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Interview with Jona Tee (H.E.A.T)

Today marks the seventh album release for Swedish heavy rockers, H.E.A.T. Titled Force Majeure, this album sees the band extend their live show energy into a collection of stadium anthems including monster singles ‘Hollywood’, ‘Back To The Rhythm’ and ‘Nationwide’, and is a return album for founding frontman Kenny Leckremo. The band will also be making their Australian live tour debut next month, playing four shows across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide.

Silver Tiger Media’s Tammy Walters had a chat to keyboardist Jona Tee ahead of their release and shows.

How are you feeling with your new album Force Majeure about to be released on Friday 5 August?

I don’t think we have really realised it is so soon. But we’re really excited! Going to burst. We will be in Finland on Friday opening for Toto so we will have some sort of nice release party I hope.

Oh, that will be such a good time. As soon as ‘Africa’ comes on you’ll jump into full party mode!

[Laughs] Oh yeah, for sure!

So how long has Force Majeure been in the works?

Basically we had a singer swap, so we got our original singer, Kenny, back in the band. He rejoined in June or July in 2020, which was the beginning of the pandemic which means we had a lot of time to sit down and write music. So somewhere around there we started to write for it and we started to record August last year, so one year later, here is the release!

Kenny was a big part of the identity of H.E.A.T your debut record, and Eric was a huge part of the band for a big part of your lifespan so it would have been nice to have H.E.A.T II as a send off for Eric.

Oh yeah, definitely a big send off. We love that album too so he left with a bang!

Exactly and H.E.A.T II received a lot of praise for returning to your heavier roots. Have you tried to continue that for this album with Kenny being back?

Absolutely. We set out to continue the same vein as HEAT II, and obviously it’s a little different because we have a new singer and he sings a bit differently than Eric, but Kenny is super involved in songwriting and production and Kenny plays a lot of different instruments so with all of that in it, it becomes a bit different to HEAT II but still i think the sound is still on par or in the same vein.

We’ve already heard three songs from this record, ‘Hollywood’ which has already been turning a lot of heads to watch what H.E.A.T are doing, ‘Back to the Rhythm’ and ‘Nationwide’ – all of which are huge stadium anthems. Is that what this album is about?

Hell yeah! I mean, we love to play live and that’s what we’re kind of doing now which has been awesome, and ‘Hollywood’ is working so well live. It’s probably my favourite to play at the moment – when that chorus hits, it’s like ‘YES!’. You can feel the energy!

I’ve seen footage and it’s wild! Was ‘Hollywood’ written with the live show in mind?

You know when we first started the band, we were studio based really and me and Dave we had been working the studio a lot back then but as we started to play live it was like ‘okay’. We always felt like a heavy metal band, rather than a studio AR band so when we went on stage we felt more like Iron Maiden rather than Coat or some band like that who are moreso musicians. I guess at some point, and I think it was Tearing Down The Walls, around there, that maybe it started reflecting in the music that it was more raw and live focused and more ‘okay, what do we want to do live? What do we want them to sing and play more awesome live music? But it should be awesome to listen to in your headphones as you’re going to sleep as well.

I think you’ve found that balance well. But you are known for being a great live act and I think touring with so many amazing rock legends like Alice Cooper, Toto and Sabaton has elevated your live show even more.

Oh yeah! We were blessed to play with so many incredible acts like Alice Cooper and Toto and all of the festivals we’ve been to. Last weekend we played in Wales at Steelhouse Festival and I saw Saxon play for the first time and I was blown away. I was like ‘what the fuck!’[laughs], and that really inspires you to lift your game and step it up!     

Australia hasn’t had the opportunity to witness that though. H.E.A.T hasn’t played here before!

No, it’s our first time now in September. It’s going to be awesome. Me and Eric flew over in 2016 and played Melodic Rock Fest in Melbourne but it wasn’t H.E.AT, we did a few HEAT songs acoustically and played with another band which was for fun. We had a break with the HEAT before into the great unknown, so we flew over for that and spent a week in Melbourne. But now we’re going to come full force with HEAT which is going to be awesome. And CRAZY LIXX are coming along as well so it will be amazing. Awesome band as well, amazing live!

Being your first show here in Australia, and with a new album, what will a set look like for you? Are you going to try and balance out the newer songs with older ones that we love but haven’t seen live?   

We try to incorporate songs from every album but we have seven albums [laughs] and a bunch of music and it gets harder. We want to play the new stuff and we really want to play songs from HEAT II as well because we didn’t get to tour it so we have four or five tracks from HEAT II, yes we will play a few from Force Majeure as well but we try to play at least two from the first album, one from Freedom Rock and a couple from the Eric albums as well!

