WORDS: James Weaver
The UK metal scene has enjoyed success in recent years with bands breaking into the mainstream whilst the underground scene blossoms with bands popping up left, right and centre. HEART OF A COWARD have been riding the success of metal and ahead of a ball-busting performance at this year’s Ghostfest, we speak to guitarist Steve Haycock to talk about the current UK metal scene, the band’s upcoming record and who influences his writing.
So we’re at Ghostfest, are there any bands that you are hoping to catch?
Steve: Definitely DESPISED ICON! They are awesome, it is really good that they are playing again. They did that comeback show last year in Manchester at Impericon Festival and I got to see them there and they were awesome! I’m also looking forward to seeing TURNSTILE but I missed VENOM PRISON! I really wanted to see them earlier.
Ghostfest is really a very modern hardcore festival. How would you describe the current metal scene?
Steve: It’s quite broad now isn’t it? It used to be quite segregated, there would be emo, then there would be metal. Then the deathcore scene exploded and now it’s really just a mish mash of everything now which is good, guys who like death metal are going to see hardcore bands.
So do you find that when you play shows you can appeal to almost anyone with an ear for heavy music?
Steve: Yeah definitely! Me and Jamie (Vocals) we are both really into our classic death metal so it is really cool to see when you have older metal fans in PANTERA shirts coming over to compliment you as much as somebody who has a TERROR t-shirt on! It’s a really nice thing to have.
You’ve got a new record coming out in October. Are you going to experiment at all with the sound?
Steve: We kind of have! We’ve done things that we’ve not really done before and we’ve tried certain things, I think it’s more vocally dynamic. There’s a few bits that are slightly more ambient and it’s a quicker album, there’s a lot more pace on this than there was with Severance. It’s straight up metal!
Yeah as HEART OF A COWARD have a lot of influences…
Steve: Yeah! I’m pretty sure we’ve been described as every genre other than rap and techno haha! We’ve always been lumped into these weird genres!
So when it comes down to writing, who would you say your influences are?
Steve: Lots of different things! Structurally and stuff like that I like songs with standard structure, so like big choruses and stuff like that. Bands like KILLSWITCH ENGAGE play a bit of a presence on the new album, influences from SLIPKNOT are on there as well. But our songs are a bit more well-rounded with catchy choruses.
For example, the track Deadweight has a huge chorus. So is that going to be a running feature with your new record?
Steve: Yeah for sure! I don’t want to say it’s a more sing-a-long album but there are a lot more hooks! We tried to do that and make it have a bigger crowd participation.
So this year, HEART OF A COWARD have played at a variety of festivals from Download, Tech-Fest and Deadbolt for example. Has this been the height of this year for you?
Steve: Yeah it really has, we’ve been trying to get on some of the European festivals for a while now. We had a really good time at Resurrection Festival in Spain, it was my first time ever in Spain and the reaction was awesome! It’s been a massive highlight, being able to go to Europe and play these festivals but also playing the main stage at Download Festival! Bands rarely get to do that so it was incredible for us.
So when you have played abroad, how would you describe the European scene in comparison to the UK scene?
Steve: The scene in Europe seems to be quite interesting, they seem to have a lot of big weekend festivals. In Germany they have four or five big festivals without counting the smaller ones but people seem to be willing to travel out of their way of like three or four hours just to make it to a show. It’s a really big commitment for those people.
So do you have any other plans for the rest of 2015?
Steve: Just really going to be focusing on the album stuff really, we’ve been itching to get it out for months and it’s been put back by the label by a few months so we just really want to get it out now! We are at the end of the album cycle for Severance so we just want to hit it fresh!
Yeah, it seems that a lot of bands get into this habit of releasing albums every other year, with HEART OF A COWARD do you feel that you want to take a little bit longer to make each album better?
Steve: We’ve always written what has felt right at the time, we’ve always been like that. So I don’t know how it will develop but we will probably start writing again soon to be honest, I’m getting itchy and I just want to start writing again!
Well I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me, thank you
Steve: Thank you
Deliverance is set for release on October 2 via Century Media Records