Brit alt-rock band Deaf Havana have never shied away from being a group of sonic evolution. From debut album Meet Me Halfway, at Least to recent record Rituals, their musicality has managed to merge post-hardcore with anthemic pop to produce a unique identity, somewhere as a hybrid between the two. The band now have five full-length albums under their belts (besides 2019’s Live at Brixton Academy offering) and a hectic touring schedule, which sees these Norfolk natives return to the UK later this year for a tour in support of non-profit charity War Child. We spoke to Deaf Havana’s bassist Lee Wilson backstage at Gunnersville Festival, to discuss making their Gunnersville debut, the Rituals album cycle and the band’s future plans. 

We’re currently here at Gunnersville Festival, which is a brand new festival. How exciting is it to be on the line-up for a festival in its very first year? 

It’s good to play a festival where we pretty much know all the bands. We’ve been lucky enough to share the stage with pretty much every single band on the bill. We’ve supported Jimmy Eat World in Europe, had The Maine support us back in 2014, played with You Me At Six many times, they are basically our best friends so we are looking forward to playing this festival.

It’s actually quite a strange festival because normally festivals are an outdoor event and this one is obviously all under a tent, so it’s actually quite nice to play an all-day festival which is under a tent. I think that the atmosphere is a lot better, so we’re looking forward to playing.

Following on from this being your first time at Gunnersville Festival, are there any surprises in store for your performance today or are you generally carrying through your setlist you’d usually take to festivals? 

We’ve been on tour in Japan, Asia and Australia so we’re just basically picking some of the songs that we feel that are best suited for this slot. It’s going to be quite an upbeat set.

In terms of the band’s music, it has been a big year for the Rituals album cycle. The LP is another musical leap forward from previous releases, something the fans have welcomed with open arms. How does this feel knowing there is this massive support system for the album and the band in general? 

Initially, we weren’t expecting everyone to come to grips with the change because the album is quite poppy. But we have quite a solid fanbase anyway, so we’re actually quite lucky that they gave it a chance. But if you come and see us live, it’s much more heavier than you would expect it to be.

Talking of albums, 2019 saw Deaf Havana release Live at Brixton Academy. Other than this being such a huge milestone show for any artist, how did the decision come about to record a live album for this date in particular? 

If we ever get the opportunity to do a live record, we always jump at that opportunity and we felt that Brixton was a milestone for us like every band. So we used that to our advantage, we filmed some of it, we recorded it so we thought we would just release a live version of the Brixton gig.

You guys are hitting the road for a UK tour later this year in support of War Child which is fantastic. You’ve worked with the organisation before, what made you guys want to continue this partnership? 

War Child are such a great charity and we always want to support children that aren’t as lucky as we are. It’s basically just because we want to help other people when we can. It’s good to use our platform in a positive way to help other people.

Finally, are there any future plans in store at the moment for after the Rituals run comes to a close?

We have got one more tour in the UK and we’re playing a few more shows in Germany and then I think we’ll go quiet for a bit, start writing and potentially start a new cycle whenever it comes together. The plan is to all get-together and flesh out an album, because Rituals was a bit backwards in terms of the way we wrote everything. It’s going to be nice to go back and get to grips with being in the studio and record everything together too.

Interview by: Katie Conway-Flood 

Katie Conway-Flood
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