2007 – present (10 years)
Bath, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
The Heavy are a soul-influenced indie rock band which formed in Bath, England in 2007. The band consists of Kelvin Swaby (vocals), Dan Taylor (guitar), Spencer Page (bass), Chris Ellul (drums) and formerly, Hannah Collins (keyboards). According to Songfacts, when The Heavy performed How Do You Like Me Now? on Late Night With David Letterman, they so impressed the host that he asked the band to play some more - the first time that's ever happened on the show.
The band claims to be from the village of Noid, England, near Bath. However, no such town exists in England. "Noid" has been suspected of being a pun on the "No ID, No Sale" campaign in pubs in the UK.
Forming in the fertile swamps of England’s West Country in the mid-naughties, around the axis of Dan Taylor (guitarist and songwriter) and Kelvin Swaby (vocalist and songwriter,) the Heavy immediately astounded. Jaw dropping, freshly minted riffs, swinging hip-hop drums, funk-ridden bass and Swaby’s startling, Mayfield-esque vocals meant early singles ‘That Kind of Man’ and ‘Colleen’ blew minds and won hearts. The debut album they were taken from – ‘Great Vengeance and Furious Fire’ – became an instant connoisseurs’ classic.
It was their sophomore album, though, that saw them blasting into homes across the globe. ‘The House that Dirt Built’. It also yielded the mighty ‘How You Like Me Now?’ The single was licensed for a major commercial in the 3rd Quarter of the Superbowl (the biggest ad slot in the world) and quite simply went stratospheric.
“It became such a big tune, that people asked, ‘How are you going to top that?’.” Swaby says.
The answer was 2012’s ‘The Glorious Dead,’ the band’s third album. Even deeper, a touch darker, and with shades of Southern Gothic infesting the swampy rock n’ soul of previous records, the album was another giant step forward, Frankensteining swampy voodoo and b-movie zombies with garage rock and Gospel-soaked soul.
Lead single ‘What Makes a Good Man?’ showed that The Heavy were able to write brilliant singles time after time, with synchs snowing in once again, and American radio coming on board. The band toured the world exhaustively, wowing audiences with their transcendental live performances.
“It was over the top, in a good way,” adds Heavy frontman Kelvin Swaby. “We went pretty cinematic, setting out to score a film that hasn’t been written.”
“It’s good to have a bit of light and shade,” Taylor adds.
Since then, The Heavy has gone on to achieve storming success in Japan, playing Fuji Rock, chalking up a #1 alternative album on iTunes Japan, scoring a major Pepsi synch and playing Japan’s biggest breakfast TV show, ‘Sukkiri.’
Their music was used in the stunning Guiness Sapeurs ad, they played Glastonbury, sold out Shepherd’s Bush Empire and re-recorded How You Like Me Now? with none other than 50 Cent, to launch ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft Week.
To top it all, How You Like Me Now? reached Gold status in the United States – a stunning achievement for an English, independent artist. How to top all that, you might ask? Well, there’s a new album on the way, and The Heavy just happen to have a habit of exceeding themselves…
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