The Howlers move on from living La Dolce Vita as they prepare to play Portsmouth Guildhall Studio
Desert rockers The Howlers will be playing their biggest show to date when they perform at the Guildhall Studio in frontman Adam Young’s home town.
The trio came together 18 months ago, but have been making influential fans as debut single La Dolce Vita picked up plays on Radio 1, Radio X & BBC Introducing, as well as positive press from Clash Magazine, Line of Best Fit and Northern Exposure.
Adam says: ‘We say we’re a London band, but I now live back here in Portsmouth.
‘We’ve been so well-received since we started playing here – we’ve done The Edge a couple of times, and a couple of festivals.
‘We got offered the studio gig and didn’t realise the significance of the size until after we’d confirmed it, and then it was like, “Oh…!” We always give 110 per cent though – as long as people turn up, it’s all good!’
The three met while studying at BIMM Institute in London.
Adam and bassist Gus ter Braak were on the same music management course, and also house-shared.
‘We’ve known each other since day one of uni, which was four years ago,’ says Adam.
‘We were writing stuff together back then, and to be honest, in those early days, what we were writing was horrendous.
‘We were listening to The Libertines a lot and just ripping them off,’ he laughs.
They recruited drummer Cam Black ‘because he had a cool haircut’, and things began to progress swiftly from there.
New single Matador is out on November 1, and they hope the swaggering song will help take them to the next level.
‘In such a short space of time, we’re closer to each other than some people we grew up with.
‘It’s only been a year-and-a-half since we started the band, so you can’t expect too much, but everything we have done has exceeded our expectations,’ adds Adam.
Both Adam and Gus were studying music business at university, which has stood them in good stead since.
‘We wanted to know the ins and outs so we didn’t get screwed over by people, and it has really helped, like when we signed our record deal and our publishing deal recently.
‘It’s meant we can look at contracts ourselves, we are quite fortunate we’ve got quite a few people behind us, and it’s saved us a few pennies!’
As Adam admits, their early songwriting efforts were derivative, but they soon found their own sound.
‘We always loved garage-rock and things like that, and when we got close with Cam, he’s always been all about that garage-rock scene.
‘When you learn to write songs, you tend to take the easiest route possible, because you haven’t mastered your craft yet.
‘With Libertines songs, there’s nothing too complicated about them, and from there we were drawn into the punky thing, and into the garage stuff we wanted to do, and by then we were proficient enough on our own craft to be able to write in that way.
‘From there, I’ve always had a thing for the imagery surrounding spaghetti westerns and that Tarantino-esque thing as well. That crept in with our debut single, La Dolce Vita – that was the first thing we wrote together.
‘It was named in honour of Cam’s old band who were called that. When he told me that, I really liked it and I thought: “I’ve got to use that somehow…”
New single Matador is a digital-only release, but Portsmouth-based cassette label Brutalist Records put out a tape of La Dolce Vita, while Rough Trade handled the vinyl.
‘My partner DJs with Sam (Brutalist’s founder) down at Huis – they take it in turns, so we know each pretty well.
‘For us it’s always been important to have people who believe in us with us, like family and friends, and that’s why Brutalist were involved.’
As to what’s next, the band have got a decision to make.
‘We’re sitting on a load of recordings at the moment. In January/February, we recorded seven or eight tracks, so we’ve got loads of material we’re slowly finishing off with a producer.
‘But at the same time we’re writing new material and it’s some of the best stuff we’ve ever written, so we’ve got this dilemma – do we put this older music out? Or bite the bullet and record this new music that’s more relevant to where we are now?
‘We’ve grown and developed so quickly that even what we did six months ago is now…’ Adam tails off, but it seems the future is bright for this band, whichever way they jump.
Support comes from Tom Bryan, Park View Estate and The Stone Birds.
Portsmouth Guildhall Studio
Thursday, October 24