Interview with Haven

Glasswerk has met up with Haven in the their celestial Manchester home, the Night and Day Café. A spare fifteen minutes between load in and sound-check have been grabbed, and Gary Briggs with the help of Iwan, Nat and Jack, is eager to talk.

It must be good being back in familiar surroundings… back on your own turf.
Playing here at Night and Day, it’s something we’ve always done and we want to keep doing. We’re getting ready for a full album tour around Easter so it’s great to come back here for a gig. This place is so important to us. It’s where we got our record deal and the whole process started. I don’t know if we would have got the deal if we hadn’t had so many gigs here. It was where we hung out as well when we first got to Manchester. It’s a very creative spot. Everyone around here is doing something and it’s good to be around people like that

Have you been back here much?
On and off, but as of next week we’re back rehearsing here again. There are a lot of local bands that we’ve been hearing good things about so it will be good to check them out

The new album represents a marked maturity from Between the Senses but are you happy with it? Would you change anything on it?
Well we’re happy with it so far! There’s very much an emphasis on songs that are appropriate for playing live. There’s an energy that we generate playing live, that we wanted to get on to the record. We feel that we have done that. This album was largely ironed out in America and Europe with sound-checks where we tried out new ideas and that comes across on the record.

Is that anything to do with working with Johnny Marr and Dave Eringa?
Its funny, we met Dave Eringa and were hanging out with him and were thinking of meeting producers and basically seeing if anyone turned us on. At that time Johnny was really busy doing his own thing and we didn’t want to be a distraction to him So we hung out with him and after the first songs he did with us, it was really obvious to us that they were right for him.

So did you single him out for what you thought he could do for yourselves?
Yeah. We were all really impressed with the sound on the Idlewild record. He did the job really well. He managed to maintain a lot of the beauty without compromising their edge. For us, we were really happy with his work. The album has got a really good mix.

So how are the new songs different?
I think they stand up a lot more on their own rather than just being part of an albums sound. With Between the Senses there was definitely a sort of theme to the album. You get rehearsing and you fall into the trap of all the songs having the same sort of attitude. Last night in Glasgow they went down really well, but The scottish fans are always really up for it anyway!

Commercially speaking do you feel you’re ready to launch into the mainstream?
Yeah, we’ll take whatever come our way. We have already played in so many countries and done so much but we never really set out to do anything… apart from conquering the world we havn’t really got a plan!

So is everything ready to go for the new tour?
We were really upset that we couldn’t get out last year, but the condition that Nat came down with meant we couldn’t. But in a way it is good, I feel we gained time as opposed to lost it. A lot of writing came out of that period and the plan is to be back in the studio later this year on the back of it. The gap between “Between the Senses” and the new album gives the impression that we go away and make an album then we go and play it then we go and write then we go and record etc… but we’re not that kind of band. We’re always creating and progressing and it really fucked with our heads that we couldn’t get it out quickly enough. We like recording as we go along as well. When Joe (Moss) has got some free time we’ll record a track and move on. It’s a nice way to do it… keep it fresh.

Are you happy with the way the band is perceived at the moment. Would you change your image at all?
Right now, we havn’t got an album out, we just want to see people going home having had a really good time at our shows. It’s quite a nervous time for us because it’s the first time we’ve played these songs to anyone. But you won’t see us stumbling out of bars in London pissed and fighting with photographers, or in the news because of a smack problem. It’s not our style. We’re not gonna jump through hoops and do things that are unnatural just to get more attention to ourselves.

Finally, what have you got on your i-pod right now?
I’ve got some pretty cool Donovan records. Not his folky stuff but rock n roll songs like cosmic wheels. He’s got these really cool gospel singers on it that are really happening.

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