It’s ten years since they got together and the Demob Happy boys have something to say that’s a little less Dream Soda and a little more Holy Doom.
Which is lucky because the latter is the title of their second seventies-influenced album which packs a psychedelic Strawberry Fields feel, some light, heavy metal and a cool vibe – quite a few genres packed into one explosive album.
Singer and bassist Matthew Marcantonio of the English alternative rock band talks to Susie Daniels about veggy haggis and gentlemen’s agreements.
How well do you boys know each other?
We’ve known each other and been in the band for around ten years. When we go to this little cottage in Wales to write out in the middle of this field you can really concentrate.
Unless you know people that well you wouldn’t do that. We almost don’t need to say words and other times we’re p***ing around and joking.
We all try to make each other laugh. You can get cabin fever and start to lose all sense of time. We can wake up late and jam to 4am.
Where do you go to holiday and relax – not the cottage in Wales…?
No not Wales! Italy. I’m from a big family who are from Italy. I’d go to Tuscany or outside Rome where my family’s from. It’s beautiful.
Dream Soda is such an uplifting name for a debut album. How did you arrive at Holy Doom for the follow-up album?
For one reason or another a lot of songs had a sense of duality, the struggle between good and evil.
There are aggressive sounding guitars and sweet harmonies. We’re not trying to hide from the darkness and depression. The title of the album was from an old song title we didn’t know if we were going to use on the album.
What musical era was the biggest influence on this album?
There’s a seventies influence in the album. A few things we identified early on when we were writing.
Influences like The Beatles, ZZ Top and Peter Green from Led Zepplin, some Fleetwood Mac and more
modern rock like Queens of the Stone Age.
We write what makes us happy and in the end it was choosing songs we wanted to make.
Sonically there is a swaggy sound. We didn’t want to write the same sound twice we wanted to have variation.
What have the last few years been like for the band?
2016 and 2017 were quite tumultuous years. There were relationship breakdowns and when we started we weren’t even sure if our label was going to put out any more of our records.
We were slaving away trying to make things happen.
We started writing again early 2017 and made a decision to not be as brave and speak out on things that made us uncomfortable.
Musically, with our first album we wanted to find a way of opening doors because we had grown emotionally and our music element had become less consistently rock and we had opened doors to the softer side. We wanted to be unafraid of doing that and to have extremes spinning out. Holy Doom is softer and wider.
Are you still gigging in the basement of your brother’s place – The Nowhere Cafe?
We don’t have that space any more but we did have it for the first sessions and we did loads of stuff there.
For money reasons we tried to run it as rehearsal studios but it ended up getting turned into a tattoo parlour.
I used to work in the cafe and so did a couple of the lads.
We were always in and out of the fridge (laughs). It was like a gentleman’s agreement!
Ever think of turning it into a programme similar to Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast but with music artists popping in?
We toyed with the idea of doing something else. I’d like to get Paul McCartney down some time to do an acoustic set. I’d love to see him playing.
The Beatles have been a huge influence on me and other guys. They’ve been an influence on everyone! Saying you don’t like The Beatles is like saying you don’t like air. They’ve created so many genres.
Demob Happy’s new album Holy Doom is out on March 23rd. The band play Glasgow’s Broadcast on April 8th.