During the first night of their two sold out co-headline shows at London’s Boston Music Room, I caught up with Black Peak’s Andrew Gosden and HECK’s Matt Reynolds to find out how life on the road is, and how it is sharing the spotlight. But more importantly, what their weapon of choice would be during a potential zombie apocalypse.
How is it being on a co-headliner tour compared to touring on your own?
Andrew: This tour has been great so far. It’s really interesting and exciting playing a co-headliner, you get the opportunity to play in front of people who may not necessarily buy tickets to see you, a bit like playing at a festival. It feels like the audiences have been open and accepting of both bands. I think it is a great mix of music with something for everyone. You can have a sing and rock out to our songs, and also experience the pure insanity and awesomeness of HECK!
Matt: At the very start of the tour I imagined it was going to be incredibly nerve wracking going up against Black Peaks every night. They’re such an enormous sounding live band that it was a daunting prospect. After a few days of the tour that all faded away, although we’re both very different bands it became very evident quite quickly that we play off each other very well, both of our fan bases have come together in a wonderful way too. Having four guys that we now consider our brothers in Black Peaks side stage every night only spurs us on and feeds our appetite for carnage. I’ve been in the pit for Peaks nearly every night… Having said that, that bass guy, Guss or something I think they call him, he’s a bit of a prick.
Where did the idea of the tour come from?
Matt: We made friends over the festival season, both Black Peaks and us were playing a lot of the same stages and I guess subliminally it just made us want to recreate that dynamic between us on a tour. It just seems to make sense, it’s like kicking an audiences ass in two very different ways every night.
Andrew: The idea of doing this co-headliner had been floating around for a while. As soon as the opportunity to play with HECK became a reality we jumped at it. We are all huge fans of the band and thought it would be great fun. They are such lovely guys!
You’re both in pretty heavy bands, is there any bands or artists you’ve been influenced by that plays music completely different to the one you play yourself?
Andrew: I listen to such a varied mix of music that I guess even subconsciously I will be taking influence from so many different genres. I am a huge fan of 70’s prog rock. Bands such as Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull are in constant rotation on my iPod. I am also a huge fan of bands like Autolux, Young Widows and Bjork who are very different to the music we play.
Matt: LOADS! Our van playlists are pretty much entirely made up of wonderful, luscious, over-produced pop, Steely Dan and Hall and Oates are particular favourites. Our van is chock packed full to the rafters with wall-to-wall bangers! Influences wise I’ve always listened to tonnes of blues music too, which has definitely shaped the way I write and play
Any guilty pleasures?
Andrew: I own a copy of Madonnas ‘like a virgin’ record. It’s such a great album. I guess that can be classed as a guilty pleasure..
Matt: I’d argue to the death that You’re the Voice by John Farnham is the greatest song ever written. It’s also unfollowable, there’s not a track in the world that can be played after that doesn’t then sound flat and lifeless. Robbie has been creeping in an awful lot recently too, the cheeky badger.
How does a day in the life of HECK and Black Peaks on the road look like?
Andrew: At the beginning of the tour it started off quite civilised. Now it has descended into a torrent of passive aggressive abuse and sarcastic banter.
Matt: Toil and bedlam. With a pub lunch at Weatherspoons for an hour at about 6pm-ish.
Do you remember your first ever encounter with Orange, whether it was seeing it or playing it yourself?
Matt: I just remember seeing them on stages and in videos as a kid and thinking that they were just so damn cool and iconic. All of the coolest bands seemed to use them, it was only a matter of time until I took the plunge and got one too, I’ve played through nothing else since. When I was old enough to have a full-time job I spent my entire first month’s wages on a Rocker 30 and 2×12. I bunged it in my tiny box of a bedroom and used to give the neighbours and my ear drums hell, it was really dumb and definitely too big for my bedroom, the door couldn’t even open fully with it in there, I just had to kind of side step my way through. But I loved it and I’ve not looked back since!
Andrew: The first time I really noticed Orange amps was when I saw Converge for the first time. That iconic look and sound gripped me and I knew they were the amps I wanted to use from then on.
What do you look for in an amp?
Andrew: Something that sounds great is simple to use and reliable.
Matt: Yeah, something that sounds huge and can withstand the horror that I throw at it! With Orange it’s all about crushing bottom end and unashamed ballsyness.
What’s your current set up, amps and pedals?
Andrew: I am currently using my AD200 and a Thunderverb 50, each running through an Orange 4×10 cab. I run the AD200 relatively clean and have the Thunderverb running really dirty. I am using the Orange amp detonator to split my signal between the 2 amps. I have the AD200 running all the time and kick in the Thunderverb for heavy sections and parts where Joe is soloing or playing lead lines.
Matt: I currently use a Thunderverb 200 (the greatest and most ridiculous guitar amp ever made) through a 2×12 and 4×12 loaded with V30s. I have a fairly simple pedalboard, but some absolutely choice little bits of wizardry on there. My favourite of which is my original Russian big muff, built like a tank and flattens like a steamroller. I couple it with a Electro-Harmonix Octave Multiplexer to achieve some ridiculously gnarly square-waved sub bass madness. I also use a EHX pitchfork and a Disaster Transport modulated delay by Earthquaker for gentler moments.
It’s the zombie apocalypse – choose your weapon of choice and explain your reasoning.
Andrew: It depends what kind of zombies we are talking about?! I think I would have to go for a crossbow. You don’t have to worry too much about ammo running out as you can reuse the arrows, you can pick them off at a safe distance and use it as a melee weapon up close. I’d like to think I’d be a badass like Darryl from The Walking Dead. In reality I don’t think I’d last too long……
Matt: I’m going with (Dillinger Escape Plan’s) Greg Puciato’s eternally punching arms. I’m not sure exactly how that would work, I guess I’d just attach them to my chest and let them punch away. They’re like a horse’s legs with hammers attached. I can just imagine them relentlessly punching away reducing zombies to rubble. No one would fuck with a guy with hammer-horse-legged arms sticking out of his chest. I’d shit ’em.