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The Heavy

29 Jun

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings were the unequivocal hit of Rock The Garden, and if you missed their show or need another fix of hard-stomping, soul-funking, live-wire stylish R&B-tinged blues-rock, you’re in luck; The Heavy, who have opened for Ms. Jones on a number of recent state-side dates, roll in to the Fine Line Music Café on Thursday night for an already sold-out show. The English quartet have been making their own waves this year with a strong sophomore record, The House That Dirt Built, a name-making performance on Late Night with David Letterman and a Superbowl commercial soundtrack. With healthy dose of swagger and sonic influences from Screamin’ Jay Hawkins to Parliament Funkadelic and Curtis Mayfield, it only makes sense that the States are taking to their raucous live shows. Cake In 15 caught up with singer Kelvin Swaby from the road to talk about their most recent exposure, writing on the road and confirming what we already knew, that the Dap-Kings “are just totally fucking cool.”

Cake In 15: You’re wrapping up this American tour, how have things changed for you here since you first broke in a couple years ago with 2007’s Great Vengeance and Furious Fire?

Kelvin Swaby: I think the growth of the band is apparent. As far as what we’ve been doing, it’s a lot bigger now, we’ve been playing together for two years longer, so it’s tighter. We’ve had an album out and it’s been well received, it’s great because they’re coming back, there are more people singing along to the songs.

C15: You and guitar player Dan Taylor have known eachother for a long time, almost 20 years, how does that relationship change and drive the band?

KS: We just keep working, you know? As I’m talking to you, Dan has his acoustic out, we’re listening to tracks for the new album basically. We’re recording a new album, were just working out ideas, so we’re always working.

C15: Do you find that you’re able to write and work while touring?

KS: Myself and Dan, we get a lot of ideas down, for when we’re back home for however long it is, but I’ve got my audio here just in case I need to get vocals down or get guitar lines down, you know, themes, so we get an idea of what it is we’ve got to be doing on a particular track. It’s great because we work when we’re back home and then everything is in the computer when we’re on the road so we can write, you know, it’s not impossible. This is what we’re doing at the moment, we’re playing through a lot of the demos, working out the ideas, so that we get stronger. I think that we can afford to be a little bit more ambitious with this next record as well, do some of the stuff that we didn’t get to do with the first two. With The House That Dirt Built we got to do stuff on that record that we didn’t get to do on the first one. It’s still going to be rough and ready and raw, but as the relationship keep changing, we just become stronger, you know?

C15: How are you changing it up for the next record?

KS: We’ve always used horns, right from the first record, but I really think on this one there’s going to be a lot more cinematic. I think that’s what we’ve tried to do with our sound on the past records but with this one, I can a hear things being a lot more orchestral, sampled from movies and shit, you know? That’s the whole kind of vibe on the next one.

C15: You’ve spent some dates on this tour with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, what’s it like touring with them?

KS: They’re crazy. [Laughs] They’re really crazy but they’re absolutely fucking amazing people and they’re such wonderful musicians. You warm, you warm to them so much. We’ve been doing this for a long time, you know, and you meet a lot of people who are not cool about what they do and those guys are just totally fucking cool and they welcomed us with open arms. It’s such a ridiculous show though. To have us open for them, so many people have come up and said, “That was such an incredible show,” at the end of the evening. It’s been really, really cool.

C15: Her horn section backed you when you performed “How You Like Me Now?” on Letterman, which was apparently the first time that Letterman has ever asked for an encore performance. What was that experience like?

KS: Well, what you guys couldn’t see was from the second verse, of “How You Like Me Now?” was that people were getting up on their feet and starting to clap the song along, you know, so we knew we were making some kind of history or something at some point because people were getting out of their seats and clapping through. That’s without any kind of stage or floor manager trying to get people up, that’s just what was going on in the studio that day, so when we reached the end we just kicked it up a notch. We knew it was going to sound ridiculous anyway, because we rehearsed that in the day and I think by the sixth rehearsal we were like, “OK, that’s it, because if it’s anything like that tonight, it’s gonna be crazy, it will be crazy.” So going through our minds, you saw [drummer] Chris [Ellul]’s face, it was the same look on my face, ‘cause I was looking at him as if to say, “What the f…” you know? And then it was, like, “OK, let’s do it again,” and by that point the house band were playing it and then the Dap-Kings started playing the horn line again and then we just did it, the audience clapped it all the way through, they were up on their feet and shit, it was just crazy.

C15: “How You Like Me Now?” is also getting a lot of exposure through a Superbowl commercial for the Kia Sorento minivan. Have you been asked to sign sock monkeys because of that ad?

KS: That happened last night, I had to sign a sock monkey last night, which is kind of funny, and I think I signed one in Canada, I can’t remember where, Calgary, yeah, Calgary. This woman brought this sock monkey that looked like a four-year-old child, I don’t know where she got it from, it was so big. It’s a cool advert, it’s good to be associated with a good piece of art. I saw it a couple days ago and it’s good, and people come to the shows and are exposed to the other kinds of things we do, we don’t just play one thing and people enjoy all those other parts so its not just one thing, the exposure’s good.

C15: Do you feel any pressure, with the attention that the one track is getting to make sure your follow-up is in that same vein?

KS: No, because we don’t just play one kind of thing and I don’t think we’ll ever do that. All I can guarantee is that the next record will definitely be stronger than this offering, than The House That Dirt Built, the next record will be stronger than that. Just judging from some of the demos that we’re listening to here, we can’t wait to start working on this record in September. We’re not thinking, “Oh, we’ve been asked to do that kind of thing again.” We just know that we have plenty of strength on our side, there’s plenty of fire in the belly, fuel in the tank, whatever. There’s plenty more to come, there’s no pressure.


Added bonus for Thursday’s show at the Fine Line- Cake In 15 pals and all-around awesome stompers & roarers City on the Make are opening, so get ready for a summer night that’ll leave you sweaty and wanting more.

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  1. Tweets that mention The Heavy | Cake In 15 -- - June 29, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CakeIn15, jennbarnett. jennbarnett said: RT @cakein15 The Heavy @ FineLine Thurs! In our interview, singer confirms Dap-Kings are "totally f'ing cool" #fb […]

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