Interview: Tom Ogden and Chris Pennel of Deaf Havana at Reading 2012

By on Monday, 3rd September 2012 at 11:00 am

“I had Thai Green Curry, but is that really Chinese food?” No, Tom, no, it isn’t, but a mutual love of Wagamama is what sets the tone for a discussion with one of the most exciting live bands around at the moment, Deaf Havana. We talked maturity, fast food and the merits of being a ‘Wanker’ when catching up with the band’s drummer Tom Ogden and guitarist Chris Pennel.

Tom was suitably blasé on the subject of raising the curtain on the weekend’s debauchery. “It was rubbish! I’m joking! It was amazing, it was something else man! When I was on there playing, I was like yeah whatever, I think I kind of shut myself off. “Looking back now, it was just sick.”

Tom’s bandmate Chris added that it was “definitely the biggest crowd we’ve played too.”

The band performed to a seething audience on the Friday opening the Main Stage and while they only had six songs to play, they made sure it counted. Tom said, “‘The Past 6 Years’ went down really well; most of them were really cool.”

“We only had like six songs set so we picked the 6 biggest songs to play”, said Chris.

With the band looking to move onwards and upwards, the focus is turning to leaving behind the old and going in with the new and their attitude towards song ‘Friends Like These’ epitomizes this, as Tom explained.

“We didn’t play that; we actually didn’t play anything of our old album. Just the new album. That [‘Friends like These’] is just a glorified nursery rhyme.”

Chris went on to describe where the band were moving on to: ‘We want to record more mature songs, that’s for sure. We did well with [2011 album] ‘Fools and Worthless Liars’. But now we’re moving on doing more stuff we want to do as a group, as I think the songs we wrote so far have been a really good reflection of the band at the time.

“I feel we’ve never really written as a group. This time the songs we have written are as a group and it’s just so much better, it all gels better. It sounds more unifying and we are enjoying it more.”

They were quick to hammer home the point, though, that while they want the people to receive the music well, when it comes down to it, Tom knows their prerogative. “As long I enjoy it I don’t care.”

Chris agrees, “at the end of the day we are gonna write the songs we wanna write. The plan is we head to America and then Japan, go play Soundwave Festival in February, then go and record the new album and then we’ll release it.”

While all eyes seem to be on the horizon, the band are happy with how this year has shaped up for the band. “We did Pukkelpop which was amazing, saw some great bands, Tom got really drunk! We watched Bjork and The Gaslight Anthem. We also did a lot of smaller festivals like Hevy, which we headlined and that was a lot of fun.”

The question is, that with seemingly the wind in their sails and a full steam ahead on the good ship Havana, can they go the distance and climb the bill in the future?

“It all depends whether people like the new stuff, as I think the new stuff we have written is really good.”

Now this all sounds very serious, but bare in mind that these guys while coming across as driven individuals are young men having a great time doing what they love. So when bassist Lee Wilson comes over and asks if the band are done, it’s obvious that first and foremost on the agenda, is a good time. And isn’t that what music should be about? So note to any bands, if you’re flying high like Deaf Havana, remember, this is for you and you should be enjoying yourself. A matter that these guys have well in hand.

Special thanks to Tom and Chris for their time and Paul and Chris for sorting this interview.

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