A Catch Up With Heaters
Driving through the city, kebab pizzas and a not so comfortable floor. This is how we first met Heaters. Through a few messages from mutual friends it was arranged that they would be crashing on our floor for the night after their ferocious late night set closing Dot to Dot Festival in Bristol some three and a half thousand miles from their Michigan home. That was a mammoth six week tour across the UK and Europe, and now being back home we caught up with bassist and vocalist Nolan Krebs to see what's up.
Your new record Matterhorn comes out in October. How’s that writing and recording process been?
It was cool! We recorded the album at our friend Austin Kane’s studio called the Powder Room (RIP dude, I think his landlord just decided to sell the building or something) in Grand Rapids. It was where we recorded our first full-length, and I think the band and Austin have both come a long way in the couple of years since then, so it was cool to be there again.
We had March and April to finish writing and recording before leaving overseas for a six-week tour, so time was kind of tight. Our other guitarist bailed right before we started tracking, so we had that kind of gnarly setback, but just kept at it and ended up with something really cool. It was fun to write stuff with Ryan [Hagan guitar] who started playing with us last year. And my roommate at the time, Ben Taber [guitar], is a master shredder and stepped in to help us flesh out all the sketches we were working with going into recording.
Since starting in 2014 you release a hand full of EPs which you produced yourself, is that correct? What’s changed since then?
The first songs we put out were just recorded with one condenser mic on like a shitty two-track interface into GarageBand. It was really fun at the time to just write and record songs in your living room and put them up online - I miss that.
But the more you get into recording, the better you want it to be and the better you want it to sound, so we started working with other people and different studios. Now we usually track everything live in a studio to get the drums down, and then build everything from there.
When you’re pressing your albums to vinyl, there’s this long gap between finishing an album, having it mixed and mastered, and then finally pressed. It’s a much longer process, for better or worse.
Your live shows are very much like your records – loud and continuous. There’s not much space between songs, it seems to be the mind set of just get up and play, which is great. What’s it like in the studio?
When we’re playing live we try not to really stop during the set because it makes it more interesting I think, both for us and someone watching. We only get like 30-45 minutes to play so we might as well give it everything, you know? We like the challenge of trying to fit songs together so that they don’t really end, and I think it allows someone watching to kind of get more into it.
With recording though it’s much more of a stop-and-start production - revisiting parts and going back to augment them. It’d be cool to be a band that just tracks everything live and they’re done, but that’s not really our style.
Is there a lot of experimentation when you are in the studio or do you have more of a set plan and idea of what you want to produce?
This time around we did. Ben and I fucked around with a lot of different tones, like guitar/amp combos and weird pedal chains. It was fun, I think that’s one of the more rewarding parts of writing and recording. But yeah, I think we succeeded in finding some interesting sounds by way of trial and error.
You had a mammoth six week UK/EU tour earlier this year and you’ve recorded a new record. What have you been getting up to in your time off?
Everyone’s doing their own thing for now. The dudes are in Michigan and I’m living in Montreal. Ben is recording an album with his other band, Shiv, I think Ryan is at Disneyland at the moment, and I think Joshie [drums] is collecting new cymbals and comic books.
I’ve got a one-year old now so my days are spent with him, chillin' in the park and exploring the new neighbourhood, and working on music when he’s sleeping.
Now the band are split in location I wonder if geographically being apart brings a different vibe and different ideas when you meet?
Yeah, we just met up in Detroit for our first one-off show since tour - it was fun. I’m looking forward to gathering some ideas and then meeting up this winter or whatever to work on some shit.
With Matterhorn out after summer will this see Heaters hitting the road again? We’re looking forward to seeing you, promise we have a nicer place now…
Yeah dude, hopefully we’ll eat some more kebab pizza on your floor!
Finally, tell us what records you’ve had spinning or playing recently.
Heavy rotation this summer: The new stuff from Ariel Pink, Alvvays and Fleet Foxes, Julia Jacklin’s record, Hoops, the first couple of albums from Neu, Birth by Orb, TOPS, and this B-sides Beach House album.
The band have a new LP out, Matterhorn, on 20th October. Check out Séance below and pick up the pre order here.