INHEAVEN: "We want the name to mean something bigger than just us"
Welcome to the new wave of 2017.
Published: 8:58 am, December 27, 2016
Every year is the same. as the start of another twelve-month cycle comes around, the new band tips begin. Who will shift the most units? Who is the ‘priority act’? Who has the biggest budget? But this year, this year might be a bit different. A group of young bands and artists have been gaining momentum over the past couple of years. Here is when they’re set to come of age. Prepare for something special. Prepare for... the New Wave of 2017. Over the next few days you'll be able to find out more about some of our top picks for the year ahead, or find out more in the latest issue of Dork, right here.
This year has been filled with far too many lows, far too many moments that beggar belief in a terrifying manner, and far too many moments of regret. What we need now is a band willing to drown out everything we've seen - to distill all that pent up emotion, frustration and fear into a mixture that'll take on the world. For that, we've got INHEAVEN.
If 2016 has been a plunge into darkness, then INHEAVEN are certainly the beacon of light burrowing through the mess. Colouring in the shades of life with a rainbow sculpted vision of life, love and vibrant energy, INHEAVEN are the band that aren’t just packed with bangers but vital for here and now.
"We wanna make people feel something, we want people to live and die by us,” explains co-frontman, James Taylor. "We want kids to have the same feeling we had when we were younger when we went to gigs, that feeling that you can do anything. There's definitely a message behind everything we do, I think it's important to - especially now in this day and age, it's a mental time to be alive and I think if no one else is going to fucking speak out then y'know, we should.”
What’s hit over the past twelve months is more than any words could put to paper. It’s been the seeding and origin of a band brimming with confidence, aiming for the stars and refusing to look down. Combining the sounds of decades past into one conjoined library of immediate anthems and swinging live sermons, INHEAVEN have built the foundations for what a band should and have to be in the modern world - and they’re reaping the rewards. Sold out shows, hysterical scenes and a cult following has seen them become the next great phenomenon, and we can’t wait to see it flourish.
"We’ve basically just been in the back of a van haven’t we really?” notes James, looking around at his bandmates as they savour a rare night away from the stage in South London. "2016 has been a lot of touring, a lot of gigs and well, the rise of the mosh at our gigs which is amazing. There’s been a lot more chaos at our shows which has just been the best feeling ever.”
2016 has certainly been the moment the band became more than a blog-based fantasy. It's the moment where they took the dreams and visions they'd been morphing in flats and studios, and placed them firmly in the live world. When you see a band live and they change your life it's something truly magical, and that feeling is the essential ingredient for any INHEAVEN show. It's not just a band in a room playing away, but a band aiming to take your mind and throw it right down the field for a touchdown and scoring every time.
Headlining their own shows, touring with the likes of Jamie T and Yak and playing these festivals they grew up admiring from afar, it’s been a landmark year. "We’ve really learnt our craft from playing gigs, this year we’ve really got the momentum and seen those kids jumping around and going crazy,” recalls James. "We just love touring, if we could tour for the rest of our lives then we’d be happy - it’s one of the best things being able to go to all these places. There’s nothing better than that for us.”
It's been a journey that's organically sprouted from lives dedicated to creating music, art and independent dreams, kicking into life when co-vocalists and band leaders James Taylor and Chloe Little took the mantle, building on their own creativity and birthing not only a band but an outlet for their own thoughts and creations.
"It started off with me and Chloe,” James tells. "Chloe made this little clip, before anything, and she left me at home with this clip, and the whole aesthetic of it was something that we loved, and it led to the first track that we ever made which was ‘Regeneration’.
"Chloe came back and thought, ‘What the fuck is this?’ And so we then put the track over the video and that became the first INHEAVEN video, if you will. From then we put up a video a week on this weird website…”
"Which then had secret videos hidden within it,” interjects Chloe. "It had alternate versions of the songs we had, which I don’t think anyone saw.”
"Well, someone saw I guess,” replies James. "We ended up taking the website down and thought nothing of it, but then we got an email a few months later from Rory Atwell, who mixed the track, who forwarded this email from Cult Records who were saying: ‘Me and Julian [Casablancas] love the track, where is it, who is this band, we need to release this!’”
"They had no idea who we were,” exclaims Chloe.
For James, it's a mind-blowing moment. "The thing is we'd taken it down, so they must have been brewing on it for weeks.”
Equally, the significance of it all isn't lost on Chloe. "He must have heard it and been thinking about if for a while - he just couldn't find it anywhere which probably helped make it more appealing, looking for this mystery track.”
It was the match that set the fire going for INHEAVEN (or Blossom, as they were known at the time), inciting the confidence to push on with the genre-bending anthem-making sounds that had naturally come through with a track that encapsulated the unifying themes which they keep to right up to this day.
