Southwest heroes Haunt The Woods have been going from strength to strength amassing an army of followers across the UK. With the imminent launch of their latest album, they decided to put on a special preview show for their fans at the Plymouth Pavilions.
With band members Olly & Jack being dBs Music Alumni, the event offered a great opportunity for some collaboration with current dBs Music students on our BA (Hons) Live Sound degree who provided technical support and engineered for both the rehearsals at dBs Live/The Hub and the main event. We caught up with the band before their show to learn more about how it all started, some career highlights along the way and their experience studying at dBs Music.
How did you all meet and end up forming the band?
"Phoenix and I met at a house party. I was 17 at the time and had a solo project. I was looking for other members to form a band and go on tour, someone introduced me to Phoenix. We hit it off and organised a jam session. Things went well and we carried on from there." - John Stafford, vocals/guitar.
"My parent's knew John and Phoenix's parents and had heard about them playing together. At the time, things were really starting to progress with my music so at another house party I was introduced to John and Phoenix. We organised a practice session and ended up forming the band. Jack and I were friends from school and used to do a lot of cycling together when we were kids. More recently Jack happened to be working at Livewire and helped engineer an E.P. for John. At that time there was another bass guitarist who had just left. Jack asked for an audition, we had a full band session that went really well, so Jack got the job! - Olly Bignell, drums.
How did you get your break in the music industry?
Our first break was when we met our previous manager Sam. He had already achieved success working with big labels like RCA, Sam guided guided us in the right direction. He booked all of our early shows, coached us with our music and taught us how to manage our interpersonal relationships. Sam helping us and believing in what we did gave us a huge confidence boost as a band.
You spent a month at Middle Farm Studio recording your debut album, what was it like recording there?
It was an incredible experience, Pete Miles (studio owner and lead engineer) has been a massive influence. Aside from the band members, Pete has been our biggest creative influence. It would be worth spending a month with him just to lean about life. The studios are a wonderful space. With them being relatively cut off, it really helped us get in the creative zone. There is a residential part of the studio that we stayed in. Going there was almost like a holiday, well a holiday where you come home with an amazing album!
For the fans who are eager to hear it, what can people expect from the new album?
Big, phat (with a P) and incredible. The pinnacle of our work so far. This album has more of a theatrical element and also moves back towards the sound of our earlier E.P. 'The Line'. Our first release was 'The Line', we followed up with 'Circle' which was more experimental. 'Circle' helped us to realise the original vibe from 'The Line' was better, so we have made a return to that sound.
Two of you were former students with dBs Music, what courses did you study?
How did studying at dBs Music help you along the way?
Following a strong reference from one of the dBs Music tutors, Jack was lucky enough to get a job at Time and Space. Even after we left dBs Music, they have been so helpful, supporting us whenever possible especially at live gigs in the Plymouth/ Southwest area. They have provided equipment, monitoring engineers and live sound students to help with the sound at our gigs.
Any advice for people thinking about studying at dBs Music?
Do it, just do it. We both had a really good time there. We were able to gain a wealth of knowledge in so many areas both technical and industry related. We also meet so many good people. One of the biggest benefits, aside from all of then things you learn, is the people you meet, the contacts you make. All of these have lead to so many things including some great gigs.
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