Heriot: We’d have been at Download had they booked us or not as we all had tickets

Heriot were going to be at Download 2022 whatever happened. After all, the Birmingham/Swindon hybrid had bought tickets for 2020’s postponed festival and their tickets had rolled over for 2022.

Only difference this time in comparison to their last visit to the hallowed turf of Donington Park in 2019, is that they were on the Dogtooth Stage blasting out tracks from their bone rattling EP Profound Morality, rather than drinking cider in the sun and cheering on their own favourite bands.

“It’s mad but it was scary too,” laughs guitarist Erhan Alman. “I think it caught us off guard a little bit as we went away to get a beer before we played and then we walked through and there were so many people there when we peeked through the curtain. It was ridiculous, so packed. We were all feeling pretty good about it ’til then and then the nerves came.”

Drummer Julian Gage chimed in: “There was probably a 20-second window of panic when we all looked at each other and wondered if we were actually going to pull this off. I felt a bit sick when we got the one minute call, but after the first song we were fine. It was ace. We had expectations but it exceeded all of those and we are very grateful to see so many people come out for our little band.”

Heriot are one of Britain’s fastest rising and hardest slugging, heavier than hell bands, who are renowned for a live show which will leave you gasping for air and with your ears tingling with joy. Now the Download hordes have seen Heriot up close and personal, but how was it for the band themselves?

“We were ecstatic when we were asked to play and it’s been such a long build up to this day, now it has happened we are trying to let it sink in. It’ll never get old and if we ever play here again it’ll always be special,” smiled bassist and vocalist Jake Packer. “We were going to do a first set on the Thursday night, we were offered it, but we chose not to do it as we had band practice to get ready for our main festival slot.

“We got a little bit of a circle pit going which is what I really wanted. We got everyone involved and people didn’t expect a band on that stage at that time to draw that kind of crowd. I don’t think we will process it all till we get home.”

Heriot’s latest EP Profound Morality has had a huge response from the UK metal community, and reviews of their eight-track slab of heavy hitting anthems has been compared to a hybrid of Code Orange and The Chariot, but the band reveal their sound comes from a wide range of influences.

“Korn, Deftones are big influences but we all like very different stuff,” explained Gage. “Me and Deb are on the metal and hardcore kind of side and the others are on the nu-metal and 2000s stuff so we are a good mix.”

“The reception to the EP has been really good,” picked up Packer. “Loads of people have been listening to it and enjoying it, which is all we can ask for. We like it. We wrote it over a week and we nailed down with a few beers for a week and had good fun and what came out was good.”

But where does playing Download sit on their career CV?

“We have come to Download so many times over the years. We were at the last one before lockdown in 2019 and Alman has been every year since 2013. It’s one of those moments to be on the other side of the barrier and on stage is a dream. We would be here anyway,” smiled Packer.

“I actually still had a ticket rolled over from 2020. We are staying the whole weekend too and making the most of Download and having a good time,” continued Alman.

The final word went to a grinning Gage, who added: “This is the highlight by a mile of the past 12-months. Playing Download is top, then followed by our release show which was great. We had hoped it would be good but then it sold out and was just insane. Nice to finally see people coming out and enjoying it.”

Written by: Eric Mackinnon 

Eric Mackinnon
Long time journo who sold his soul to newspapers to fund his passion of following rock and metal bands around Europe. A regular gig-goer, tour-traveller and festival scribe who has broken stories of some of the biggest bands in the world and interviewed most. Even had a trifle with Slash once. Lover of bourbon, 80's rock and is a self-confessed tattoo addict.