Introducing to Northern Exposure, London based band, The Howlers. Formed in May 2018, the band have quickly gone on to receive critical acclaim from BBC Introducing, Clash Magazine and many others for their ferocious live performances and determination to uproot the current foundations of popular music. Within their first 6 months, the band received significant attention a whole range of prestigious names in the industry before signing with the massively up and coming Sheffield based record label These Bloody Thieves Records. They join False-Heads, MOSES, Feral Family & The C33’s.
“This band aren’t messing about! They are here to make a difference… This is just the beginning for The Howlers! I’m a big fan of La Dolce Vita.” – Jack Saunders, BBC Radio 1.
The East London trio have undertaken 3 UK wide tours since their formation, including multiple Independent Venue Week performances, sold out UK support tours as well as performing across multiple UK & Netherlands Festivals. The bands first DIY release ‘Circus of Horror’s’ became a definitive first statement from the band, now near impossible to find online, it propelled the band into the underground scene gaining noteworthy reviews from BBC Introducing, Amazing Radio, Gigslutz and many more. The band’s Debut Single ‘La Dolce Vita’ is already predicted to amplify the band’s rapid rise. Last night their debut single ‘La Dolce Vita’ got its first play on Radio X as part of ‘X-posure’ with the legend John Kennedy.
I caught up with the band to chat about their whirlwind rise…
Hi guys, welcome to Northern Exposure! Tell me briefly your story of how The Howlers were born?
To be honest, we started this band as we were so disappointed with the majority of bands that we were seeing playing around London at the time, there was nothing really interesting it was just the same twats in different hats, and we just wanted to do something interesting and different in a genre that had not really been touched in modern times for whatever reason. So we were born out of the desire to shake things up, do things differently and not kiss arse to get anywhere, hasn’t always been popular with the powers that be, but that’s the point.
You have a brilliant new single out ‘La Dolce Vita’. Where did the inspiration for the track come from? What’s behind your lyrics and what are you trying to get across?
The track was the first song we wrote together as this band, we wanted to do something different, something that would make people listen and it came so naturally writing it. Its everyone’s favourite track to play live because of that and the message of the track reflects this. It’s about being yourself no matter what and not letting anyone tell you otherwise, forming your own identity even at the inevitable cost of torment and persecution for the differing differences. As a band, all three of us and even the team around us had to go through that period of our lives where we were subject to abuse and torment because we started to dress differently, listen to different music and generally go against the grain. None of us would change that period in our lives, it’s so important to form your own identity and not fall into the popular culture mould because its the easiest way to stay under the radar and have an easy happy life. It doesn’t matter if its the music you listen to, the way you dress, the way you wear your hair, the things you enjoy doing or even your sexual orientation. Be who you were meant to be, F*** anybody who says otherwise.
The single smashed through 10,000+ views in 48 hrs, that’s pretty incredible. Must be such a buzz when that happens…
We always knew the first few days would define how we are perceived as a band, to go from not releasing any music for a long time and building the word of mouth thing instead. It’s been amazing to see how anticipated this track was. It’s always been gutting for us to tell people at shows to wait a bit longer for tracks but we hope we have lived up to what they expected and saw live and also we hope we done everyone proud who has toiled alongside us for this release.
Directed by Sam Crowston, how much input did you have with the music video?
Sam is a legend, anyone who has there ear to the ground knows Sam has produced some of the best videos and content for some of the best-emerging bands so to work with him was great. We set him the task of finding a location and brainstorming ideas and he came up with the masterpiece we have now but on the day it was very collaborative we went with what felt right and it came off great. He has worked so hard for us so we can’t thank him enough, and he knows there’s more than a few beers coming his way.
The Howlers are on fire at the moment, receiving a load of love from some big names in the industry. It looks to have been a whirlwind since forming, would you say it’s felt like it happened overnight, compared to some bands who slog away for years before getting a break?
In terms of time and how different the industry is now compared to 10 years ago, most definitely we have to keep reminding ourselves its only been a year….. however its not like we haven’t worked for it, most bands slog away for 2/3 maybe 4 years and perform 20 something shows a year with the same promoters and the same people, whereas we almost hit 50 shows in 1 year we made a point of not wanting to be the band that conquers their local area first we went straight out into the world with not a pot to piss in and enough debt to cripple a small country and its why we have managed to tour 3 times in a year and get across to mainland Europe, because we weren’t afraid to give 110% each night even if it was one man and his dog or 2000 people, blood sweat and tears comes to mind and believe us there has been all 3.
Talking of big names, Jack Saunders from BBC Radio 1 is a big fan. The new single made his ‘Next Wave’ back on the 6th June, that must of been pretty surreal?
It has been pretty surreal to have BBC R1 & Radio x spinning the tunes in the first 3/4 days has been incredible, Me and Gus sat in the garden of the Shacklewell Arms, just after watching Sheaf’s play, Sharing some headphones , pint in hand, ignoring the world around us acting like schoolboys listening to BBC ‘live lounge’ during class (True story) waiting to hear our radio debut on R1, but Jack is as you know a legend and me and him had a good little chinwag over the blower before we did the interview, so he is also someone we can’t thank enough.
You’re gaining a strong reputation for your ferocious, intimate live shows, which performers inspire you?
I don’t think there’s any, in particular, Iv always said its important to play a character on stage and perform not just stand there in your new jacket and shows and strum some chords, that’s why I jump around like we’re playing Wembley and Cam is an absolute beast behind the kit, its who we are our mad little family, so I wouldn’t say anyone inspires us we just want to put on a good show.
I see a whole host of dates over the summer for the band on your Facebook page, including Tramlines here in sunny Sheffield. Which do you prefer an intimate sweaty gig or a festival?
You can’t beat that smell of sweat, beer and bleach of a small venue.
Who are the bands that you are digging at the moment?
It would have to be something we talk about in depth but it wouldn’t be anything obvious and it would be something completely opposite to our sound as we said earlier there’s not much about that we find interesting a lot of formula bullshit however we really dig what bands like Creatures, The Nude Party, Fontaine’s D.C are doing and we’ve always liked fellow Londoner’s Calva Louise we saw them play one of there first shows and always championed them since then.
Last but not least! What can we expect from The Howlers this year?
Patience is a virtue ………