2015 was a difficult year for Matt Reynolds, Jonny Hall, Paul Shelley and Tom Marsh AKA Heck. Having cemented their reputation as Baby Godzilla since 2012, with a deserved notoriety for redefining the word havoc, their live performances a ballistic barrage of flaying limbs and hurled instruments, out of nowhere came the news that the Japanese cinema giant were legally forcing them to change their name. Whilst this caused no end of grief for the Nottingham based chaos-quartet, delaying the release of their much anticipated debut album, it did not, and nothing will, stop them.
October saw the release of The Breakers single, the first new music under the new handle. A barrage of monstrously heavy riffs and wild-eyed energy, it firmly stated that although the name had changed, the mission was the same and now Heck are primed and ready to take 2016 by storm with the release of their debut album and a tour across the UK Their only Wales date will be at Swansea Sin City Riff Raff venue on March 18. Andy Howells recently put questions to Matt from the band.
How did the band form?
Like most bands we were just like-minded friends. We all played in separate bands in the same town and respected each other as players before we started our own thing. I guess we all wanted something more and saw each other as a way of getting that. I think at the time we thought we were re-inventing the wheel when in reality we’d just poached each other out of our local bands to practice as quietly as we could in the living room of a terraced house. We crafted a drum kit out of an armchair, some pillows and a set of bongos though. I think being cooped up for that long effected us, the frustration definitely translated as ferocity as soon as we were able to play our songs full whack to 5 or 6 unsuspecting onlookers. That’s certainly a quality we’ve held on to in our attitude to playing live, it’s very important to have fun, otherwise you may as well be trying to not disturb the neighbours in your front room.
Can you give us some background about your forthcoming album?
Instructions is the culmination and celebration of our work as a DIY band to date. It’s a build up of frustration and a release of pent up anger and emotion. It’s been such a hard road getting to the stage of this record coming out. By rights we should have been at this point 18 months ago, but through meeting every brick wall we ever could in this ever more fickle and restrictive industry we have found ourselves here. The record itself has picked up all the sedimentary bricks and mortar from every wall we’ve managed to break past. I’m very proud of what we’ve come out with.
You’re touring shortly are you looking forward to that?
Tour is the best place on Earth to us and there’s no place we’d rather be as a band. However the build up to tour is one of the most intense and potentially stressful experiences imaginable. All of our stuff is generally in a state of disrepair, so you find yourself in the month(s) leading up to being on the road accounting for every eventuality that could go wrong. Scrambling around for components, frantically “road testing” guitars (this usually means swinging it around and bashing it into things to see what falls off). Then there’s each of our rigorous pre-tour work-out rituals to get our stamina up. It’s exhausting, but once we get out there it’s all worth it.
What can people expect from your forthcoming Swansea gig?
Last time we played in Swansea there was blood, broken glass and a shout off outside in a bus lane. However doing the same show twice has never really been our thing so expect none of that. It could go one of two ways, it will either be that times ten or a nice civilised affair with a Q & A and tea and biscuits at the end.
What are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
All the wonderful silky smooth pop music that I can cram into my ears. Every now and then it’s nice to go on a big pop binge; it’s like taking your ears on a holiday. My particular favourites are Hall and Oates, Steely Dan and I have a ‘not so secret’ love for the more recent Panic! At the Disco material; the last two albums are pop masterpieces. So all of that plus Purple by Baroness because it’s incredible.
What else have you got planned for the rest of the year?
From the release of our album we hope to pack our bags and not come back for a very long time. Tour, tour, tour. We’re also going to squeeze in a bunch of festival appearances too starting with our return to Download festival.
- For further information on Heck visit their official website
- A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells appears in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on March 18, 2016.