‘We feel like we’re breaking ground’: Demob Happy head for Norwich debut on 2018 tour

Demob Happy. Photo: Chuff Media

Demob Happy. Photo: Chuff Media - Credit: Chuff Media

Funky indie-rock trio Demob Happy have just released their new album, Holy Doom. As they prepare to visit Norwich as part of a UK headline tour, vocalist and bassist Matthew Marcantonio tells us more.

Demob Happy. Photo: Chuff Media

Demob Happy. Photo: Chuff Media - Credit: Chuff Media

Psychedelic grunge trio Demob Happy will play Norwich Waterfront Studio in April following the release of second album, Holy Doom.

The Newcastle-formed, Brighton-based trio, made up of vocalist and bassist Matthew Marcantonio, guitarist Adam Godfrey and drummer Thomas Armstrong, have recently been on the road with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes but arrive as part of a UK headline tour.

The album is the follow-up to their 2015 debut Dream Soda and the first with out former guitarist Mathew Renforth.

Tell us about the album title Holy Doom…

We had a difficult time personally and as a band in the two years between the first album and now. A lot to overcome and a lot of new realities to deal with. The album title just reflects this thing that became unintentionally apparent throughout all of the songs, that fighting the forces of good over bad inside ourselves, and in the world, is impossible, without accepting and welcoming your tendencies for evil. The bad is just as important as the good, if you want balance.

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Demob Happy new album Happy Doom. Photo: SO Recordings

Demob Happy new album Happy Doom. Photo: SO Recordings - Credit: SO Recordings

How did you approach this new album recording being a member down, did the song writing dynamic change?

Only positively. Without talking ill of people, which is something we decided we wanted to avoid, it's important to us that people realise the main songwriters are still intact from the first album, otherwise it diminishes our efforts over the years, which have always been constant. Our sound has evolved naturally, because that's how we wanted to sound now.

You moved from Newcastle to Brighton for creative reasons?

It was more to do with growing ourselves. We've always been ambitious, but were completely DIY for the first five years, so we had to learn everything through trial and error, and learn the way things work ourselves. No guiding hands. Brighton just seemed like a place where we could see that ladder a little more clearly.

How does it feel to be 10 years into Demob Happy?

Demob Happy. Photo: Chuff Media

Demob Happy. Photo: Chuff Media - Credit: Chuff Media

I guess 10 years feels like a long time but we were young lads when we started the band with no idea at all of what to do and how to work in an industry that seems completely impenetrable at the bottom. We just had our dreams and big chips on our shoulders. We knew how good we were and we wanted to prove that to everyone. The only thing that's changed two albums in is the size of the audience, we've gone from trying to convince our mates in the pub of our quality, to trying to convince 800 people at support shows that we're worth something. Every time we record something new we feel like we're breaking ground on what we think is possible in terms of songwriting and production of our stuff.

You've been supporting some great acts like The Cribs and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes recently, how does supporting compare to headlining?

It's different, but it's great. There's no pressure on you personally to deliver, so you're free to enjoy yourselves fully. You have nothing to loose and everything to prove. You're the underdog and you're there to convert people to your cause, so they either get on board or you leave them behind. There's a dynamic there that leads to interesting interaction during the shows.

Anything you must take on tour to survive?

An enormous hoodie and a local cafe. It's something you learn over time though. On our first tours I'd begin to wonder why I was getting irritated and grumpy, then you realise you've been in an uncomfortable van with the same people for three weeks and this is no way reflects normal life. It's for everyone's benefit that you learn how to introduce that normality into your touring life, otherwise you look for sightly unhealthier ways of blowing off steam.

After this April tour, what is going to be next for the band?

We're constantly writing so there are loads of great ideas coming for the next album. It's more a case of when really. I want to be getting something out within the next year and we're more than capable of doing so. If we can keep writing good stuff and hopefully people keep enjoying it then happy days, we'll release an album every six months if we can. We always look at The Beatles and what they achieved in seven years, doing 13 albums, and that feels like a baseline to judge what we do from, even if it is kind of ambitious! Shoot for the stars and all that fridge magnet kind of thing.

• Demob Happy play the Waterfront Studio, King Street, Norwich, on April 12, 7.30pm, £10, 01603 508050, ueaticketbookings.co.uk