Nottingham born, London based, Heavyball are a hard rocking ‘New Tone’ band. Heavyball is fronted by Bigface on guitar and vocals with his brother Habs on drums and best mate Johnny Iball on bass. 2014 saw them joined by Tom ‘Stone Cold’ Frost on lead guitar.
Heavyball have toured with the Kaiser Chiefs in the UK and Europe. They have shared stages with Ska legends The Selecter, The Beat, soul king Geno Washington and britpop kings Dodgy. Heavyball’s addictive melodies and energetic live performances has seen them play festivals all over the UK and headlining Harlem Shuffle festival in the Netherlands.
Championed by BBC 6 Music’s Chris Hawkins, they have also been played by influetncial DJs such as Tom Robinson, Gary Crowley and Dean Jackson.
Bigface- Vocals, Guitar
Habs- Drums, Vocals
Stone Cold- Lead Guitar
Johnny Iball- Bass, Vocals
Heavyball are signed to independant label Magnetic North Melodies
Tell me a bit about your band? What genre would you say your in?
Habs- Heavyball are a new tone band, originally from Nottingham. New tone is just a quick way of saying that Jamaican reggae and 2 Tone are a big influence on our music. That’s given us a bit of a theme through our music and its led to us playing with some of our heroes like The Selector and The Beat.
Johnny- A bit more about us…..well, we’re renowned for our punctuality, apart from in a small town in Switzerland, where a breakdown in communication meant we turned up 40 minutes late. Let me tell you, you do not want to be late in Switzerland.
Who are your major influences?
Bigface- We love ska but we’re not a full on ska band. Our influences are basically everything. Good music is good music…..country, surf music, all sorts of mod stuff, hip hop……..if it makes a song sound right, then its in.
How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
Habs- Bigface and I are brothers so it was probably a maternity ward somewhere in Nottingham. The two of us have known Johnny pretty much our whole lives as he lived next door when we were growing up. Our lead guitarist, ‘Stone Cold’ Tom Frost is a south Londoner by birth. Frosty joined Heavyball in 2014 and we have been blessed by the gods of rock with his presence ever since.
Where have you performed? What are your favorite venues?
Frosty- We have been fortunate enough to perform all over the UK and Europe. The band had already amassed an impressive portfolio of gigs before I even knew them including playing in Europe with the Kaiser Chiefs. Since then we have been back to Europe several times playing in France, Holland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Switzerland. It’s a good sign that we keep getting asked to come back!
Pretty much any of the European venues we have played are a favourite. The Haarlem festival and the Welcome to the Village festival, both in Holland, are probably personal favourites. Prague was pretty special as well, it was like a cool old punk club that I could imagine The Clash playing when they first started playing in Europe. Vienna is always an amazing crowd as well. Basically – all of them!
Johnny- In the UK we played a small venue called the Musician in Leicester that was a very pleasant surprise. We didn’t know what to expect but it ended up being on of the most enjoyable gigs we have played.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
Frosty- I don’t know how the song writing worked for the first album but for the second album that we are currently writing we have used a lot of different writing techniques.
Sometimes Matt comes to rehearsal with something he’s been working on – vocals and a melody with a structure underpinning it and we start adding our own parts to flesh it out. Other times we have been randomly jamming and a riff or something will come out of it and we take it from there. We also have a dropbox that any of us can add to and we can bring anything we have been working on, we aren’t limited to only writing parts related to our instruments. I’m not the singer but I can bring lyrics or a melody I might have for us to work on or Habs could bring an idea for a guitar riff or Johnny could suggest something about the drums etc. Its all very open and we don’t tend to rely on one song writing style, we defiantly mix it up.
Bigface – We tend to avoid the theme’s of boy meets girl, girl breaks boys heart. It’s not that we don’t like songs with those sort of themes’s, some of our favourite songs are classic heart break relationship songs but it’s just not in our interest to write about it. It’s been done a million times over and we have nothing new to input with a subject like that at this point. We usually go for a subject that we can observe is happening and tell a story about it.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Frosty- I cant think of a specific challenge but any that we have faced we must have overcome it as we are still doing what we do.
Bigface- Our age is probably the biggest challenge, we make a joke about it at the start of the Unhappy Now video but it will always be an issue and will only become more relevant the older we get. Although there does seem to a be changing trend as older artists are starting to break through the music industry is definitely seen as a young persons game.
Habs- Trying to balance being in a band with the day job is probably the other biggest challenge. It does make things difficult as to really push forward most bands have to be on the road 300+ days of the year which is something we can’t do at this point. We need the day jobs to live as there is very little money at this level and the bills won’t get paid but we also have to keep active enough to stay relevant. It’s a tricky balancing act but we seem to be managing it well.
What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Johnny- Keep going! Nothing happens quickly and you need time to get your own style and learn what you want to say with your music. Don’t be afraid of throwing new songs into a set and see how they work. We have worked hard at getting songs ready earlier to see if they work in a live set.
Do you have any upcoming shows?
Frosty- We are playing Leeds Oxjam and then head over for a short tour of Germany in the Autumn. Its a great feeling jumping into a van with your mates and heading off to Europe.
How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
Habs- We have all your social medias, don’t worry about that! You can find us at www.heavyball.net and that has links to buy our album and links to the Youtube videos. Check it out.
WEAPON OF CHOICE – (Instrument)
MANOVEURES – (Next gig)
OBJECTIVE – (Future holds….)
Conquer Europe, then Mexico
BASE – (Hometown)
FOOTBALL – (Team supported)
3 x fair-weather Forest Fans, and a dedicated Gooner
GUILTY PLEASURE – (Cheesy tune)
Five, Keep on Movin’
HERO – (Inspirations?)
VILLAIN – (Someone like Cheryl Cole!)
Anyone who’s ever presented or appeared on C4s ‘Sunday Brunch’
THREADS – (Favourite designer/piece of clothing)
TROTTERS – (Favourite footwear)
AT THE BAR – (Alcoholic drink)
Beer & Whisky
IN THE KITCHEN – (Favourite food)
GIG YOU WISHED YOU’D BEEN AT – (Any in history and why)
The Who, Live at Leeds – best band ever
NIGHT OUT WITH ANYONE – (Anyone in history)
FILM – (Favourite film)
SOUNDTRACK – (Best OST in your opinion)
Original Star Wars
TOP 3 TUNES OF ALL TIME – (Favourite songs)
On my Radio – Selector
Man in Black – Johnny Cash
Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who
TOP OF THE POPS – (Opinion on current music)
98% soppy, listless, meaningless drivel
THREE WORDS – (Sum up band/you if solo)
Lads, lads lads
By Rachel Brown
Owner of Northern Exposure I’m a Northern girl who loves her music and is a tad obsessed with Liam Gallagher and Ian Curtis! I am full of passion for live music, sharing honest and from the heart reviews. I’m brimming with enthusiasm and striving to give new and upcoming bands a shot. Sniffing out the UK’s best upcoming talent!