SLAM DUNK 2011 PREVIEW: Deaf Havana

Losing your lead vocalist and also founding member of your band is no easy ordeal to go through. Deaf Havana are one of many bands who have though, and they decided to take the uncommon route in not replacing their vocalist, but keeping all remaining members and continuing on without. Removing the screams completely and going for a much more melodic post-hardcore sound, Deaf Havana are looking ahead for a bright future with their new currently untitled album on the way. With a set at this year’s Slam Dunk Festival too, we had a chat with guitarist Chris Pennells to see how they’re all feeling about it:

Zach: How are you guys looking forward to your set at Slam Dunk Festival?
Chris: Yeah, it should be great! It will take a lot to top last year when we played the Kerrang! Introducing stage; the crowd, especially in Leeds, was incredible. We had such a good response. I think playing the same stage as We Are The Ocean will help keep people focused on our stage too.

Zach: It was about a year ago that your original lead vocalist Ryan Mellor left the band, looking back, how has the past year been for you guys without him in the group?
Chris: Much better. We’ve moved on along and we’re happier for it.

Zach: Are you guys still in touch with Ryan? If so, how are things going on his end?
Chris: Yeah, he’s doing just fine.

Zach: You’ve recently finished recording your new album, can people expect to hear any of the new tracks at the festival weekend?
Chris: Of course! Actually, at the moment we’re doing an equal share of the new and old stuff, so kids will hear their favourites as well as some new songs that a lot of them would’ve heard over the past year if they caught us on tour. In fact, we probably get us many people in the front row asking us to play certain new songs as much as we do ‘Friends Like These’ or ‘Nicotine And Alcohol Saved My Life’.

Zach: You’ve played Slam Dunk in the past, how would you compare it with playing at other festivals?
Chris: It’s just a better vibe, and it’s mostly bands that kids actually genuinely enjoy rather than a festival full of old men and has-beens. Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing, we’ll be doing this when we’re all 60 odd probably! As well as showcasing some great American bands that are over on tour, it’s also a great spectacle for the current British bands that are doing really well and creating some great music.

Zach: For people who haven’t had a chance to listen to you yet, how would you best describe your sound?
Chris: Depends if they’ve picked up our old record or they’re looking to see us live. I’d say now we sound like our own band. We’re all huge Foo Fighters and The Gaslight Anthem fans, so we’ve tried to incorporate a lot of that influence into our current sound, which used to be more like Emarosa and Alexisonfire.

Zach: Why should people who are going to Slam Dunk this year come and check out your set?
Chris: Because they will love the new stuff; it’s honest, genuine and pretty awesome.

Zach: Are there any other bands that you plan on watching whilst you’re there?
Chris: The Starting Line especially, we’ve all been looking forward to seeing them for years, and now they’re finally coming back over for Slam Dunk. It will also be good to catch up with The Dangerous Summer and Dance Gavin Dance too.

Zach: Will you guys be letting loose at the aftershow party afterwards?
Chris: Of course! The Leeds aftershow party is the stuff of legends!

Zach: What do you guys have planned after Slam Dunk is over?
Chris: Finishing the new record and hopefully getting some videos and singles done before Summer. We’re doing a lot of festivals, including Download on the Sunday.

Zach: Anything else you guys would like to add or share with our readers?
Chris: Beer before wine, feel fine. Wine before beer… not so good, trust me.

LEEDS SET TIME: 21:00 – 21:40 (9:00pm – 9:40pm) on the Honour Over Glory stage.
HATFIELD SET TIME: 21:00 – 21:40 (9:00pm – 9:40pm) on the Honour Over Glory stage.
RIYL: Emarosa, All Forgotten, Yashin
LISTEN TO: Smiles All Round, The World Or Nothing, Nicotine And Alcohol Saved My Life