Behind the Music: Interview with The Howl & The Hum

‘It’s difficult to plan anything at the moment, so we’re writing and recording all the time.’

With both their cover of The Weeknd’s track ‘Blinding Lights’, and the accompanying visuals out today, we chatted with The Howl & The Hum to discuss the story behind the release, and how they are keeping musically motivated.

Firstly, why did you choose Blinding Lights for a cover release? We love bangers. Hold the mash!

What led to you putting the artistic spin on the track that you did, rather than utilising the synths and sub-bass that feature in some of your tracks? We felt that that version had already been heard, and we’d never better the original. So with that in mind, we wanted to offer a version with a setup we’d been trying on some new songs: a post-punk, almost shoegazey sound that adds an anger to the song.

How did you go about deciding which elements you would include, and how they would be voiced? This was born out of too much energy, from too much coffee, and wanting to play good pop music very loudly!

What were the main differences between recording this live release and when you work in the studio? We didn’t overthink it, it was very much ‘Wham bam thank you mam!’ 

So is there anything you learnt from the process that you will take forward to future releases? I think not overthinking it is super important. We can get deep into the studio, then emerge from our weird little hole, and it sound like pure shite so it’s pretty rewarding to be immediately satisfied with the sound in the room.

Moving away from your cover release, what are the biggest factors that have led to your sound developing so much from your first single? Our minds wander when we’re listening to music. I guess one of our biggest flaws as a band is that we never really decided what genre we were. We never settled for one sound so we’re always shifting, but that keeps it interesting for us as creators, and hopefully does the same for the listener.

‘We’re more musically motivated now than at any point last year.’

I hear there are potentially a few more releases round the corner. Were these releases always planned, or a product of the current situation? It’s difficult to plan anything at the moment, so we’re writing and recording all the time. When something stands out, we hand it over to the gods of song who kiss it, and turn it from stone into audible waves.

So what can you tell us about them? They’ll be better than the album. Better than any album!

How important is it that the creative people artists work with have a shared vision? Very important, and communication is key. If it’s unspoken and you get angry or annoyed that the outcome doesn’t live up to expectations, the answer is almost always a lack of communication.

Turning to live performance, how has the need to shift tour dates affected your motivation for when live music can fully return? We’re more motivated now than at any point last year because we can still create new music in lockdown. It’s just that there isn’t a live industry right now. We miss everyone, and the cover release was our way of showing people what we’ve been up to, and how we’re keeping busy while we wait for the safest time to return.

Reflecting on the life of The Howl & the Hum, what has been your biggest learning curve to date? Having our own studio space to experiment with sound, and all of us learning how to use music software. It means we can all create and approach our music from different creative viewpoints.

And finally, what are your three go to albums, and why should others give them a spin? Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures: “because it sounds like nothing else!” The White Stripes – Elephant: “because it’s the best album ever!” The Fall – Hex Enduction Hour: “because it’s f-ing horrible!”

Thanks The Howl & The Hum for chatting with Listen to Discover
Photo credit: Tess Janssen

Find out more about The Howl & The Hum at:
Cover Track Review: The Howl & The Hum: Blinding Lights
Music Video Feature: The Howl & The Hum: Blinding Lights

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