’re a bit unsure and he can throw in his ideas.

So did you actually select him for this record?

SH: Yeah it was more a less a done thing and we’ll more than likely work with him on the next record.

So it’s like MetallicA and Bob Rock now?

SH: Yeah kind of! On a very smaller scale! It’s just easy – we know it works and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…

Did you have a lot of the record already written?

CA: Yeah, there was only a few bits where we weren’t sure, but we had most of the structures, most of the vocals and choruses down, so it was quite regimented when we were in the studio and it worked really well and I’m really pleased with what came out

Who else you seeing today?

SH: Tool. It’s going to be….I hope it’s going to be mindblowing… I’m not gonna put too much in it, in case it’s not….

What would be your dream headliners at a festival?

CA: My biggest inspiration has always been MetallicA, but my DREAM headliner would be early-90’s MetallicA, when they’d just dropped The Black Album. That would be insane.

SH: You’ve sold it to me. 

CA: Like when they did that huge show in Russia with Pantera…

SH: Ooh… can we have bands that aren’t around?

Of course! It’s your DREAM headliner!

SH: MetallicA and Pantera then

It’s only June so there’s 6 months left of 2019 – What’s next for HOAC?

SH: A few festivals – Slovenia, Ukraine… and then in August we’re in Guildford!

Big thanks to the guys in Heart of A Coward for chatting with us. Their new album ‘The Disconnect’ is available now.


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