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Five albums into their career and two things have become clear about Norfolk rockers Deaf Havana; they’re not afraid to evolve their sound and they know damn well how to write a catchy chorus.
The band have just released their fifth studio album Rituals, which became their third record to debut within the top ten on the official UK album chart. The record leans heavily on the concepts of spirituality and religion and includes the singles Sinner and Worship.
After a handful of festival dates over the summer, including a slot at Reading and Leeds, the band are set to play a one-off headline show at O2 Academy Brixton in December, giving their dedicated fanbase the chance to hear some of the tracks live for the first time.
Ahead of the show, we spoke to lead vocalist/guitarist James Veck-Gilodi to find out how he’s feeling about the gig, small venues, tour essentials and more.
What can fans expect from your upcoming O2 Academy Brixton show?
There are about four or five songs that we’ve never played live before, that we always get asked to play, so we’re gonna try and play them. We’re going to give people their money’s worth. It’s the only show we’re going to play in London this year, so we’re going to play for a long time. We’re going to focus a lot on the production, which is something we’re not used to. We normally just get up and play, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.
What does that venue mean to Deaf Havana?
For us, it’s always been a landmark venue and I think I can speak for many bands that it’s a highlight of your career to headline that stage. It’s also one of my favourite venues to go and watch bands too. It’s a big benchmark for our band that we’ve been wanting to do for many years. Playing there is quite an achievement for us because we’re not like a fashionable band. We’ve been working up to this for a long time.
You’re heading out on tour with Nothing But Thieves too this month. What’s an essential item to take on the road with you?
It sounds cliche, but headphones are the most important thing to take with you on tour, just so you can listen to music or a podcast, and retain a sense of normality. That’s the one thing I’d be lost without.
If you could play one show anywhere in the world, where would it be and who else would be on the bill?
Probably Cuba, because it goes with our name and because no one ever plays there. On the bill? It would be quite depressing, but The Smiths, Jeff Buckley and Counting Crows.
You’re definitely a band that has put in the hours and played those tiny grassroots venues, how important were those smaller rooms in honing your craft?
They were essential I think. I still now absolutely love playing small venues. You don’t get the same connection from the crowd as you do when you’re 20 feet away from them. Those venues are where you learn how to be in a band and how things work, or how to handle when things go wrong. Those smaller shows shape what your band becomes.
Two months on from the release of Rituals, how are you feeling about the album?
I think the response was good. People still seem to like us! We’ve never released a record before and not gone on tour straight afterwards, so it’s been weird to sit back away from everything. I’m excited to go out and play songs from it.
Rituals is out now via So Recordings.
Deaf Havana perform their only London headline show of the year this December. Here’s the date for your diary:
7 December 2018 – O2 Academy Brixton, London
Tickets for the show are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.