Interview with The Heavy North

As iconic, musically-charged cities go, Liverpool is right up there. So it’s high time you met The Heavy North, a six-piece blues-rock band that hails from there…


Hi guys, how’s it going?

It’s going great thanks! We’re just recovering from a short run of four consecutive UK shows, but now we’ve got the taste for travelling and can’t wait to get back on the road later this year!

Fantastic stuff! So, tell us about yourselves — when and how did you form The Heavy North?

We’re a five piece garage-blues-rock band from Liverpool, and we’re gearing up to release our debut album, ‘Electric Soul Machine’, which will be arriving this April. Our latest single, ‘Satisfy You’, was released on New Year’s Day.

The band’s made up of Kenny Stuart (singer-songwriter and guitarist), Jose Ibanez (guitarist and producer), Andrew Horrocks (bassist), Ste Penn (keys player), Mark Rice (drummer) and Jack Birch (guitarist).

It all started in summer 2018 when Kenny and Jose invited Ste, Andy and Mark to visit Jose’s 3rd Planet Recording Studios in Liverpool. A few of us had played in bands together before and some of us were just mates who knew each other could play. Then this year we introduced, Jack as the sixth member!

Which artists have influenced your sound?

The Heavy North’s sound is influenced by a lot of the music we all grew up listening to. So that’s artists like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, as well as more modern outfits such as Queens of the Stone Age, The Black Keys, Jack White, Band of Skulls, and so on.

Kenny’s vocals are also influenced by some of the legendary soul singers like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, and this mixture of blues-rock and soul has helped us to craft our sound over recent years.

Amazing! The past two years have been turbulent for the music industry — how have you coped? What have been the pluses and the minuses?

We were quite lucky as a band to remain active during the pandemic. When it all kicked off in 2020, we were just preparing to release our first EP, ‘Dive Bar Blues’, and we’d just finished filming some music videos and playing some a few live shows.

We also took the opportunity to write and record new tracks between lockdowns, alongside getting involved with some of the live-streaming events and online gigs. This included a live-streamed set from the iconic M&S Bank Arena on the Liverpool waterfront as part of the Liverpool Digital Music Festival in August 2020.

Oh nice one! So, what have been your highlights as a band so far?

One of our highlights was definitely holding the 12” vinyl of ‘Dive Bar Blues’ in our hands. This wasn’t just the first four-track recording that we’d produced as a band, but it was the first we’d self-released on 12” vinyl (300 copies). We can’t wait to hoist our debut album when that finally arrives in a few weeks!

Other highlights span playing at the Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF) back in July 2019, as well as a sold-out show at the legendary Cavern Club earlier this year for BBC Introducing. The latter was particularly special because it felt like our first big show, with no COVID-19 restrictions in place, which was great after waiting so long to do a ‘proper’ gig!

Which venues have you enjoyed playing the most?

Playing a live set in the 11,000-seater arena during the pandemic was one of the more surreal venues!

Most recently, we also did a gig in Bristol at The Lanes, which actually has a proper bowling alley inside. That was certainly a unique one to play!

Can you tease any new music on the horizon or talk us through your latest release?

Well our focus is firmly on finally releasing our debut album in April, and it’ll be available on 12” gatefold vinyl, CD and digital download. We have a few more tracks up our sleeves over the coming months, too.

We’re also looking forward to getting back into the studio and working on new material later this year, and we hope to get out on tour after the summer to play some tracks from ‘Electric Soul Machine’.

Image credit: dirtyroknroller

You can check out The Heavy North on Spotify and Instagram now.

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