Tom Ogden on Deaf Havana's Rebirth and New Album: "When Everything You've Worked for is Taken Away, it's Heartbreaking."
When All These Countless Nights drops on January 27th, it will mark more than just a new album release for Deaf Havana, but also the product of a new beginning. Rewind a couple of years and you'll find the band at their lowest point, struggling to communicate with one another and as drummer Tom Ogden puts it, feeling like they were in an unhealthy relationship. But when they took some time apart, they realized just how much Deaf Havana meant to them, and All These Countless Nights, the new album which showcases the band at their best was born! The journey wasn't always easy, as Ogden explained to us recently, but it was well worth the hard work and perseverance. Read all about the band's journey and the new album below!
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
You guys are getting ready to release All These Countless Nights this month! What are you most excited for listeners to hear on the new album?
I'm excited for people to hear how we've developed as musicians, and how the songwriting has progressed. We recorded a lot of the album live, so we've managed to capture that vibe of 5 people playing music together, and I think it really shines through on the record.
Before the writing of All These Countless Nights, you were about ready to call it quits as Deaf Havana. Can you tell us a little bit about the journey from then until now? What has changed since then?
Yeah, well we basically did call it quits, but we didn't really tell each other. We all started acting up, and being difficult, it was a horrible environment to be in. The only way I can describe it is wanting to break up from a relationship, but instead of having the courage to do it, acting like a total dick so the other person breaks it off instead. We had to really take a step back from music and decide what we all wanted to do collectively and individually. It turns out when everything you've worked for is taken away, it's heartbreaking. So we all started meeting up again, talking, writing, jamming. It was pretty cool. Then we started looking into who we wanted to work with and slowly we got to where we are today, and I'm incredibly thankful we went through that rough patch. It's made us all appreciate this band, and music in general a lot more.
You’ve mentioned before that this album is your most creative yet. What inspired you the most when working on the album?
I think that break we took to kind of discover what we wanted made this album what it is. As a drummer I didn't really want to play any more, so I didn't for about a month. Then I began to miss it, so I got lessons, took some drum exams, and when we came round to finally recording ATCN I was a far better musician than when we recorded Old Souls. I think that happened with everyone, especially James's songwriting. Previously we've only written exactly enough songs for an album, but this time we had like 30 to chose from, and develop. Developing songs and pre production was a pretty important part of this record, for sure.
What was the most difficult part about working on it? The most rewarding?
Some parts of recording are always frustrating. I find it hard when I think I've played fine, and Adam (our producer) would ask me to do it again, or say I can do it better. The was one particular song on this album, Pretty Low, that has a triplet feel throughout, and in order to capture that live, we had to really play on the grid together. We did manage to get it, but it was harder because it was slightly different to anything we'd played before. I'm glad we did it though, because the songs always turned out better in the end. Adam was an amazing guy to work with and he definitely got the best out of all of us.
With three years between Old Souls and All These Countless Nights how do you feel you’ve grown or evolved musically with the new album?
I feel like Deaf Havana has stopped trying to be something else, and everyone is really comfortable playing the music we play now. Previously we've tried to sound like Springsteen, or other bands around us, but this time we sound like us. When writing ATCN there were certain songs that didn't necessarily fit with how the other songs sounded, but instead of binning them, we used them, and developed them. I think it's far more interesting to have songs on a record that are a little bit different to anything we've done before, or songs that are slightly out of our comfort zone.
As a band and as friends, how do you feel your bond, communication or chemistry has changed since you started working on the album?
I think it's improved drastically. As I mentioned previously, it was like being in a relationship that you didn't really want to be in, so we were all horrible people to be around. We definitely talk more now, and if anyone has an issue with anything, we'll talk it out, rather than bottle it up. It's great to be as close now as we were when we first started the band.
With All These Countless Nights out soon, you already have some tour dates lined up to kick off the year! What are you most excited about on the upcoming shows?
Well we haven't toured the U.K. in over a year, so I'm really excited about that. It will also be amazing for us to finally see how people react to the new songs live. I'm actually more excited about the UK tour than anything else we having coming up.
Do you have any other big plans or goals for the new year?
Yeah. Well we're going to be touring quite a lot, and taking ATCN to as many different countries as possible. We have some festivals lined up that aren't announced yet. It's just going to be a pretty busy year for us, and I can't wait to get back into it.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I apologize for taking so long to write and record this record, and I really appreciate everyone waiting patiently for it. Thanks x