About…Head Noise!

Head Noise released their new EP “Consequential Quasars!” on April 23rd . I asked the band some questions on what the “Consequential Quasars!” era would bring to fans and the process behind the making of the EP.

From beginnings from a one-off night at an exhibition to full on band,how do you feel Head Noise has progressed?

MITCH: I can honestly say that the band has evolved exponentially compared to our much more ‘amateurish’ beginnings. Although we were no strangers to performing live music through our past exploits, I think what made Head Noise work so well from the get-go was the eagerness to experiment and lack of pressure to impress anyone (other than ourselves of course!)

WAYNE: We’ve come a long way baby! I’m extremely happy with the way the band has progressed, as you said it started as a one off but as we had so much fun we wanted to see if we could push it a bit further and slowly a new member was introduced and then more production was done to the recorded songs from the first EP to fill out the sound

BRILL: I think the EP we released following me joining the band was a fuller sound because I played bass on most of those songs, whereas beforehand the bass took a backseat and was more minimalist. We have since added live keyboards and now drums filling out the sound with each addition equally as exciting and enjoyable as the material released over last 2 years

ANDREW: Having heard the previous output recently, there is definitely a progression in the quality. Having said that, the early material is equally as exciting and enjoyable as the material released over last 2 years

There has always been a theme of song lyrics and meanings ranging from dark to comedic, will that always be something of a lyrical route for Head Noise?

MITCH: We don’t always approach the lyrical construction of the songs with a battle-plan as such, but there tends to be a lot of hidden meaning, bad jokes and surrealism littered throughout. There is a kind of twisted outlook contained within the majority of the subjects we touch on, but they have either been well thought out in advance or the routine victim of a happy accident

WAYNE: Mitch will message me with a title or a line for a song we are working on and my brain races thinking of how the (often bizarre lyric out of context) is going to fit

ANDREW: The song themes, especially the more humorous, definitely reflect on Mitch’s zany sense of humour. This also over spills into the videos and artwork that the band produce. Having been part of the large 2 projects, it is safe to say that having some fun is very important to the band!

Lyrics on “Consequential Quasars!” seem to have more of an influence taken from art or artists, does that stem from personal interest? (Mitch’s father being an artist himself)

MITCH: The attempt to beckon in listeners with the pretence that we are all highly pretentious art snobs is a hilarious thought, but suffice to say, there is a kind of edge towards bringing the excitement of the creative process to the masses which I personally admire myself. We played a set in Cardiff once and one of the bands sharing the bill said onstage that we ‘make arty music that you don’t have to be a twat to understand’. I really loved that!

ANDREW: Will is a brilliant artist and played a big part in the writing of TraceyEmin, I think!

The inclusion of drums add more punch to the EP, has the addition of Andrew Walsh been good for the band’s sound?

MITCH: I was a bit apprehensive at first with Andrew joining the team as I was quite enveloped in the idea of the band always remaining a trio, following in the footsteps of the 1980s New Wave bands I aspire to and having a ‘less is more’ approach to music making. However, I think the live percussive contribution really adds a new dynamic to the band and gives more life to an otherwise previously robotic set of programmed beats

WAYNE: Absolutely this all came about more or less during lockdown Apr/May 2020. I’d been jamming out some guitar lines and working on a few new song ideas which seemed predominantly guitar based and as Mitch, Brill and I started remotely working on them we felt they would really work well with live drums so a few messages to Andrew Walsh later and we had two new tracks done which became the Age of Content and Tin Foil Troubadours single, of which the human aspect of the drumming really elevated the songs, which had very positive feedback so it seemed a natural progression to haveAndrew join us for the E.P

BRILL: I always believed we were better with the drum machine but I think he makes us sound great! Really adds to the punkier sound of the newer releases

ANDREW: Having heard a lot of the earlier output, there were definitely songs that I listened to and thought… That would sound so much better beefed up with a live sounding kit… The songs I have recorded with the band to date have all started life with a programmed drum track on the demos. I didn’t stray far from those tracks, though am hoping to add my own stamp to future projects. I grew up on the heavy double drum, thumping tom tom burundi beats of Adam and the Ants so listen out for that sound soon on a Head Noise track if I can get away with it!

What is the story behind the artwork and who was the creator?

MITCH: Uhh… Difficult one to answer. Mainly because as soon as I uploaded the image to Instagram I was hit with a ‘branded content’ notification, which astounded me, as it was quite an unspecific found image we obtained. Let’s just say a certain monarch of Rock & or Roll made a dreadful movie in the late 1960s and this selected piece of media I found during its runtime was quite visually jarring to me, so I really wanted to use it! A person who follows the Facebook page of our newly acquired record label ‘Dirty Carrot’ left a comment saying they thought it looked like a dustbin monster who has imprisoned kids on a desert island, which I think is a much better write up – it’s all open to interpretation really!

