From the underground music scene to the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury, INHEAVEN are the South London four-piece fiercely reviving 90s alt-rock music, dripping in nostalgic tones and transporting “the young romantics” to the bygone golden age of alternative rock.
Chloe, James, Joe and Jake make up the electrifying band whose self-titled debut album, has been creating shock waves in the music world.
Upon greeting the band I’m quickly coined as “the guy with the cool cameras”. Before we begin two eager fans approach the band with excitement, asking for them to sign their tickets, with Chloe darting to the front of the venue to find a pen.
The buzz; from meeting fans, recognising fans and releasing the debut truly translates into the atmosphere. “I can imagine getting addicted to releasing albums, we were buzzing for days and days.” James says, “Just from reading what people said about us, it’s just a great feeling, I can imagine that being quite addictive and wanting to do it all the time.”
The band’s infectious sound harkens back to early 90s alt-rock and grunge. “We all listen to old bands so it’s kinda like it doesn’t feel nostalgic for us, it feels like we’re just trying to do what all our favourite bands did.” Taking inspiration from the Counter-Culture movement of the 1960s as well as a plethora of music genres including 60s Motown (yep!) and of course music greats like Hole, Smashing Pumpkins and Led Zeppelin. “I do have to slap myself in the face a bit and look around at what they play on Radio 1 and be like actually yeah, I guess we are, in this world, kinda quite weird.
“I guess we’re quite nostalgic people and kind of romanticise those past scenes and wanted to recreate our own and it’s good people see that in our music”. This is clearly highlighted in the band’s latest video release for their song ‘Stupid Things’, which is a collection of memorable scenes from the band’s favourite movies and shows including The Graduate, Pretty in Pink and Freaks & Geeks.
The album came to life in Wales, in a place called Rockfield where the likes of Black Sabbath recorded their first few albums. “Carrying on that lineage is quite a nice feeling,” the band lush, and working with Tom Dalgety, noted of course for his impeccable work in rock music having produced Royal Blood, The Maccabees and Pixies, all adds to the final body of work. Which saw fan-favourite, ‘Bitter Town’, and Julian Casablancas favourite ‘Regeneration’ re-recorded to help give the album a more cohesive sound.
Feeling the history in the air impacted on the record, and the drums especially had a revamp. “I was like sat there and like the inspiration, just knowing who played in that room, made me play better,” Joe exclaims, his excitement showing as we get into discussion on microphone and production techniques on the album, “I remember Tom was saying while we were micing up that he met Jimmy Page and Jimmy Page said to him ‘I love the drum sound on the Royal Blood album, how did you mic it?’ and was like, ‘well first of all, how did you mic up John Bonham’s kit, I wanna know how you did that’ and he gave him microphone techniques and he said to me that he was using the three-room mic technique for the kick, so he used that on the album.” he adds.
While the album may seem nostalgic to some in sound, due to its composition and added use of old analogue gear, it highlights some very important issues that our world faces in modern day. Including a certain tangerine coloured president. Though not directly, the song ‘World On Fire’ uses interesting lyrics such as “He’ll build a wall and kill them all, until he’s the last one standing tall” to highlight the concerns the band has.
“I just don’t think you can be a band in 2017 and not have a say on anything that’s going on in the world,” Chloe states. “But I do also think there’s a fine line between being preachy and saying this is my view and this is the right view, because that’s not necessarily true. But hopefully we try and be a little bit ambiguous, this is kind of what we think, you don’t have to think that too.”
The knack is in interpretation, of which the songs are completely welcome to. “I think nowadays, it does feel like the world is crumbling and there’s like a horrific thing happening nearly every day. So I think not to reflect it somehow in your music would just not be cool.
You have to turn people’s heads and you have to express how you feel about these things.” She continues, pointing out the potential flaws or image of the music industry and explaining how many are scared to speak up. “Especially like Taylor Swift hasn’t even said that she doesn’t like him because most of her fanbase are Trump supporters. She’s like a Republican sweetheart isn’t she? She’s this ex-country music star and she’ll lose all these millions of dollars if she doesn’t support him. I don’t think that’s okay.”
It starts to become clear how aware the band are of current issues and how strongly opinionated they can be but yet still remain respectful of others points of view and how they themselves aspire to a reach a level, professionally, where they can really shake things up.
“I’ve always loved bands who were big without losing any of their integrity.” James says, referencing Nirvana and REM, “They had really social and political meanings behind all their songs and yet they were still part of the mainstream.” It’s their biggest dream, to shake things up and still be at a level.
I have no doubt they will succeed.
The band’s energy both in person and on the stage is unparalleled so expect mosh-pits and hoards fans climbing onstage to join them at their live shows. While the band revel in their success as possibly the most exciting up and coming band in the UK right now and with potential American tour dates happening in the near future, we can only expect bigger and better things to come for these charismatic rock stars.
Words by Tom Kirby