I live above a café by a canal in East London and every morning I wake up at 7am to the sound of them opening up and putting their stereo on. While the streets are still relatively quiet and before the traffic builds up, I can always hear their music drifting up through the floorboards to my flat.
You can never be sure what they’re going to play. I’ve heard everything from Billie Holliday to handbag house over the years, but usually on a Sunday morning they like to ease me into the day with some timeless classics: ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of A Bay’, ‘You’ve Got A Friend’, ‘Three Little Birds’. In amongst all of those songs one Sunday morning was a really lovely song I didn’t recognise at all though, even though it sounded as classic and timeless as all of the others.
I opened the window and leaned out and shazammed it and the words ‘Go Down River’ by The Heavy Heavy popped up on my phone screen. Seemingly a song by a band I’d never heard of, released in 2022. The rest of the day was spent listening to the little bits of music I could find by them and trying to put together a picture of this wonderfully mysterious band that sounded like they could have come from any time in the last sixty years of music.
I found a video for their song ‘Miles and Miles’ down my wormhole. Filmed in the English coastal town of Dungeness, it captures the band hitchhiking with suitcases through the sort of enormously grand landscapes their music magically conjures.
Led by Will Turner and Georgie Fuller, the Brighton-based duo pull up the timeline of rock n roll and squeeze it into a ball of Laurel Canyon folk infused psychedelic West coast sunshine pop. It’s a sound that could have come out of any town, anywhere at any time in America over the last half a century, but if you’re looking for more contemporary touch points then there’s a little bit of Beachwood Sparks in there, a hint of The Thrills, and something of The Pink Stones, Aaron Lee Tasjan or Neal Francis too. Mostly though, there’s just a whole lot of The Heavy Heavy. Undeniably destined for greatness.
We sat down with them to talk about their roots and influences and what’s next for them.
Where are you from and how did you end up making the music you do?
Will is from Malvern and Georgie is from Brighton. They are both very creative areas of the country, and have great musical history. We met whilst working on other projects. At some point Georgie laid down some vocals on a demo Will was working on - The Heavy Heavy was born.
How would you describe your sound?
Retro inspired rock infused with soul and psychedelia and a pinch of country.
Where does the band name come from?
Bowie was asked in an interview to describe his forthcoming album Ziggy Stardust, he said “It’s heavy heavy, man”
What songs would you put on a mixtape if you wanted someone to really get to know you?
‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ by Joe Cocker
‘The End’ by The Doors
‘Texas Sun’ by Leon Bridges and Khruangbin
‘Gimme Shelter’ by The Rolling Stones
‘Tell Me A Tale’ by Michael Kiwanuka
‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’ by CCR
‘Lay Down’ by Melanie
‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ by Aretha Franklin
‘Kozmic Blues’ by Janis Joplin
‘The Chain’ by Fleetwood Mac
‘Writing A Novel’ by Father John Misty
‘Hold On’ by Alabama Shakes
Tell us a little bit about your new Life and Life Only EP?
It’s a snapshot of the sound we create, and it's only the beginning. It’s a contemporary love-child of the sounds of Laurel Canyon, Muscle Shoals and London in 1969.
Where’s the most unexpected place music has taken you?
A tiny island off of North-west Holland for Into The Great Wide Open Festival.
What inspires you?
What’s your favourite song of yours?
Go Down River
If you could time travel back to any time when would you travel back to?
Which person from history would you most like to meet?
What would be your Spice Girls style nicknames?
Willis Von Trapp & Miss Plum
What advice would you give to the younger you?
Don’t worry about it
What’s next for you?
Worrying about everything. We joke. Our first US tour. Over 40 dates in 18 states - we can’t wait.
Life And Life Only is out now on ATO Records