Nerve Entertainment Exclusive: Interview with Deaf Havana’s Tom Ogden

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We spoke exclusively with drummer Tom Ogden about the band’s four year break, their latest album, potential covers and Netflix’s Stranger Things!

Our first question is when did you start drumming and why did you choose the drums as an instrument?

“I actually started drumming properly when I was 11-years-old but I always grabbed wooden spoons and pens and things. I find it quite a good release to smash things to smithereens and sound quite tuneful at the same time.”

Who is your favourite drummer of all time?

“Of all time? Erm Dave Grohl I think.”

“I think Nirvana is what got me into playing drums, I think a lot of people give that answer but it truly is the reason I’m playing. It’s the obvious answer but yeah he’s like my favourite musician in the world.”

There has been a great reception to All These Countless Nights, why do you think that is?

“I think it’s because we took our time with this one, we kind of worked on the songs a lot more than we have on previous albums. I made sure that I played all my parts to the point where I was happy with them and the other guys did the same. I dunno we just kind of…it seems like we just concentrated a lot on them and took our time making sure everything was perfect for it.”

What was the reason for the four year break between old souls and the new record?

“Yeah erm I dunno it’s a weird one we didn’t fall out but it was getting a bit much and our schedule was getting really intense at one point and then we had nothing, we were like we are not doing it properly and if we are not going to do it properly then what’s the point, and we kind of fell out a little bit and got rid of our manager and our label, it all kind of collapsed. So we stopped for a while, but played a few songs together a few years later and loved it and continued to do that.”

Do you think the break helped with the making of this album and the quality of the stuff you put out for it?

“Yeah definitely, I don’t think it would be anywhere as near as good as it is now if we didn’t have that break.”

Can you take me through the process of when you decide to make a new record and how you get the ideas in your heads for songs and how you get to that finished product? Do you sit down and start writing the music or does someone have a little idea or are do you write the lyrics first?

Well James actually writes the majority of all the songs, when he’s at home he’ll write and record a terrible ipad demo and send it to us, we’ll say oh that’s wicked or it’s not wicked.”

“We did pre-production for the first time on this record, we just got into a room and spent ten days playing the through songs, working out which songs we were going to put on the record and started tracking the drums. We did a lot of this record live actually, we recorded as a full band and did some overdubs towards the end of the session then we send it off for mastering and one day you get a nice little email in your inbox with a new album in it.”

So what bands influence you when you head into the studio? What sort of stuff would you be listening to around the time of recording?

“We listen to a lot of Biffy Clyro, Ryan Adams a different kind of miss match of things really we definately hit Biffy Clyro and Ryan Adams pretty hard on this one”

When I’m listening to this record I hear a lot of emotion that comes through the songs. When you’re recording do you feel this when you’re recording is there a time when you’d listen back to a song and have to step back for a second and just reflect?

“Yeah I mean some of the stories that James tells- a lot of people can relate to them and we can relate to them more than anyone because their experiences that we were there to witness. He’s got this amazing way of putting poetic kind of lyrics in his songs and it really works. Sometimes it got a bit emotional and we all go wow did we really just create that?”

Are you happy to be back on tour?

“I love the actual playing shows bit, not a big fan of the traveling or sitting in a van for hours on end,  I like the actual playing the gig bit it’s the best feeling in the world. I’m terrible for leaving my house I love being at home so I kind of picked the wrong career…”

Do you have any favourite cities to play at or any places you want to go back to for whatever reason?

“I love playing in London obviously but Berlin is amazing and it’s one of my favourite cities.”

Why Berlin any particular reason?

“We just had a really good experience there and got to explore. Now when we go back we kinda know where to go in the city and it’s just a lovely city I love it, it’s one of my favourites I think.”

What songs from the new album are you most excited to play live on this tour?

“I really enjoy playing ashes at the moment, the first track. It kind of opens up the album, James gets a bit more positive towards the end of that song although, the rest of the album mentions drinking and relationships problems the actual tone of the album is actually quite positive. Instead of saying he’s got all these problems and he hates himself he’s actually got all these problems and he’s trying to make it better. I like the way that ashes makes that step into the album.”

So when you’re doing all your traveling are there any TV shows that help pass the time do you ever binge out a Netflix series?

“Oh yeah! Me and the wife just put the TV on and if we’ve got a month off we’ll just watch TV for a month, it’s a bit unhealthy really.”

What’s your favourite show are you a House of Cards or a Breaking Bad fan?

“Yeah I’ve seen all those I’ve just finished the OA, we did Stranger Things when that first came out there’s just constantly new amazing TV shows.”

Are there any other bands albums that you are excited to hear that are coming out this year?

“The National are releasing an album this year, they’re one of my favourite bands…Ryan Adams has a new one out next month those two are probably the two I’m looking forward to the most.”

Could you describe your own music tastes, would you say you have any guilty pleasures at all? obviously you’re in a rock band so you might be expected to like rock music, but are there any others that might be considered to be a guilty pleasure?

“I do like a wide range of music I just bought a vinyl of Sone they’re like this electronicy pop band, I like Halsey, I like the Justin Bieber album there’s loads of things I probably shouldn’t like on paper… I like having a diverse music taste, it makes me a bit more interesting.”

Could you give us an example of a song that you would like to cover soon if you were to go in for a Radio 1 live lounge kind of thing?

“I’m just going to go with a Bieber song.”

Even Baby?

(Laughs) “not baby, one of the newer ones I’ve forgotten the name of the song now.

Who would be in your all-star band if I gave you the choice of any drummer, bass player, guitarist and singer?

“Well I’d pick Dave Grohl as the drummer and the singer and the guitarist.”

Unfortunately he can only take up one spot, sorry Tom they need to be able to play live!

“Well Dave Grohl on drums, this is a tricky one… I have no idea!

Who would be your dream person to collaborate with? would Dave be up there?

“Well yeah him and Taylor Hawkins, Ilan Rubin he used to play in Paramore, hes so good he plays with Nine inch nails now.”

Who would be your 3 dream festival headliners?  

“The Killers, Foo fighters and Kings of Leon.”

Finally describe All Those Countless Nights in 3 words?

“Exciting, Meaningful, Rock.”

Deaf Havana are on tour now! Click this link for all the tour dates.

All These Countless Nights is available now on digital download, CD and vinyl.