Heaters is a psycho-surf-rock band coming from northern Grand Rapids, Michigan. Rare is it to hear this kind of music from a band based in the midwest ! Nevertheless Heaters have made their place in the psych scene, having played at Austin Psych Fest, SXSW and Levitation. This is their second time playing in Paris at la Mécanique Ondulatoire, this time organised by Freaky Loud Things.
We met with the current members Nolan, Josh, Ryan and Ben.
Welcome to Paris ! Introduce yourselves.
Ben : My name is Ben. I’m originally from Suttons Bay, Michigan. I currently reside in Grand Rapids. I play mostly 12-string guitar.
Ryan : I’m Ryan. I live in Grand Rapids and I play guitar.
Josh : My name is Josh and I play drums. I’m originally from Ann Arbor but currently live in Grand Rapids.
Nolan : I’m Nolan. I play bass and some guitar and I’m from Midland, Michigan. We all met in Grand Rapids. Josh and I were neighbours, so we started the band in 2014.
This is your second time playing in Paris at la Mécanique Ondulatoire. How do you feel this concert compares to the previous one?
Nolan : It felt very similar, it was super fun. We did not kill the stage power the last time… someone spilt a beer on the power.
We played four songs from our last record, one song from the first record, and rest was new songs.
How’s the European tour going? Any interesting stories?
Nolan : It’s been going really well, we’re about halfway through. Interesting stories… we got really lost in the alps in Switzerland so we were several hours late for soundcheck. We are going to the UK for 12 days to play this traveling festival called Dot to Dot. We hadn’t toured Europe since the release of our latest album Baptistina which came out fall 2016.
Baptistina, which means?
Nolan : That was the name of an asteroid that was thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs but was later disproven.
Do you sense the difference between touring in the US compared to Europe?
Josh : Europe is amazing and I think there is a greater appreciation for art and culture in general. The shows have been great; the hospitality and people that we meet is so nice compared to the US where there are really good places to play and good people… but a lot of the time you drive 10 hours during the day to play a show that’s poorly attended and not well promoted. In Europe you see promoters that work hard and put on really good shows.
Can you tell us about the anecdote of the two Ukrainian super fans who came all the way from Tel Aviv to Paris just to see Heaters.
Josh : That was crazy. I’ve had conversations with them online and I never thought I would actually see them. They knew the lyrics to every song. They flew a long way to come see the show, which is amazing. We really appreciate that.
How has the band dynamic changed since introducing a new guitarist?
Ben : This is the only dynamic that I know. I’ve only been in the band for two months before we left on a plane to the UK, but it’s been great, I’ve had the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life ! We had to work really fast.
Nolan : The other guy who is the band before quit very promptly, just two months ago. We were just about to record an album and have a six week tour, but thankfully I live with Ben, so I asked him if he wanted to go to Europe and he said yes. Ben helped us flush out a lot of the ideas for the new songs.
How would you describe the music you play?
Nolan : I’m not sure, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to describe it.
Ben : We listen a lot to the bands that we get compared to, who we all really respect and love… but we are trying to not really look back in time and take influence. A lot of people are into garage rock and the 60s revival, but we’re just trying to make music that is relevant now, cool, trippy, heavy, pretty and all the stuff we love about music.
Who is the person that does your artwork?
Nolan : Our previous guitarist used to do a lot of our art, but now we’re working with this guy called John Zabawa from Chicago. He does a lot of artwork for the Allah Las. He did a custom poster for every show of this tour.
What label do you work with?
Nolan : We always release our albums in New York on the label Beyond, Beyond is Beyond. Other bands on this label include The Meers, Kikagaku Moyo, Chocolat…
What other bands would you love to play with?
Nolan : I would like to play with Pond.
Ryan : Tom Waits.
Josh : Playing with Froth would be awesome.
Ben : If Kevin Parker could produce one of our albums that would be amazing.
Are there any other bands from the Midwest that you can recommend us?
Josh : Moonwalks from Detroit.
Ben : John Zabawa’s band which is called Lucile Furs.
Plans for 2017?
Nolan : The album will be released sometime late summer or this fall.
Any last words?
Ben : Thank you for everyone who’s coming out to our shows.
Ryan : Rock’n’roll
Nolan : Thank you!
Josh : I’d like to thank tour-mom keeping us alive and in good health.