Despite embarking on only their first ever UK headline tour, London based quintet HAUS took to the stage at Manchester’s Sound Control with a youthful energy, exuding confidence as each song flowed on to the next.
Regarding the tour, lead singer Ash spoke of the different weight in expectation in comparison to being a support artist: “I think on average, support tours always go better because you have low expectations, you can have a shit show and that’ll be it.” However, when asked about their date at the London Courtyard the following day he responded more positively: “You always know it’s going to be good. You always know what to expect and you always come away smiling.”
HAUS’s diversity in sound, an eclectic combination of indie/dance/hip-hop, extends to their songs – typified in recent single ‘Say What You Say’. Although this has a softer, slightly more anthemic approach than their other releases, it rides a wave of swelling and delay-induced guitars to cinematic effect. Speaking of the reception their new material has had at recent shows, guitarist Daniel says: “They’ve gone down well. The last show we played, we were really surprised the crowd had caught on to the lyrics and were singing back to us.”
As HAUS ripped into one of these raucous new releases, ‘Levels’ I could see a more primal and aggressive side to them, with the driving, crisp rhythms from drummer Lyle giving their performance a cutting edge. It also highlighted their ambition, with the band’s jarring use of percussion in places, evocative of modern hip-hop, creating space for the guitars to flourish. This ambition is perhaps epitomised in the hook, “Live fast, die young, that’s alright for some, look how far we’ve come, we’ll never be done.” Another thing which sticks out for me the most in ‘Levels’ is the decaying swell sound following the first chorus. While not only showing the band’s ear for sonic exploration, it also shows a willingness to take risks and move away from the arguably pastiche nature of indie-rock in the current musical climate.
This was what I was most excited to talk to the band about, as their cross-genre approach shows a move away from generic rock band clichés. I started by bringing up general comments from the music press and established artists such as Grimes who in a recent interview with Rolling Stone said that despite her adoration of prominent UK rock bands such as Foals and Bring Me the Horizon, the future of rock may lie with using 808s and other drum machines. The band concurred, even drawing a fist-bump from Ash and Daniel. “This shouldn’t just be limited to 808s though”, says Ash. “There should be double bass drums in pop music.”
Another thing that impresses me about HAUS is their attention to detail which they take beyond their sound. The band play Reading and Leeds Festival’s dance stage this summer, and when questioned on how they felt being one of the bands to grace that stage this year, they think it’s the right place to be: “It feels amazing. We seem to do a lot of things in different ways to other bands. We’re not a traditional band in everything we approach, in terms of clothes, drum style, guitar riffs and in terms of sound. We like to do things differently.”
The band’s confidence grew as the set carried on. The polyrhythmic guitars parts weaving in and out of each other prove to be a clear strength of the band whilst also cushioning the blow from Ash’s unflinching vocal. The set then reached its crescendo with debut single ‘Haze’ where Ash capped off a high octane show by leaping into the crowd.
HAUS are definitely a band with all their intentions to innovate and explore focused in the right areas. I can’t wait to see how they’re going to grow and develop in what seems like a very promising future.
HAUS released their debut EP ‘Say What You Say’ on June 9th.