BRILL: Depends which artwork we’re talking about! Music streaming services had a problem with our use of a screenshot from an old movie, so if you buy the physical release you’ll get a banned cover!

ANDREW: I believe it was Mitch and something to do with a film. To be fair, all 3 of the guys are very artistic and are just as passionate about presentation as with the music. It is fun to be part of the overall process and the discussions on artwork.

What were band or music influences for “Consequential Quasars!”?

MITCH: This will always be a difficult question for us to answer as all the band members have certain specific tastes in music and different influences which we kind of mash together to create our own Frankenstein’s monster. I myself though was channelling a lot of 2000s indie synth rock with bands such as Maximo Park and White Rose Movement, but it all boils back down to those Punk and New Wave influences also with the obvious bands we take inspiration from like Devo, OMD, The Cure and New Order.

WAYNE: For me personally guitar wise it was the more loose lo fi vibe of folk implosion, Blur and Sebadoh with a bit of Devo electro thrown in

BRILL: I had many different influences for each track ranging from Django Reinhart on “Tracey Emin” to Buckethead on “Quetzaotl’s Axolotl” which is entirely different from what the others are influenced by which I really think adds to our unique sound.

ANDREW: I would imagine everyone had their own little musical input and influence. Most of the early ideas were Mitch and Wayne before I was involved so they will answer this one better. It is quite funny how Cubist Ballet 1917 ended up with a Kinks sounding riff, more by accident! Also, my drumming on Quetzalcoatl’s Axolotl (I must ask Mitch what that means!) gave it a punky feel compared to the original demo which was less harsh!

How do you hope the EP will be received by fans old and new?

MITCH: We strive to develop our sound with every new release and we do aim to come back each time with something a bit more refreshing than what came before. This is not always an easy task, but we have so much interesting output planned in the pipeline that I’m already starting to get excited just thinking about pulling that old 1970s rusty stylophone from the attic to stick through a bunch of odd guitar and synth pedals. Rolf Harris is grinning away on the front of the box, it’s madness! To answer your question though, we hope with much dumbfounded awe and relentless vigour.

WAYNE: Hopefully they will dig it it’s the same old Head Noise but now with added special “Andrew Topper Walsh” ingredient

BRILL: I hope they’ll accept that our drum machine has grown arms and legs, and also that the electro pop has been dropped down a notch in favour of down tuned guitars for the first time in Head Noise history!

ANDREW: I was a fan before joining the band on a temporary permanent basis (a bit of an in joke), so I believe this EP will defo please the loyal Head Noise followers. It is very well made with a great selection of tracks!

Will there be any significant changes to live set up?

MITCH: There is a lot of significant movement within Head Noise HQ at the moment regarding the live show. We are very lucky to have had so much free time to plan an attack ahead of the eventual return of live music, but we don’t want to give away too much just yet. The element of surprise has always been an important factor in whatever we eventually spew up to the unsuspecting public. My lips are sealed!

WAYNE: The drum machine and stems have taken a back seat for now…watch this space

BRILL: Absolutely! We won’t reveal anything too early but a fuller Head Noise Experience may be in the works!

ANDREW: Hopefully I will be invited to the party!! Yes though, there are plans for an exciting change to come to future live shows!!

Where do you see yourself going from “Consequential Quasars!”? Are there plans for another full album carrying the same sound?

MITCH: Luckily, we have enough material currently in the works to keep us going for another 5 years of existence! Like I said previously, I don’t want to give too much away just yet, but there are plans for a fully electronic EP and the difficult ‘second album’ that we’ve spoken about. I am pretty determined for it to be a concept album in some shape or form.

WAYNE: We have something different in the works which funnily enough was in the works before this new E.P but this felt a better fit for us currently.

BRILL: We actually have more music that was already recorded before the last single! Just needs some polishing and the right time to release it. Hopefully we can have something more for you in the very near future, but every time we say that we take 6 months to end up releasing it, so no promises!

ANDREW: Wayne and Mitch are already planning the next release! Hopefully I can add my stamp to this too!

“Consequential Quasars!” is out now on Dirty Carrot Records. The EP is available on all streaming sites and also on limited edition CD, which you can get on their Bandcamp page below!

https://givemeheadnoise.bandcamp.com/album/consequential-quasars-ep

Rosalys Anthony – 22/04/2021

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