Modern bluesmen Head of the Herd revel in radio reception 0
Vancouver’s Head of the Herd. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
Exploding onto the music scene earlier this year with their debut single, By This Time Tomorrow, Vancouver’s Head of the Herd have soared to No. 1 on rock radio with their brand of modern blues. Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with singer Neu Mannas and Clayton Frank.
24: You just came off a fairly extensive Canadian tour. You’re kind of taking a chance going across the country weather wise this time of year.
NM: Yeah, we did 27 shows in about a month or so, but actually we lucked out. Some people told us that we should wait until next year, but we figured with the record coming out Oct. 22, I wanted to get in front of people the second they heard those songs.
24: When you perform new material for an audience that may or may not know you, and certainly won’t know the new music, is that exciting or are you somewhat apprehensive?
CF: It gives you that underdog approach so there’s no lofty expectations.
NM: Even with bands that say you really know one record and get tickets to their show, there’s no better way to introduce people to these new songs than being in the same room with them. Obviously it’s great when people sing along but it’s not really a concern if they don’t. It’s great when you can surprise the hell out of them.
24: Having recorded new material before performing it, aren’t you kind of locked in as opposed to having the opportunity to maybe change the songs around?
NM: The record took a long time to make so we had a played a couple of things live before we recorded them. We started working last July, so at that moment we kind of knew what songs we were going to record. We did about 25 demos and sent them to (producer) Garth Richardson and said pick your nine.
CF: Five out of the nine got live test runs.
24: It must be quite the accomplishment to having someone of Garth Richardson’s pedigree working with you.
NM: Honestly, it blew us away. We had won the CFOX Seeds competition in 2011 and that’s where we met Garth. He basically said he was making Biffy Clyro’s record in L.A. over the next year but really wanted to work with us — but we’d have to be patient. We went and wrote songs and we both had October open so we jumped on that opportunity. When the phone rings and he’s calling pick it up. One thing that he did that I had never heard of was no metronomes because he doesn’t want songs to be in perfect time. Our drummer was really pumped because he’s got a great sense of rhythm. He just got to go to town.
24: When you have a hit like By This Time Tomorrow, can you see a direct result in terms of response, downloads, etc?
CF: Radio is massive. We were a bit uncertain as to how powerful radio is because the Internet is so prevalent and downloads are so immediate. Anybody can make their own playlist instantaneously and we didn’t know how much radio would help but it is quite significant.
NM: If you look at our web traffic, it bumps when we went on tour and we did some really big shows and then you see radio and that’s literally when you see the shift curves through the roof. Radio is huge, and then we had our song used in Hockey Night in Canada during the playoffs and that was a spike like we had never seen before.