Backstage With THE HOWLERS
Get behind the scenes with The Howlers this week.
Celebrating the release of their debut EP, The Sum Of Our Fears, we caught up with London’s desert-rockers The Howlers to chat about the thrill of live music, their journey as a band, and musical independence.
What’s a motto you live by?
I’m not a big believer in mottos or mantras, but I was brought up to never give up or give in, there’s a beautiful quote attributed to Alan Turing, but I can’t be certain, and it says ‘Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine’ I think that’s a good place to start, the first time I heard that it struck a chord with me.
Did you come across any surprises, whether pleasant or unpleasant, while working on your new EP The Sum Of Our Fears?
I think what surprised us was how far we had come in about a year as a band, a good friend of ours pointed out that when you think about it we were only a band for 9 months before the pandemic so to achieve what we have completely independent and on our own is a shock when you really think about it, a lot of artists out there you see succeeding in the press and radio have labels and management behind them, we don’t.
Were there any particular events/stories that sparked the inspiration for the EP?
Well, we’ve been through a rough time of late and had more than our fair share of things to deal with, I lost loved ones to COVID-19 then had a stroke, Guus had an emergency operation for appendicitis, the list goes on, but through it all we had each other, the EP is about life. We wanted to give people something they hadn’t heard before, something new and leftfield, and most importantly not political or angry like 99% of music is these days, there’s too much hate, sometimes you need to switch off from that.
What’s been the hardest part of not being able to play live shows?
In a year as a band we played 50+ shows which is crazy no wonder we were so skint, and then that gets whipped away overnight. Music is what we do, it’s everything to us, that feeling of being on stage the nerves, the excitement nothing beats it, not in an egotistical look-at-me way as we couldn’t be less like that, but playing music you wrote with your best friends is special.
What are 5 essentials for musicians in 2021?
Authenticity (There are far too many faux bands out there … especially in post punk politics centric bands, they shout and scream about F*** the government and then go home to mum and dads 5 bedroom townhouse). Be nice, be good at what you do, and be honest with yourself about it. We threw our entire set out at the beginning of the pandemic as we looked in the mirror and decided it wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t the best of what we could do at that time. And last but not least just work hard and be aware of everything.
What’s the biggest way you’ve grown as a band from when you first started?
We aren’t doing the popular thing right now, we are doing something completely of our own so sometimes it’s difficult to see the wood from the trees in a world so focused on one genre particularly in guitar music. I think our relationship has grown the most, we are family, always were but what we’ve been through it’s unbreakable.
What’s something about the band that people may not know about, but should know?
We don’t have management and we don’t have a label behind us, everything we do starts and ends with us, we all come from nothing, brought up to dream for something more and that instills a level of respect and admiration for everyone we work with and everyone who digs what we do, that’s all that matters to us is that it matters to someone out there.
How did you cope with unexpected situations this year?
We wrote this EP, it’s not pandemic centred at all we don’t write about politics or the current news headlines. Nobody ever says ‘God I love the news’ so why would we write about that? It seems counterproductive, but ultimately writing music and being there for one another is all we could do.
If you had to change careers from music, what would you pursue?
You know what, I have no idea, I don’t have a plan b, but if you held a gun to my head something that made me think, I personally love learning, love history and facts and knowledge so something that ticks all that.
What are your hopes and dreams for the next 12 months?
To be honest we don’t ask for much out of life, we do what we love and that’s enough for us, what ever comes with it is a bonus but we are touring at the end of the year which we can’t wait for and we have a few surprises up our sleeves.
And finally, slightly cliché but what does music mean to you?
Simply, it’s our lives, it’s what we know and love and we hope what we do means something to everyone who listens to us.