HEAVY HEART is a passion filled guitar pop five-piece from South East London fronted by outspoken and gifted singer/songwriter Anna. The band’s melodic guitar rainbows match Anna‘s anguished sentiments harmoniously. Soulful electricity to inspire your melancholic meditations and philosophising moments. Fervent American romantics Belly and Throwing Muses are never far away. After their 2014 debut EP the band went in overdrive this year,
with a song a month. Let’s listen first to the brand new October track Teenage Witch before talking to their sensitive singer…
Hello, Anna! Sorry If I let you wait, I was listening to some gorgeous music.
I’m totally ready now, here we go…
When and where was the band conceived and who writes the songs?
“Heavy Heart was conceived in the summer of 2013 in a period of transition between bands, although nothing really came of it until the start of 2014. Initially I was writing on my own, but it’s much more collaborative now. I often still come up with the core idea – basic chords, melody, lyrics – but the ideas evolve and grow exponentially once the rest
of the band get involved.”
What’s the story behind the group’s name?
“Heavy Heart was a name, or at least, a phrase, which I had thought about and identified with for a long time. I feel like it describes my own character most of the time, as well as the sound of the music we make. It’s the melancholy which seems to permeate everything we do, the emotion, but also the power and the energy.”
Share an unforgettable anecdote with us about the first rehearsals…
“The first rehearsals involved just three of us, and we were about to go out to play our first proper show, which was actually at a friend’s art opening in Barcelona. I’d played some of the songs at a party before, but this felt like something more than that, so we were nervous and unsure how it would turn out, as is always the case when you start a new band. We didn’t have enough songs, so we had to do some covers – I think we did ‘The Things We Said Today’ by The Beatles and ‘You & Me Song‘ by The Wannadies. It sounded pretty good
in the end…”
What should happen on this troubled planet before you change
your name to ‘Happy Heart’?
“So many things, too many to mention. I guess broadly speaking, people thinking
and caring about each other instead of just themselves…I think that would solve a lot.”
How did you feel last June the 24th, the day after 52% of the UK voted for
Britain to go solo?
“I actually thought I was having a nightmare, I was in shock, and then I was angry. I felt pretty ashamed to be British on that day, and that has only increased since. I don’t blame the voters now, but I have the deepest contempt for the politicians, demagogues and elements of the right-wing media in the UK who manipulated the worst tendencies of the national psyche and distorted the entire referendum for their own purposes. It was a dangerous power game, and now something very dark and very ugly has been awakened – something which is also waking up across the Atlantic – and it’s here to stay.”
2016: A new song a month – 2017: An album in January?
“Almost! An album, or at least, a collection of all twelve songs – “album” seems to carry too much weight – will be out in the Spring. We’re planning a very special physical release to go with this, so we needed a bit of extra time. But it’s coming…”
‘Pretty Thing’- the May song – is my personal favourite so far. Who should be frightened when you sing “I’ll show you all my teeth again”, Anna?
“Thank you – it’s actually one of my favourites too. Everyone should be frightened! But I think more specifically, anyone who wants me, or any girl, to stand back and just look pretty. Our culture prizes youth and surface beauty above all else, and it’s rotten. I wrote that song because sometimes you have to be ugly, show your teeth, show your rage.”
How much of your own reality goes into your stories?
“A lot! Lyrics take me a while to write because I’m trying to distill everything I’m feeling
and experiencing at that time into something coherent and succinct. The song can be a restrictive medium and it’s quite a discipline to be able to say something meaningful in such a small space. Every song I write starts with this huge essay on whatever topic is obsessing me at the time, a long, rambling diary entry with all these drawings and phrases and nonsense, and I have to try and untangle and make sense of it all. I have themes I go back to a lot so I guess for me it’s about looking at these from different angles, trying to find something new to say about them, trying to come to a new understanding of my own reality.”
Who’s the artist behind the splendid artwork for every track? What’s her/his inspiration? (note: you can check all images here on Bandcamp)
“I do the artwork myself. I’ve always enjoyed making collages and I thought this could be an interesting way to tie all the songs together visually. The inspiration for the artwork is the songs themselves and each image is meant to reflect something about the song – a character, a mood, a lyric or a part of the story. Some are more literal than others if you listen to the lyrics, whereas some are more abstract, emotional interpretations.”
Any joint rituals before the band hit the stage?
“Not really, I’ve been trying to let go of all superstition recently! We usually just have a group hug and wish each other a good show.”
Cassettes, vinyl or compact disk?
“Well, we released our first EP on cassette and that was fun, but for me it really has to be vinyl, it’s just so real, it’s a completely different musical experience to anything else. The artwork, the feel of it in your hands, the warmth of the sound, the ritual involved.”
Social media: a blessing or a pain in the ass?
“I think it’s a great tool for a new band, and it has definitely helped us get our music heard in places it wouldn’t otherwise have been. But on a broader cultural level, I think it has also magnified people’s vanity and negativity and self-consciousness, and I’m not sure that can lead anywhere good.”
If you could travel in time what artist would you jam with?
“Joni Mitchell, because she’s my absolute hero.”
The number one artist on your list to tour the world tour with?
“That’s really hard! We all love Queens of the Stone Age and I reckon it would be super fun touring with them. But I’m pretty shy so I’d probably just hide in the van the whole time…”
Mazzy Star or Throwing Muses?
“Both so great! I guess Throwing Muses just take it for me – ‘The Real Ramona’ is an amazing album.”
Belly or Cocteau Twins?
“Again both great, but Belly for me – I just love Tanya Donnelly‘s songwriting.”
What song made you cry in 2016?
“17 Days by Prince. Because we lost Prince this year.”
Saddest event of the year?
“This has been a terrible year in many ways, maybe the worst I can remember. Not on a personal level as such, but with everything going on in the world, at home, in the news, the great people who have been lost, the not so great people who continue to exist and exert force. I can’t pick one event, it seems to belittle all the others.”
Happiest event of the year?
“Sitting here right now answering these questions while James and Patrick record
guitars for our new song Teenage Witch which is coming out next week. It’s sounding monumental!”
What’s on the agenda for 2017?
“A really special full-length release in the Spring, with some London launch shows surrounding it, and then, we hope, some dates around the UK and Europe. After that we’ll start working on our next record, and the whole process will start again. But probably no more song-a-month – that has almost killed us!”
Thank you Anna for this interview, may the road rise with Heavy Heart!
Here are all 10 tracks released so far this year. Start dreaming
and enjoy the heavy-hearted sparks here on SOUNDCLOUD