The five piece North London band, HAUS infuses their rock, hip-hop and electronic influences together to create their unique sound. Unlike other groups you can tell there is a lot depth to this one, who in their lyrics tackle notions of morality, life, belief and the tests of navigating your way through the pitfalls of the 21st century, which undoubtably has lead them to built an army of fans. We got to sit down with Ashley from HAUS who shared the inspiration behind their newest single ‘Shameless’:
So first of all, how did HAUS come about? Where did you all meet?
Well, I wasn’t actually there at the beginning, it was the other four lads that met in college in Kilburn called ICMP (The Institute of Contemporary Music and Performance). The guitarist recruited one of my best mates from school at the time to sing in the band, and he brought me along for rehearsal and then we became a 6-piece, which eventually didn’t work out and our lead singer left and then I decided to take over!
What was your relationship with music like when you were growing up?
I’ve always played guitar for as long as I can remember. My parents got me guitar lessons from when I was 4. So It’s always been a big part of me. But I didn’t really sing until I was 17-years-old, because I think I was quite embarrassed by the lyrics or whatever, so I didn’t really sing in front of anyone until I found my voice.
Who are your musical influences? How have they impacted your own music?
Uhhh…musical influences, I dunno man. I think when I was young I was very hip-hop based, as well as post-punk, like bands such as joy division.
We love your new single ‘Shameless’ – can you tell us the story behind it? Any plans for a video?
I wrote it over a year ago when I was going through a pretty hard time with anxiety and mental health. It got to the point where I found it hard to be on stage without breaking down… I was just in a really bad place at the time. I got put in touch with a therapist which has helped a lot and now I’ve overcome whatever I was going through back then. I think ‘Shameless’ was just me addressing my own inner demons. And yeah, we do! It’ll be coming out next week actually.
Can you tell us a bit about the writing/recording process for this track?
Me and Daniel sat down together and we wrote it with a friend of ours, who helped us with the melodies. It was just the 3 of us pretty much done in half a days work. We spent a week in the studio in August just before we were flying out to Slovakia for a show.
You worked with Alex Robertshaw and Duncan Mills on this track – how did this come about? And what was it like working with them?
Alex was producing and Duncan did the mixing. We’re going to be doing more working with Duncan Mills in the near future! He’s been a good friend of mine for 3 years or so, we’ve both always wanted to work together but it just hasn’t really panned out that way. We’re both excited to see how it all pans out!
You’re tour is starting pretty soon – what are you most looking forward to? Have you got any rituals before you get on stage?
Being back on the road to be honest, it’s been awhile since we’ve played a show! We like to pray together – it brings us together, in a way. We used to do 50 press ups each to get us all pumped up before a show but as soon as we started doing big tours it started to get too tiring!
We love your video for ‘Gave You All’ – what’s the inspiration behind this track and video?
This track is inspired by a lady friend, who at the time I think I was a lot more involved with than I think I should’ve been and when things didn’t work out I felt that I gave my all to something and didn’t feel like I was receiving anything back. With the video we wanted to try out shooting on film, and have a really gritty look to it. The location was really cool, it was in a hidden little basement in East London.. it was really strange. We wanted to make something gritty and raw.
What message do you want to give through your music?
I want to inspire people to be able to do whatever they want, whether they’re musical or whether they’re in any form of art. But I want to do it in a weird way…. I kind of enjoy receiving hate because it shows that we’re doing something different as a band. If we didn’t receive hate then surely everyone loves it, and you’re doing something that everyone’s done before. Especially for me and Daniel – both of us grew up in very ethnically diverse areas and for us growing up and being the only black dudes wearing skinny jeans, listening to guitar music we both got bullied from a young age. We both always wanted to do music. We look around and we don’t really see any black people in guitar-based bands and we see that as a problem. We see that as young black kids being told that they have to be a certain way… you have to wear baggy jeans, you have to listen certain type of music. We want to change that.
So, when is your album coming out? And what can we expect?
When… not sure exactly, but we are working on it now! Hopefully the end of this year or next year, we’re not sure. You can expect a lot of honesty, lyrically. It won’t be as thrashy and energetic as our live shows – there will be a lot more laid back tunes. We’re all trying to figure it out ourselves at the moment!
What’s been your most memorable performance so far, and why?
Probably Switzerland! We were headliners on the biggest stage. Before we got on stage we were looking over the stage, overlooking the crowd and there wasn’t that many people there. When we finished our dinner, we did a sound check and as we were sound checking a lot more people start walking towards our stage. We were very confused…but also very excited! When we came back on stage, there was five-six-thousand people there and everyone loved it! We got called back on, which doesn’t really happen at festivals. That was the first time we experienced that and it was out first outdoor European show, so it was something fresh.
Lastly, What advice do you have for young artists starting off in the industry?
Start young and get used to failure. You’re going to fail more than you succeed, but it’s fine!
Watch HAUS’s video for Shameless here: