With the pandemic showing no sign of easing anytime soon, how ever much we all hope it does, new music never stops to be produced and that’s where one of MIMR newest discoveries The Heavy North really shine with their gritty rock sound. I spoke to the band about their EP, pandemic activities and festival highlights.
MIMR: Welcome to MIMR, how best would you describe your sound and what influences greatly shape it?
THN: Thanks for taking for the time to talk to us! The Heavy North’s sound was described as “dirty scuzzed-up dive bar blues” by a gig reviewer after one of our early live shows and that kind of stuck – and that description helped us with a title for our debut vinyl EP.
We’d probably describe ourselves as “garage-blues rock” and although all five members of the band have our own personal influences, some key artists who have helped shape our sound include Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Cream, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix, as well as some modern bands like The Black Keys, Rival Sons and Little Barrie.
There’s also a bit of soul thrown in too like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, especially when it comes to Kenny’s vocals which are a massive part of The Heavy North’s sound.
MIMR: You certainly made 2020 a busy one culminating in the release of the excellent 4 track EP ‘Dive Bar Blues’. How was your 2020 overall and what are your plans for the rest of this year?
THN: Considering the last ‘proper’ gigs we played were in March 2020 supporting Temples and Cut Glass Kings in Liverpool, 2020 has actually worked out quite well for the band and we’ve been able to achieve most of our goals during the year and we finally released our first vinyl EP ‘Dive Bar Blues’ in December 2020.
Like a lot of artists we started doing some lockdown videos and live streams in April/May 2020 which was around the same time we released our “breakthrough” single ‘Lying To Yourself’ which went on to pick up plays on BBC Radio 6 and BBC Introducing. Following the release we received some great opportunities including a live radio session and interview with Janice Long on BBC Radio Wales, as well as the opportunity to play to 11,000 empty seats at the M&S Bank Arena in August 2020 for the Liverpool Digital Music Festival which was an incredible experience.
Looking at the year ahead, we’re continuing to promote our 4-track Dive Bar Blues vinyl EP whilst we record some new tracks which we hope we can share this Spring/Summer 2021. It’s difficult to plan any returns to live music at the moment, so we’re focusing on writing and recording and edging closer to finishing our debut album.
MIMR: Now the lockdown has effected everyone in the industry and it still might be a few months before music venues can reopen, where’s the first place you will go once the green light has been given?
THN: It’s been such a difficult 12 months for the industry and especially for so many independent venues across the UK, so as soon as we’re allowed to we’d like to play a run of dates across the country. We’re yet to play a show outside of the North West really, so we’re desperate to get out there again – especially as we’ve started to build a great following over the past 12 months.
We’ve played some great independent venues since we started in November 2018 – including Manchester’s Night & Day, the Bootleg Social in Blackpool and Phase One in Liverpool – and we just hope there’s plenty of grassroots venues left when live music returns.
MIMR: Away from music how have the band passed the time during the pandemic?
Kenny (Vocals): “Crying. I’ve been practicing looking out of windows and I’ve become a very nosey peeper. The woman over the road squeezes her spots in the front window”
Andy (Bass): I’ve taken up road cycling (much to Kenny’s amusement!) and I’ve also enrolled on an online full stack developer course to get into web development. Time to do something I want to do instead of bouncing from job to job – until we get famous and all live in Cheshire of course!
Jose (Guitar): “PlayStation. A lot of Call of Duty. I’m basically a warzone specialist now!”
Mark (Drums): “Mostly brushing up on my barbering tutorials for when I can pick that up again, and I’ve gotten more into bits of photography and editing here and there for fun. Other than music, just been playing a lot of Xbox and trying to relax.”
Ste (Keys): “I’ve been flying through some box sets. I’d never watched the Sopranos or Game of Thrones until lockdown last year, and I’ve gone down a few rabbit holes recently watching some bizarre documentaries too”
MIMR: So we’re not sure if festival season will go ahead this year with Glastonbury being cancelled again but if you could play any festival which one would it be and what 3 bands would like to play with on the same stage?
THN: It’s not looking too good for festival season again this year, but we’d obviously love the opportunity to play at Glastonbury – who wouldn’t? A few of us have been to Glasto over the years and it’s incredible. There’s also some amazing overseas festivals we’d love the opportunity to play – like Primavera (Barcelona), SXSW (Texas) and Coachella (California).
Its’ difficult to name 3 bands we’d like to play with on the same stage – but they’d need to be a ‘proper’ festival band – something like the Stones or Paul McCartney! We’d love to play with some of our modern influences too – like Rival Sons or The Black Keys.
MIMR: Thanks for chatting to us, wish you all the best for this year, let’s hope you can hit the road and play sooner rather later. How can people follow you on social media?
THN: We’re all over social media, and that’s played such a big part in helping us to build a fan base during the pandemic. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @theheavynorth.
We also have plenty of videos on our YouTube channel where you can also find footage of our set at the M&S Bank Arena last August – which is definitely the closest thing to a gig we’ve done during the pandemic – just search ‘The Heavy North’
Thanks for speaking to us!