I caught up with Rev (guitar) and Blacky (vocals) of The Howling at Takedown Festival last weekend! It was an absolute pleasure to catch up with two fifths of The Howling – the band that has everyone talking, and who were, quite frankly, so cool that I could barely string two words together to speak to them…
You’re supporting Cradle of Filth at AltFest later this year. Was that expected, or did it come out of the blue
Rev: Totally unexpected! We were actually booked for the festival last year, and we were really impressed with the billing. It’s not really a genre we associate with, so it will be interesting to play to that kind of crowd and we’re looking forward to getting involved and seeing how we go down with that sort of audience.
Blacky: I think it will work as our performance is quite full on, so I think it will go down well.
Rev: Our performance will certainly bring a different element to the festival.
You’ve just signed to Transcend Music, with Rob Ferguson…
Blacky: Rob seems like a good guy, we get some good vibes from him. He’s going the same way as us, he believes in the band.
Rev: I think we’ll work well together and he’s building a good team round us, which we’re really excited about.
So, it’s all happening?
Blacky: The last few weeks have been a game changer with the new team.
Rev: As soon as the rain stopped and the sun came out, things started happening.
Well, everyone’s happier when the sun shines! Tell me about your connections with Kasabian and Noel Fielding...
Rev: We’ve been mates with the boys for a long time, particularly Kasabian but we never pushed the band on to them because we’re mates. We go down the pub and have a drink together and hang out! They invited us out to Amsterdam to play with them and it went down a storm - we have a lot of respect for them, the way they are as people and their work ethic.
Blacky: It’s really refreshing, it’s quite family orientated back stage... they still have fun but it’s a really cool vibe.
Rev: They’re really good lads and Noel’s just a legend.
Blacky: We’ve been mates with Noel for quite a long time really. He likes the band and we obviously love what he does.
One thing that stands out about live performances from The Howling is the crowd surfing - any mishaps come of that?
Blacky: Couple of gropings! That’s the reason we go out crowd surfing, is the groping…!
Rev: There’s the odd occasion when you go out a little bit too far and you don’t realise that your lead’s not that long and you get yanked back. I’ve fallen off stage a few times but I’ve styled it out.
Blacky: It’s better than standing nodding your head throughout the set.
And who is the best band that you’ve toured with?
Rev: Kasabian, for me. The Paradiso show was one of the best things I’ve ever played and the whole experience was mega.
Blacky: I liked going on tour with Rise to Remain and the Buckcherry dates were a good laugh.
Rev: We did some great shows with Volbeat last year, Brixton Academy was another level for us really.
Blacky: Kasabian were probably the best!
Have you got a release date yet for ‘The Big Smoke and Mirrors’?
Blacky: Not for the album, but the first single is out on 18 May. We’re on tour with Feed The Rhino round the universities at the start of May and then we’ve got a few press pieces lined up. After the single’s come out we’re off to the Camden Rocks Festival (playing at the Underworld) and Download, where we’re on before Sikth on the Red Bull stage on the Saturday night. Andy Copping (Download organiser) is a great guy and he’s really into the band – we’ve got a lot of respect for him.
What’s’ the best thing about doing what you do?
Blacky: It’s the best job in the world, just hanging around with your mates and having fun. We’re pretty much doing it full time now as things are really starting to kick off. You can never compare the feeling on stage to anything, hearing the songs being sung back.
Rev: I love the travelling, love getting out and going to new places, experiencing new things. The maturity of this band means we take a lot in when we go to places and make sure we really get the experience out of it and just really enjoy it. There are no egos or hassle in the band.
If you had to sum up the feeling of standing in front of a crowd of people who are all singing the lyrics back to you, how would you describe it?
Blacky: It’s euphoric, to be honest. Take the best moment of your life when someone’s made you extremely happy, it’s like that. Not all the time, just a certain moment in the set when you get it for a few seconds; it’s awesome.
Rev: It’s the adrenaline, particularly after last year’s Download festival because it was the best response we’d ever had, the best gig we’d ever done collectively as a band.
Blacky: I feel quite proud too, as me and Rev have built this up from scratch - we had the idea, then we built the music around it. To go from one idea in the room, to seeing people get it and understanding what we’re trying to do, to rock is awesome.
What’s the worst thing about it?
Rev: When your tour manager makes you get up early in the morning, even though you know they’ve got a three hour contingency built in!
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Blacky: I come from a singer/songwriter background; I was brought up on people like Paul Simon and I like people like Daniel Johnston, things that are true lyrically to what’s going on.
Rev: I’m more into personalities and the iconography of particular people like Sid Vicious, Slash, those kinds of old school, hard rocking legends.
If you could record an album with any band, alive or dead, who would you choose?
Rev: I’d choose The Prodigy (Rev played guitar for The Prodigy in 2007). They were a massive influence on me, getting the electronic side of things into this band. They really are just legendary people and musicians.
Blacky: I think the Stone Roses for me, because they depicted my generation, changed how people thought and bought a lot of people together. They made me want to start doing music.
Anything else you’d like to say before I let you go?
Rev: Check out the tour dates on our Facebook page and the single is out on 18 May. Keep your eyes peeled!
Photos: Jules McGowan