Interview: HeavyLight

U2

The Rotterdam four-piece, who recently celebrated their second anniversary got together during late summer 2011 and have been rocking out within Dutch shores since.

 

We interview HeavyLight, an upcoming rock outfit hailing from Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Thanks to Allart, Sander, Jerry, Dylan for sharing their views:

 

1. Firstly, congratulations on releasing your new single “Any Moment Now”. We think the video really speaks to abused and unhappy children who are looking for an escape. If that is indeed the case, how did that song take shape?

 

Thanks! This song is actually about life itself in a broader sense, and the music video is a metaphor that illustrates this: an old man looking back to the life he had. The good things, but indeed also the struggle. But in the end, there is some kind of acceptance. “We’ve lived” … it was good. And also, “Let’s live”, From the perspective of both the boy and the old man. Any moment now. A desire of change. But also acceptance of the past.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okQ5ZZG-3Gg?rel=0&w=500&h=281]

 

2. You are one of the more promising rock bands to come out of the Netherlands recently. Can you tell us about your early years in the local music and festival circuit?

 

Wow, that is a huge compliment, last weekend was our second anniversary. HeavyLight was formed two years ago, even though we all knew each other for quite some time in the local music circuit. We played in the same local festivals and band contests and eventually we decided to get into one of those tiny rehearsal rooms. What happened next was pure magic, we had never experienced so much energy in such a small place in our lives. The day after this session – on August 3, 2011, we popped a champagne bottle. With a 1.5 hour show booked already, there were only two weeks left to write songs and rehearse those. We’ve played many shows ever since, starting with small pubs or rock clubs, with or without audiences. There’s just one rule that we always try to follow: It doesn’t matter whether your audience consists of 5000 screaming teenagers or just an old lady: we want to give everything we have. As the Dutch say: “Het dak moet eraf”. (The roof must go off).

 

Remarkably, these shows with an audience of just a few people were pretty advantageous: both our booking agency and label scouted us at one of these gigs. When we released our first single back in February, it got picked up pretty quickly by some of the major Dutch radio stations. We’re now starting to feel the effect, that people are recognising our music and singing along. Just recently at a show, some girls from the audience came up to us for taking some pictures, when they complimented us for our excellent cover of this new Dutch band. Which happened to be our song, of course. This summer is the first time that we will actually be seeing some of the bigger festivals. One show we are particularly looking forward to is in September, when Paramore will be coming to the Netherlands in the Heineken Music Hall. We will play in the after party, and it will be in one of the bigger venues we’ll do this year.

 

3. It appears that most of your publicity and hype is directed towards native audiences for now, even though most of your music comes across as pretty universal. Should international fans dive into your offering just yet, or are you playing the attritional game and aiming to secure broad support from Dutch listeners first?

 

Excellent question and you are right. So far, we have focused ourselves on the Dutch market, as it makes most sense as a band just starting out. We have played on Dutch Radio/TV stations and most of our shows have also been in the Netherlands. Our main priority is to finish our debut EP (and album). Our ambition is to look beyond the Dutch borders as soon as possible. Sounds like an exciting challenge to get a foothold in other countries and to organize some concerts there. But active promotion outside your borders can become fairly expensive quickly, so currently it’s best to make use of existing blogs and media like YouTube, Spotify and iTunes, which make the songs available all over the world. We have already seen links to our videos on Swedish, Greek and even Japanese websites. And then, there’s the Coldplay website, where both our videos were shown. It is really indescribable what that does to you…

 

U2

“A good set of honest and varied songs, combined with total dedication on stage can help you achieve a lot, no matter whether it is one person you’re facing or an entire arena.”

 

4. Many appreciate the arena-rock sensibilities in your music, especially since fewer new bands these days are taking the big sound approach, opting to experiment in electronica or folk instead. Generally speaking, do you think the modern pop/rock trend has run its course?

 

We consider it a big compliment that you refer to our music as “arena-rock”. It is one of our big dreams to fulfill this claim. We do notice a trend in electro and recently, folk. We think that the biggest spectrum you can have as a band is to both be intimate and to blow your audience away. The arena-rock bands we look up to, like Coldplay and Muse also have this characteristic. Folk on the other hand can be more intimate/acoustic, but also works well for dancing.

 

We don’t feel like we’re quite done yet with our genre. A good set of honest and varied songs, combined with total dedication on stage can help you achieve a lot, no matter whether it is one person you’re facing or an entire arena. At least, that is what we are trying to achieve.

 

5. We definitely sense the Foo Fighters vibe in your previous single “Hey”. What’s more, Allart even looks a bit like Dave Grohl! Which artists are your favorite at the moment? Which ones do you look for inspiration?

 

Yep, we have been compared to the Foo Fighters before. But Allart looking like Dave Grohl?! That’s a first! Our music is inspired by bands like Muse and Coldplay. The strength of Coldplay is that their songs are both musical and suitable for a big audience. Muse though is not just musical, but also an astonishing live act. We also have our individual preferences, which may vary from electro to classical music.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLxP0EQ8PqQ?rel=0&w=500&h=281]
6. There’s more to HeavyLight than rock n’ roll, isn’t there? You recently did a very gutsy cover of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” on live radio…

 

Wow, great that you found that one! We were invited by a big Dutch radio station and were given an assignment: to perform a “top 40 classic”. We wanted to do something that was really outside of our comfort zone and convert it to match our style. We still play that song in live shows, everybody knows the original song but don’t expect us to play it. We also like some ‘wobbling’ (dubstep) or just to try something completely different. By the way, have you seen our version of Anouk’s Eurosonic Songfestival submission, “Birds”?

 

7. And finally, can you explain the name to us? HeavyLight comes across as very symmetric, and brings to mind the really intense, bright lights one faces when performing on stage. Or is there another story behind it?

 

That is indeed a nice way to put it. It also tells something about our music, our style tends to have both lighter and heavier elements.

 

U2

“Our music is inspired by bands like Muse and Coldplay. The strength of Coldplay is that their songs are both musical and suitable for a big audience. Muse though is not just musical, but also an astonishing live act.”

 

Want to know more about HeavyLight? Begin by looking up their website, and give them a shoutout on Facebook or Twitter. (Photo Credits Adrian Kuipers)

 

 

 

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