"I don’t think we’ve really said how much it meant to us,” explains James. "It did really mean the world to us. I idolised Julian Casablancas growing up, and The Strokes are everything to me, so it was a big deal, full stop.”
From there the world was their playground, bringing in drummer Jack McDruwer and guitarist Jake Lucas to complete a force aimed squarely at heading high. Locking into the influences and vibes emanating from the various corners of the band, INHEAVEN was well and truly born.
James looks back at that time with a degree of appreciation as well as sheer surprise as to how it all lined up. "When I think about it, it was all pretty mental how that all happened - you couldn't write it, it was just mental.
"We all locked in together and it’s mutated into something else. I think now it feels like we’re fully-formed and everyone is bringing in their own elements and their own influences and becoming better because of it.”
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What INHEAVEN have managed to tap into, is something above and beyond simply the music they create. Aside from the huge highs and spiralling melodic punches of ‘Regeneration’ and ‘Bitter Town’, they’re focused on creating something more than that. Something larger, more meaningful and more impactful - the sort of aura that draws you in and transports you to every facet and corner of their imaginations. It’s a journey not only into a band, but into an idea.
"It's nice actually,” elaborates James. "You use all these platforms to extend your world, if y'know what I mean? It's kind of like another version of our songs, our live shows, of our fanzines, or our videos - we're trying to express everything we do through everything we use.
"You have to really. At first when we started the band we thought it was all bullshit and had the whole ‘it’s all about the music’ mentality, but now it’s probably the most important aspect of what we do.”
"Nobody represents what's in your head better than you do,” notes Chloe. "I'd like to think that we'd always do our own artwork, videos and fanzines. It comes from every idea we've ever had - even if we couldn't afford it, we've always managed to do it and get it together some way because we've just done it ourselves.”
"It came out of necessity really,” comments James. "We’ve never gone out of our way to do it ourselves but we’ve just had to in the end and we’ve got better at doing that. It’s jumping in the deep end and seeing what happens and that’s kinda been our mentality all the way through. Somehow it’s come together really well.”
For James, it comes as part of a vision that the band have believed in since day one, grabbing that feeling of seeing a band live, investing in everything they’ve got. It’s the feeling in the gut of your stomach when you’re queuing up to see a band you’ve been listening to for years, about witnessing a moment that transcends here and now. INHEAVEN trade in those kind of realities, and they’ve got the full package to back it up.
"We’ve always wanted to create our own world,” lays out James. "We want the name INHEAVEN to mean something bigger than just us, bigger than the people in it - and I think we’re close to it. You see all these kids that are so invested in us and we’re seeing it pay off - like we put ‘Treats’ out only a few week ago and already we have people asking us where the vinyl is, about the artwork and when they can get it. It’s amazing.”
That world has well and truly come to life, and it’s only set to get bigger. Dipped in different flavours of music history, INHEAVEN can be perfectly sampled as a melting pot of all things punchy - whether that’s the urgent Hives-esque stomp of ‘Baby’s Alright’, the mid-90s grunge sweetness of ‘Drift’ or the Britpop on steroids kick of latest track ‘Treats’ - any sense of boundaries is out the window.
For James, it’s a result of the times and lives we all live right here and now. "I think we’re examples of the Spotify generation where it’s like every song you listen to is in a playlist or is from a different decade - we really grew up listening to everything at once.”
"We’re all big music fans,” explains drummer Jack McDruwer. "We’re not just people who play instruments and focus on that, we all love different types of music and it shows.”
"That’s it,” replies James. "It comes from listening to shit loads of music on the internet, as opposed to a straight record collection - which we all have - but the internet has opened up all these doors which certainly comes through in what we create.”
Sitting on the cusp of greatness, INHEAVEN are ready to paint the world into their own portrait masterpiece. Taking stock of a year that has brought everything they dreamed of into life, they’re a band waiting at the starting blocks - and there’s nobody that can stop them.
"It’s been a load of little stepping stones along the way, but it’s all coming together now,” says James. "Next year is going to be massive, releasing that album. I’m a huge fan of The Ramones and I would love for us to release an album a year if we were allowed to. We’ve just kept writing and coming back with more tracks so we’ve never actually planned it.”
"It’s a big deal,” notes Chloe. "We’ve worked on it for such a long time, so it’s really exciting that we’ll be putting it out.”
"And there are so many great new bands out there at the moment,” outlines James. "It feels like a real burgeoning scene and I think there's going to be a moment next year which tips it over. There's not been so many great new bands around for a long time, so it's really exciting to be a part of that.”
If 2016 on Earth has been a struggle, then let’s start again with INHEAVEN. The future stars here, and it means more than it ever has before.
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