Interview: Deaf Havana “I just started trying to write the songs that I wanted to hear. “

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Back in January this year, Deaf Havana dropped the news we’ve all been hoping for; a hugely anticipated return to music. With a fresh new look and the release of “The Present Is A Foreign Land”, we caught up with one of our favourite bands just before their UK tour kicks off.

Deaf Havana is now in a very different place to when Rituals was released in 2018 – taking global events into consideration, if the pandemic hadn’t happened do you think the band would be where it is now?

I don’t think the band would be in the same position we are currently – shortly before the pandemic I was certain that the band was finished and I wouldn’t be making music again in that sort of capacity. It definitely provided some distance from everything we’d been doing which certainly helped us re-evaluate what it is that’s important to us. 

It’s quite a daunting thing to return to music after a while, let alone as a duo – what was the main thing that gave you the confidence to do it? 

It was purely the quality of the songs we were writing. Everything that we started putting down was just working and allowing us to explore different areas of musicality and as people who have got a little older since the last time we made a record we definitely had slightly more confidence in ourselves and the music we were making. 

Did you have any outside influences when bringing this album together?

Not massively – most of the songs I wrote for the record came from a period of having really fallen out of love with music. Everything was making me feel jaded and dispirited and then I just started trying to write the songs that I wanted to hear. Sounds silly and simple but I found that really important during the process of making The Present is a Foreign Land. 

How did you come to the decision to continue as Deaf havana and not come back with a new image or name?

We did consider completely leaving the name behind and starting something different but as we really got into making music we could feel that at the heart of each song was something that felt authentically like Deaf Havana. 

‘Nevermind’ is a track that really pulls every emotion out of you while listening, for such a stripped back song, what do you think makes it still sound so massive? 

For quite an intimate song it still has a quite an earworm of a chorus which definitely makes it feel like a “big” song – but there’s loads of interesting layers in the recording which definitely helps build it all up. We’ve got a real string section in there and a few other bits that our producer Mike Horner has brought all together to make something that I think sounds really special.   

This release still has that stunning and nostalgic Deaf Havana sound we love, but with a fresh lease of life injected into it, what pulled that in? 

I guess the pure style of songwriting we have is still there – we might use different instrumental textures or genre sounds but you could strip most of them back to a voice and a guitar and it’d still feel like Deaf Havana. 

From the album, Which track from the album has the soft spot as your favourite? 

It has to be track 7 “Someone/Somewhere”. It’s probably the most “out there” song on the record in terms of genre in that it’s basically a lofi dance song with deeply personal lyrics and when that has all come together it does something really special.

With writing about such personal and often hard subjects, is there a process you have to help not fall back into a dark spot? 

I find that it often helps to process those feelings and subjects rather than bringing them back up in a way that can have a negative impact.

Finally, and most importantly, what are you looking forward to most with your November tour? 

Just getting out and playing in cities we haven’t been to for a long time! We’re very excited to share our set and have a great time.

Deaf Havana kick off their headline tour in Cardiff on the 8th November with dates in Nottingham, Manchester, London, and Glasgow!

8-Nov-22 Cardiff Tramshed
10-Nov-22 Nottingham Rock City
11-Nov-22 Manchester Academy
12-Nov-22 London Roundhouse
14-Nov-22 Glasgow SWG3

To get us even more excited for the upcoming live shows, Deaf Havana have also today released a handful of alternative tracks to dive into and get you excited for tour! Check them out across all streaming platforms below!

Going Clear (Alternative Version)

Kids (Alternative Version)

On The Wire (Alternative Version)

Someone/Somewhere (Alternative Version)

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