That sounds great because we had missed out on seeing you through all of your era’s, and it will be great seeing Kenny step up into the Eric vocal songs. Has that been a learning process for him?

I think he has done his thing with Eric’s songs. It’s not copying Eric’s style, he does his own thing and adds his melodies and small wails and stuff like that. He’s more soulful – I don’t know if that’s a word – he likes more soul and does the runs more than Eric who is more of a power singer. He does his interpretation on tracks, it sounds really cool! It’s awesome to play all of the tracks live at the moment!

I have to ask about the new album’s title, Force Majeure. Is that a nod to the changeover of singers or is there another meaning to it?

For us, it’s like the word force was with us all along. We wanted to make it undeniable and have this force – that was the key word – and we thought about naming the album just Force but then we thought of Force Majeure and we’re like ‘oo’. It’s like a major force and it reflects the pandemic it was written during. Force Majeure, I mean swapping singers is almost a force majeure but you can read some meanings into it.

Up for interpretation!

Most of all it sounds badass.

It does! I won’t lie I did look up to see whether you were using the English or French pronunciation but glad I didn’t have to add my French ‘r’s onto it.

[laughs] Haha yeah we’re using the English pronunciation until we go to France and sound quite pretentious! *imitates French accent* Force Majeure.

So it’s out on Friday – are there any other single releases or music video releases coming with the release?

We wanted to but couldn’t make it work because we are touring. But as you do these days, you have a focus track and that is ‘Tainted Blood’ for us. That is the one we pitched to streaming platforms. And I really love that track and cannot wait to play it live! Actually I think we’ll be playing it for the first time in Australia because the album will be out by then so we can play more songs from Force Majeure!

Amazing! We obviously can’t wait! Why was ‘Tainted Blood’ a standout for you?

I’m not sure it’s a standout but it has this heavy riff that is reminiscent of Judas Priest and I kind of love that classic metal vibe to it!

We love Judas Priest here so that’s a good sign! In terms of that logical side of pulling this album together, you did say it was created during the pandemic. Was that during lockdowns, were you writing together?

Most of the time we would write individually to get the basic idea of the track and then get together to finish it. But in terms of lockdowns, we didn’t have any hard lockdowns in Sweden which everyone had to do their share of separating and distancing from each other. So it was up to everyone to make sure they didn’t affect people. So we all got together and hung out in the studio together and we did!

That makes it so much easier. And I guess with Kenny being back it would have been important for dynamic.

Yeah and just hang out and get to know each other!

Were you in contact with Kenny during his departure?

Every now and then but not really in contact. We met up in 2015 the last time before he rejoined the band, with me, him & Dave, and Dave wasn’t in the band then. We had dinner and a few beers, actually a lot of beers [laughs] I remember! But apart from, that there would be the text are Christmas or birthdays. Until he decided to rejoin.

So how did that conversation happen that he wanted to rejoin? With him rejoining like an instant back to being close or was there a big transition period?

We had to make sure he had his priorities right this time because he left the band for a reason back in the day but he has a lot of regret leaving and you can tell and he has been very open about that. He missed it and wanted to get back. He told me in 2019 when Eric was still in the band that he wanted to come back and I told him it would be pretty hard because we had a singer but you never know for the future. It happened quite quickly for him actually. You never know!

It all happened for a reason!       

It worked out so well and we’re super happy to keep it in the family!

   That familiarity helps with excitement for fans as well.

We can tell that because we sold out our show in Stockholm and I think a lot of that is because Kenny is back. We sold out our biggest venue so far! It has to be because he is back and we’re so glad for what’s happening moving forward.

So does that mean already planning for the next album?

I actually couldn’t sleep last night because I was shifting through a shit load of song ideas! I’m constantly working on new stuff. So absolutely. We’re touring now but creating music is a constant thing. I can’t turn it off. We should start recording again next year, at least I hope!

Incredible! Well, remember when you do start planning the next album tour to add Australia to the top of the list!

We will, I cannot tell you how excited we are to be coming down and playing!

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[Review] The Hu @ 170 Russell, Melbourne 03/08/2022

2 years ago, in the before times, The Hu were here, and were ready to play on the Download line up, then tragedy strikes, the plague times begin, and they get locked in Sydney for a couple of weeks. Now, they are back and hungry as ever to play for Australia and starting off their tour with 2 sold out Melbourne shows!

