Inheaven - Interview
If you read the review of Inheaven's gig at Soup Kitchen recently, you'll know it didn't quite go to plan. This interview features a healthy dose of chaos too, in the form of a rogue fire alarm.
But fear not, Scarlett Pares Landells struggled on in the face of adversity, chatting to Inheaven's James, Chloe, Joe and Jake about colour, sound and plans for the future.
The band have found themselves among an elite group of the 'up-and-coming', championed by the tastemakers in the business, touring with every new band that's worth getting excited about this year and signed by The Strokes's Julian Casablancas to his label, Cult Records. They've really hit the jackpot.
What they've got to offer is the kind of sound that fans of glorious, sparkly yet coolly introverted grungey pop have been starved of for years. It's a concoction of The Pixies, Stone Roses and The Cure. It's straight out of 1989, recalling the golden age of adolescence and whisking us away to daydream locations that are pleasantly familiar. It's about time we re-introduced Inheaven's brand of 'dreampunk' to the airwaves. 2016 is ready for it.
What's also striking about Inheaven is their awareness of how important their visual representation is in the current music industry climate. Across their social media platforms and running through their videos is a very clearly branded image that, rather than being contrived or appearing grossly "PR'd", is quite beautifully transparent. The consistent image makes them memorable and keeps us tuned in. It's a recipe for success or shall we say, a stairway to heaven.
How was it being on DIY’s Neu Tour with guys like The Big Moon [ace fellow London band who have recently supported The Maccabees]?
Chloe: It was great. It was our first experience of playing gigs with other bands. We definitely learnt a lot from them and they’re great girls. It was nice to be around them for a couple of weeks. It was awesome.
What has changed for you guys since those tours? You were recording in December am I right?
James: Yeah we recorded our album with Tom Dalgety [world-class producer whose other projects include Royal Blood and Dinosaur Pile-Up] so we were in Rockfield in Wales for a few weeks. That’s finished now and we’ve just got dates, playing a lot of shows, releasing singles and B-sides and videos and just more of the same really. But a lot more touring I think.
Have you got a name for the album yet? Or is that a contentious issue at the moment?
James: No…not really…
Chloe: We’ve just finished recording it so there’s a few options I guess.
You’ve had support from the likes of DIY magazine, Phil Taggart on Radio 1, Cult Records etc… what’s it been like having those kind of supporters?
James: It’s been amazing. It was kind of off the bat because we weren’t really expecting it either, we just slipped out a video online and suddenly it got all this attention. It did throw us off but it was great. Everything started rolling from there really. Cult Records was a real dream come true.
Have you been over to America for any touring?
James: No nothing yet.
Chloe: We hope to go this year.
James: Yeah we really want to go that would be amazing!
I’m sure it won’t be long at all. So I read somewhere that you had enough music to put out one song a week in 2015? That’s a lot of music!
James: That was the original plan. We were just going to release a song a week and just keep doing that. We didn’t have any intention of playing live, we would just release videos. The music would be done on my laptop and Chloe would do videos on her laptop and we’d put them together. We started this little creative train I guess. Then we released the first thing – the first thing we put online…
FIRE ALARM GOES OFF - MILD PANIC FOLLOWED BY BEMUSED INDIFFERENCE…
James: …imagine a fire down here that’d be horrible! [Laughs] By the first video we had all that attention blow up so we took everything offline.
Chloe: We thought it’d be the best thing for the long term not to do that. Then moving forward you’d hear the songs – we’d do it in a more traditional way.
From my impressions of you guys from social media and your videos, it’s really gorgeous, sumptuous visually, there’s a lot going on, it’s really busy. Is your visual output something you’re really aware of? Does it go hand in hand with the music?
James: We love bands that have really strong visuals so that bleeds out into what we do. You want to be like your heroes. Chloe does the videos and I think the videos are amazing…
Chloe: For me with the online stuff and the visuals, they’re equally as important as the songs. Especially for younger audiences, they want to see everything don’t they. I love all the imagery and Jake take loads of photos too. I really enjoy it, just as much as playing bass.
Chloe do you have a background in design?
Chloe: I studied film at Uni but it was purely to move to London to be in a band. I never thought that I would even…I just did it…
It definitely feeds in though…
Chloe: Yeah it definitely came back in later life.
Good stuff. So when can we expect to hear the album?
James: The album I think will be next January actually. So we’re gonna do a full year of touring and then release the album. Just so people know who we are and actually buy it.
Chloe: Well we’re going to do a single which is gonna come out in April so that’s our first thing for this year. We’re gonna do a video for that quite soon and then hopefully another one, then an album to follow once a few more people have heard it.
James: It’s the third song we play in our set…
Chloe: …so listen out for it! It’s called Baby’s Alright.
Having never seen you live before what should I expect? Do you try to translate the colour and layering of your videos into your live performance?
James: We try but there’s only so much the four of us can do – I mean I’ve got a green shirt on…!
Chloe: We’ve brought a couple of lights with us…
James: Yeah we’ve got some white lights but it’s very much DIY and we try and do everything that we can, ourselves.
Joe: I think musically it’s very textured, there’s lots of layers, quite a raw energy.
Chloe: If I had my way there’d be projectors…
Chloe: …the whole thing… Maybe one day! Next time we come back…
James: Yeah we’ll have that next time.
Thanks so much for sitting down with me, just one last question actually. What to you feels like a great show, what does the most successful performance feel like to you?
James: It’s just the best feeling in the world. When you come off and you’ve really enjoyed every minute of it, there’s nothing that beats it. You’re always chasing that feeling aren’t you…?
James: Some shows you don’t get it for whatever reason, some shows you get this amazing rush…
Joe: …when everything is locked in…
Chloe: I’ve had a few of those moments when I feel like I’m in slow motion, when it’s going so well and people are enjoying it – that’s the most important thing – when you can see it on people’s faces. If they’re liking it then you’re like – YES!
James: It’s all about how the audience react to be honest.
Joe: You feed off of that.
How do you feel about Manchester audiences?
James: Sound Control was amazing last time actually, that was really good.
Chloe: People in Manchester are pretty switched on, savvy, they know what they like.
James: A bit more like London crowds I guess, a bit cooler. It feels like playing in London [Inheaven’s home town] which is good. It’s a cool fucking city.
Chloe: We just want to go out! We’ve got a day off tomorrow…!
See you in Black Dog Ballroom later on then!
James: Enjoy the show!