Deaf Havana will return to Australia in September in support of fellow British alt-rockers Placebo, as well as their first headlining sideshows in Melbourne and Sydney. Vocalist, guitarist and founding member James Veck-Gilodi reflects on the success of Deaf Havana’s most recent album, All These Countless Nights, which reached number five on the UK album charts, and number one for UK independent albums. “I think it took us a bit away from things like our last record Old Souls which was a bit more classic rock, this record definitely takes us away from that. But I think some of the older fans are more into it than they were into that record. Other than that, I don’t necessarily think it’s any more,” he pauses, choosing his next word carefully, “mature than our previous stuff, I just think it’s a bit more, I wrote it for myself instead of with an agenda. I think partially it was luck. We had a four-year gap so I think a lot of people were kind of waiting for us to release a record, so I think that worked in our favour a little bit. It is probably the best record we’ve written. It’s probably the most honest record we’ve written. Maybe that just shone through, I’m not sure really.”

Deaf Havana have been prolific in their video releases supporting All These Countless Nights, with a number of videos directed by AJ Gomez. Veck-Gilodi reflects, “It was great. It was unlike anything we’ve ever done before, because all our videos previously have been kind of last-minute and we haven’t really had that much involvement. But with him we went over to Mexico and we had quite a hands-on approach. I mean, he came up with all the cool ideas, but we were there making sure we had an input as well. So yeah, we’d never really experienced a video team with full, professional production and it was just really, really fun. Initially we saw his stuff and thought it was amazing. But then we kind of wanted to do some videos that linked together, so we just thought it would be easier to tie in if he did all the videos. But yeah, mainly because we just love the way he shoots.”

Veck-Gilodi has a long history with bandmate Lee Wilson (bass). Having grown up together prior to forming the band, Veck-Gilodi explains, “To be honest, we’re lucky because we get on really well. I very rarely argue with him. It could’ve been bad, it could’ve been like spending way too much time together. But I think it actually helps in a way, because we’ve always played together in bands and we’re like, telepathic, we just know what each other are going to do, so it kind of just makes it a lot easier.”

When it comes to touring, Veck-Gilodi has fond memories of Deaf Havana’s previous Australian run. “We went to Australia once before and did Soundwave, which was probably the best tour we’ve ever done, so we’re just looking forward to coming back, really. Placebo are a great band as well, so the only thing I’m not looking forward to is the flight there,” he laughs. “It takes about two days. Our managers manage Placebo as well, so we’ve had a few run-ins with them, and we played about four shows with them in Germany. But we’ve never done a full tour with them, so this’ll be the first proper tour we’ve done.”

Beyond Australia, Deaf Havana have plans for a little more touring before other exciting developments. “I think for the rest of this year, we’ve got not that much on. We’ve got a couple of festivals after we get back from Australia, then we’ve got a UK tour in November, then a couple of German dates after that. And then I’m just going to start writing the next record, because I just want to get it out as quickly as possible. I don’t really want to leave it as long as we left the last album for. I’ve already started recording a couple of demos and stuff. I’m not sure if any of them are any good,” he chuckles. “We’ll see. I write a lot of lyrics on the road, but it’s quite hard to record on the road. I’ve got a little crappy setup with my iPad and stuff which I can take with me, but there’s always something else to do. There’s always a bar to go to or something fun to do, so I kind of get lost. But when we’re driving around, I write like 80% of my lyrics while I’m travelling. It’s totally the actual travelling aspect. I don’t really get that much influence from other music.” He stops to consider for a moment. “It’s more from places and visual stimuli. A lot of the time I feel, not alone, but you do feel quite alienated when you travel that much, and that helps me write, I think. I think I need to be in a like a bizarre headspace in order to right better lyrics,” he emphasises.

“I’ve never been that ambitious,” he continues. “Not in a bad way, but I’ve never really had unrealistic ideas of what we’re going to do. But any band would obviously like to headline certain landmark venues, like Brixton Academy here. And to get those headlining festival slots would be amazing. But that’s quite far in the future, I think. I’m pretty happy with a lot of things. And actually my main goal is just to expand our popularity worldwide, really, because we’ve only ever previously really concentrated on England. We recently started getting a lot of stuff in Germany, and we’re going to try and head back over to Australia a bunch of times. So yeah, I just want to try and expand our reach.”

As for the USA, Veck-Gilodi admits, “I’m not sure. That’s a really hard nut to crack. We haven’t really tried yet, to be honest. We did one tour, a really bad tour, over there years ago. But maybe. We’ll certainly give it a go. We were just really unprepared, and I know travelling around in a van is fine, but America is huge, obviously, and we were travelling around in a van in winter, and it was like -18 degrees, we’re not sleeping at all, and the shows were just terrible. There were like ten people at each show, and it was like five weeks long. It was just horrific.”

On the other end of the scale, Deaf Havana have supported Muse. Veck-Gilodi enthuses, “That was cool! It was only a couple of shows in Germany. That was really bizarre. That was one of the first massive shows we did, and it was just kind of surreal. Those huge production shows, everything is completely different to how we grew up playing music. It’s in-house, they have everything they bring themselves. It’s so professional, and if you run over by like, one minute, you get fined. It’s just a really intimidating environment to go into. But the shows were cool and it was a really eye-opening experience. I think the main thing is the level of professionalism. It’s hard to take influence from all of it when you’re playing much smaller venues, and also we tend to like to have a laugh, we’re not a band yet who have fully stopped having a laugh and take it completely seriously, but it definitely shows you a vision of the future if you were to get like that. I guess at the heart of it, a show’s still the same. There’s just a lot more riding on if stuff goes wrong or not. But some bands you see live which are huge, like for instance Mumford and Sons, they still act like they’re a small band and have a laugh on stage, so maybe we wouldn’t change. I’m not sure.”

With the Australian tour only weeks away, Veck-Gilodi reiterates his excitement. “I literally cannot wait to get back to Australia. It’s like, my favourite place I’ve ever been, and I hope there’s still some people there that like us. Or, if there isn’t, I hope we can win over some new fans. I just really can’t wait to get there.”