Rocking up to the line about 45mins early, a little later than normal for me, the line was already around the block and in the alley way behind the venue, people are keen as hell for this show! Doors open and the line moves reasonably quick for people heading straight to merch or the front of the venue for prime viewing, I manage to get my regular spot at 170 Russell, you’ve always got a regular spot for these types of things.

The Blackwater Fever take the stage right on time and straight from the opening chords, I’m hooked. This 3-piece Brisbane rock band sound like Sabbath if they were playing in the deep south instead of London. Think big sounding bluesy style riffs with a ton of reverb, a bassist that also plays keys and then add double that amount of reverb on the drums! Producing a massive sound and holding their own in the thick atmosphere they created, they entranced all watching and the rhythm took over to bring the people in and headbang. The Blackwater Fever prove the point that less is sometimes more, you don’t always need crazy intricate riffs to get people interested, these guys write a damn good tune and a killer opening band.

As The Hu crew set the stage with a drum kit, a percussion kit and then a totem raised in the middle of the stage as well for good measure, the crowd’s anticipation skyrockets. There are cheers, people start pushing to the front and all eyes are on the stage. The lights darken, music starts and The Hu storm the stage in their full leather gear and instruments in hand. What surprised me tonight was how close the music translates from recording to live, with the number of instruments changing on stage with one of the singers wearing a belt of flutes and the percussionist also had things changing every couple of songs as well, everything was audible. One of the main draws to The Hu is the traditional throat singing and vocal harmonies created, they did not disappoint. All members on stage have a microphone and the vocal mix is well done with only one of the main vocals being lower in the mix at some points but watching them sing together is nothing short of amazing.

The sheer happiness and excitement of the band is an energy that is room filling, they didn’t stop smiling or laughing to each other from start to finish. They are incredibly passionate about their music and culture and having that energy come back at them from the crowd, they couldn’t stop jumping and screaming “Thank you” and “Rock On” which were pretty much the only English sentences spoken by them. One of the main vocalists would occasionally have a quick little speech in their native tongue to be met with cheers or people looking around not knowing what was said but there was one girl who made the crowd laugh each time because each time he spoke in Mongolian, we would here “I farkin luv ya” in such a thick Aussie accent. The complete opposites in languages but I’m sure the sentiment was the same.

The crowd involvement for songs like Shoog Shoog, Yuve Yuve Yu and Wolf Totem was electric. The rhythms of this band just sent people dancing and singing. Ending the set on the latest singles Black Thunder and This is Mongo, the crowd and band are relentless, thriving off each other’s energy and getting a circle pit going. They come back for a sweet little encore with a cover of Metallica’s Sad But True and what a cover! What a great way to end the night!

For my first international band in about 18 months, what better way than to get back into it than with The Hu? I had high expectations for these guys, and they blew them out of the park! I hope the rest of the tour is as great as this was.

THE HU
Black Thunder Australia & NZ Tour 2022

Saturday, August 6: Bridgeway Hotel, Adelaide
(Previously Hindley Street Music Hall)
Sunday, August 7: The Roundhouse, Sydney Sold Out
Thursday, August 11: Powerstation, Auckland NZ Sold Out

For complete tour and ticket and information, visit: 
livenation.com.au, livenation.co.nzthehuofficial.com

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InterviewsTour Interview

Interview with THE HU!

Critically celebrated Mongolian rock band THE HU kicked off their Black Thunder tour of Australia and New Zealand in Melbourne for the last 2 nights!

STMs Mitch and Kynan got to hang with THE HU this week ahead of their Australian Tour across Australia! 

On all Australian showsThe Blackwater Fever will rattle audiences down to their bone marrow via some thunderous, tortured electric guitar, mesmerising organ swirls, and the unrelenting rhythmic stomp of their atmospheric, blues-heavy rock.

Breaking your heart one minute with a harrowing growl, only to pick you up with an irresistible rocker the next, this Brisbane-based blues-rock trio is a live experience not to be missed. 

The Blackwater Fever has shared stages with The Black Keys (US), Clutch (US), Truckfighters (SWE), Violent Soho, Tame Impala, Birds Of Tokyo, and many more.

******

Setting the scene in Auckland, the mighty Shepherd’s Reign are the perfect openers for a night of primal music.  Combining the traditional and ancient music of their forefathers with modern rock and metal influences including bands like Gojira, Avenged Sevenfold, and Dream Theater, Shepherds Reign have found their own unique sound in a cluttered and overblown musical environment.
 
