The other night, we spoke to Jordan Gatesmith of rising US band Howler. Having released their debut album America Give Up to rave reviews in January, Howler are set to play the European festival seen later this year, as well as appearing at our very own Splendour in the Grass. We spoke about making it big in Europe and growing up in Minnesota.
Where are you calling from?
We’re in London right now; (they play The Great Escape festival with the likes of Temper Trap and DZ Deathrays)
At this time last year would you have ever expected to be where you are now?
No, I think this time last year we might have just gotten the email from Rough Trade,. We really had no idea what was going on.
You’ve followed a similar path to that of last years buzz band The Vaccines. In fact you toured with them towards the end of last year, so there’s always going to be comparisons between the two groups. Is this something your proud of?
We’re not discouraged about it. You open for band, and they’re headlining in front of 4-500 people. It’s a good thing to get some more exposure out. But we shared influences with The Vaccines but we’re pretty different holistically as bands.
You’ve gotten pretty big in Europe. Did you intend for this to happen or would have preferred to have more success in the US?
Umm it’s good, I don’t know. It’s just different. Things will pick up where they pick up. We didn’t plan for anything. We were just doing our thing in our own town and we got the email from Rough Trade
Do you have any plans to relocate to Europe to try to capture this market?
There’s no immediate plan. We didn’t even think about markets. We think we have a good enough sound, and it’s not like we’re ignored in the US. We’ve played for some really great crowds, like some of the New York City gigs were really great.
You’re coming down here for Splendour in the Grass and a few sideshows. Have you been here before?
No, I’ve never been. We’re quite excited. We have something like 40 hours travel to get there. Going to Australia from Norway.
How would you sell a Howler live show to an Australian audience?
I don’t know. We usually let someone else sell the show.
Well, what would you say to convince our readers to buy tickets?
That’s hard. (Asks his friend ‘Barney’, “How do we sell to the Australian market?” “I don’t know man” comes the response) No pressure…
We spoke to Zulu Winter a few months ago, and they’re touring with you when you get here. Have you played with them before?
Yeah, we played with Zulu Winter in London. We got along well and liked their music. We were thinking about Australia and it just seemed a good decision.
You grew up in Minnesota in northern USA. It’s quite cold there. Was there much inspiration for your songs?
Yes, there is a lot of home town references and inspiration. The Punk scene of the early 1980s in Minneapolis in particular.
Because you have a very surf-rock sound, and songs like Beach Sluts. Seems a bit strange coming from such a cold climate.
No, it’s not a beachy sort of place. That’s true.
The album title America Give Up seems a bit patronising of the USA, especially after watching the viral website you guys set up. Was this intended to be inflammatory or taken as a bit tongue in cheek?
It was funny, (had a good laugh)
It was just us being naughty little brats and pulling the middle finger. It’s not meant to be taken too seriously.
Finally, Would rather listen to only one song for the rest of your life, or never listen to music again?
Never hear another song
Really? Most people say the other answer
Yeah, I’d never want to hear it again. I hate music.
Haha. Thanks for talking Jordan.
Howler play Splendour in the Grass on the 27th of July
They play The Corner Hotel on 24th of July with Zulu Winter. Tickets available from The Corner Hotel
America Give Up is out now.