INTERVIEW: Demob Happy
Fresh from supporting The Cribs through the UK back in December and supporting Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes through Europe in March, Demob Happy are coming to Nottingham Rock City on the 6th April and Birmingham’s The Flapper on the 10th April in support of their second album, HOLY DOOM.
Lead Singer of Demob Happy, Matthew Marcantonio discusses the inspiration behind their new album and how to survive life on tour.
You’ve been supporting some great acts like The Cribs and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes recently, how does supporting compare to headlining?
It’s different but it’s great. There’s no pressure on you personally to deliver, so you’re free to enjoy yourselves fully. You have nothing to loose and everything to prove. You’re the underdog and you’re there to convert people to your cause.
The album title is split into two halves with the album reflecting both (‘Holy’ representing your potential for kindness, ‘Doom’ your capability for wickedness), what inspired this perspective?
We had a difficult time personally and as a band in the two years between the first album and now we had a lot to overcome, and a lot of new realities to deal with. The album title just reflects this thing that became unintentionally apparent throughout all of the songs, that fighting the forces of good over bad inside ourselves, and in the world, is impossible, without accepting and welcoming your tendencies for evil. The bad is just as important as the good, if you want balance. There’s also a tendency inside all of us to stay away from Taboo and things we’d otherwise enjoy, because of deep and outdated senses of religious and social dogma. There’s a lot of beautiful things in the world that are subtly oppressed, and you’ve gotta ask yourself why. I think in looking at those things you are forced to confront what feels dark and taboo inside of you, but if you love it and it brings you pleasure then you should let it free. You’ll be a lot more satisfied and rounded as a human if you can.
A lot of the hate in the world comes from fear of what you don’t understand, and if you don’t understand something it has a power over you. so really you respect its power. There’s love there on a deeper level, and we need to bring that out!
How did you approach the album recording being a member down, did the song writing dynamic change?
Only positively. Without talking ill of people, which is something we decided we wanted to avoid, it’s important to us that people realise the main songwriters are still intact from the first album, otherwise it diminishes our efforts over the years, which have always been constant. Our sound has evolved naturally, because that’s how we wanted to sound now. You should never stop moving as an artist. It’s difficult for us being asked a question like that because we’re respectful people, but the truth is the truth, and we have to respect our own efforts.
You’re heading to both Nottingham and Birmingham on this tour, have you visited before, of you have any previous experiences?
Of what we can remember we always have a great time in Nottingham and Birmingham Our first show in Nottingham a few years back was a sweatfest in The Chameleon and we loved it! We can’t wait to come back and if the Black Country Museum ever has a 60s exhibit you can sign us up to be some early hippies
Do you have rituals or essentials to help you survive life on tour?
It can become difficult to guarantee a bit of head space in close contact like that, so I always need an enormous hoody and a local cafe or something to sit in. It’s something you learn over time though. On our first tours I’d begin to wonder why I was getting irritated and grumpy, then you realise you’ve been in an uncomfortable van with the same people for 3 weeks and this doesn’t reflect normal life. It’s for everyone’s benefit that you learn how to introduce that normality into your touring life, otherwise you look for sightly unhealthier ways of blowing off steam, which only makes it worse.
How does it feel to be 10 years into Demob Happy, are you where you want to be as a band? Have you targets, plans, hopes for album no. 3?
I guess 10 years feels like a long time but we were young lads when we started the band with no idea at all of what to do and how to work in an industry that seems completely impenetrable at the bottom. We just had our dreams and big chips on our shoulders. We knew how good we were and we wanted to prove that to everyone. The only thing that’s changed two albums in, is the size of the audience. we’ve gone from trying to convince our mates in the pub of our quality, to trying to convince 800 people at support shows that we’re worth something. Comparatively what we are doing now probably felt like going to the moon when we first started, but every time you achieve one of those smaller steps that light at the end of the tunnel gets a little brighter, and your sense of what’s possible shifts.
Every time we record something new we feel Like We’re breaking ground on what we think is possible in terms of songwriting and production of our stuff. We have a very clear vision of what we want to sound like but a more vague sense of how to achieve it, so as we co-produce everything, we’re basically learning on the job.
As for concrete ideas on what we want album 3 to be, it all just depends on how the songs start to come together and sound while we write them. Let’s see.
After the tour, what is next for the band?
We are constantly writing so there’s loads of great ideas coming for the next album. It’s more a case of when really. we don’t want to leave it as long as we were forced to between dream soda and holy doom. I want to be getting something out within the next year and we’re more than capable of doing so. If we can keep writing good stuff and hopefully people keep enjoying it then happy days, we’ll release an album every 6 months if we can. we always look at The Beatles and what they achieved in seven years, doing 13 albums, and that feels like a baseline to judge what we do from, even if it is kind of ambitious! Shoot for the stars and all that fridge magnet kind of thing.