Shepherds Reign brings a captivating and enthralling sound with the use of the Samoan language, instruments, and culture, making it an integral part of their evocative and primal live show. A show that displays a fierce pride for their music and wins the audience every time with its blood-pumping ritualistic beats, thick melodic textures, and an undeniable power that hooks the audience into the band’s dark and heavy realm completely.
 
You can catch them on the below dates!!! But be quick Tickets are selling out fast


THE HU
Black Thunder Australia & NZ Tour 2022

Friday, August 5: Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane
Saturday, August 6: Bridgeway Hotel, Adelaide
(Previously Hindley Street Music Hall)
Sunday, August 7: The Roundhouse, Sydney Sold Out
Thursday, August 11: Powerstation, Auckland NZ Sold Out

For complete tour and ticket and information, visit: 
livenation.com.au, livenation.co.nzthehuofficial.com

Proving their global appeal, The HU have sold out venues across the world in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, with scheduled festival appearances at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Download Festival, and more, creating a community of fans from all walks of life. They quickly grabbed the attention of the industry, leading to collaborations with Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm.

Their debut album, 2019 ‘s The Gereg, debuted at #1 on the World Album and Top New Artist Charts. With it, the band have accumulated over 250 million combined streams and video views to date and have received critical acclaim from the likes of Billboard, NPR, GQ, The Guardian, The Independent, Revolver, and even Sir Elton John himself. 

Readying their next chapter as a global force, The HU will release their new album,
Rumble Of Thunder on September 2, Better Noise Music.


Pre orders are available now!
thehu.ffm.to/rumbleofthunder

 Follow The Hu
WEBSITE // FACEBOOK // INSTAGRAM // TWITTER // YOUTUBE

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THE LUMINEERS Announce Australia & New Zealand Dates For Their BRIGHTSIDE World Tour 2022

They’ve soundtracked countless lives with their inimitable sound, sold millions of albums, and have sold out shows the world over. Now, three years since their last visit to our shores for Splendour In The Grass and five years since their last national tour, American folk-rock outfit The Lumineers will make their triumphant return to Australia this November and play their first ever headline show in New Zealand, with dates in Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne – proudly presented by Handsome Tours and Bluesfest Touring.
 
Kicking off at Auckland’s Powerstation on November 11, The Lumineers will then hit Australia to play Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall on November 13, before heading to Sydney’s Aware Super Theatre on November 15, and wrapping things up at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena on November 18. 
 
Tickets go on sale at 9am local time on Friday 5 August from http://handsometours.com/tours/the-lumineers-4/, with an artist presale live from Thursday 4 August at 9am local time, and a Handsome Tours presale live from Thursday August 4 at 2pm local time.
 
We can’t wait to finally return after three long years to Australia and are excited for our first headline show in New Zealand ever for us.  We’ll see you out there!” – Wesley Schultz.

 
 
After forming as a duo comprising vocalist/guitarist Wesley Schultz and percussionist/pianist Jeremiah Fraites in 2005, The Lumineers first found their way onto the global music scene in 2012, with their Platinum-selling self-titled debut album boasting the massive Ho Hey, which would top charts around the world, and eventually be certified 5x Platinum in Australia. The group would follow up their debut in 2016 with Cleopatra, which would not only reach #2 in the ARIA Singles Charts, but also amass more than 116 million streams globally. Releasing their third record, the aptly-titled III in 2019, The Lumineers briefly returned to Australia for a pair of performances in NSW: an intimate show at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre and a high-profile appearance on the 2019 Splendour In The Grass line-up. 
 
Having been performing on some of the world’s greatest stages for the last decade, The Lumineers returned in early 2022 with their fourth full-length album, Brightside, which would top the charts in their native US. Amassing over 5.5 billion global streams for their celebrated discography and selling over 5 million albums, the duo are now set to bring their eclectic and acclaimed folk rock sounds back to Australian shores once again.
 
Tickets go on sale to the general public at 9am local time Friday 5 August, for tickets and further information, head tohttp://handsometours.com/tours/the-lumineers-4/

THE LUMINEERS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND TOUR 2022
Presented In Partnership With Handsome Tours And Bluesfest
FRI 11 NOV | POWERSTATION, AUCKLAND | 18+
SUN 13 NOV | FORTITUDE MUSIC HALL, BRISBANE | 18+
TUES 15 NOV | AWARE SUPER THEATRE, SYDNEY | AA
FRI 18 NOV | MARGARET COURT ARENA, MELBOURNE | AA

 

 

 

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