The Howlers

Wednesday 25 September 2024, 7:30pm - 11pm

The Waterfront Studio


Tickets are subject to 10% booking fee

£12.00 (General)

14+ (under 16s to be accompanied by an adult)

At the start of 2022, The Howlers, outwardly at least, were on a high. They had just completed a sold-out tour, off the back of recording their debut EP during the depths of the 2020 lockdowns. ‘We took the decision to bubble together during the pandemic,’ says lead-vocalist Adam Young, describing the band’s near-apocalyptic experience of travelling back and forth between their shared living accommodation and a rehearsal studio, made available to them by previous members of Palma Violets and Big Moon.

‘Everyone was queuing up with facemasks outside banks, there were protests, it was dystopian’, he recalls, of that time. Adam, bass player Guus Ter Braak, and their former drummer were living in close quarters, eating, and sleeping in a small house share, laying down the record against the precarious backdrop of a live music industry in lockdown turmoil. The result was the band’s first EP which earned the band rapid attention and a cohort of loyal fans, but beneath the surface, things were not running as smoothly as they seemed.

Despite their quick ascent, The Howlers, as they were until 2022, were dealing with more behind the scenes than what would be expected for an up-and-coming act. Guus and Adam, who have been friends and bandmates since meeting at university, saw their close working relationship challenged from all sides. Creative differences with former bandmates reared their heads, exacerbated by the stress individual band members were under due to personal loss, illness, and grief. Adam lost two family members during the pandemic, and himself suffered a series of alarming health emergencies which almost put a stop to the band’s progress. ‘I had two strokes in the space of two months,’ says Adam, ‘mostly because I was carrying everything on my shoulders.’ These stresses, along with others, almost marked the end of The Howlers, and put a strain on Adam and Guus’s friendship. But things turned a miraculous corner when drummer Tom Triggs came into view. Tom had been moving in the same circles as Guus and Adam for a while. When his former band went their separate ways during the pandemic, he was looking for a new project. This feels like a fated moment in the band’s evolution. The band’s management played Tom some demos from the album. He fell in love with the music, fitting into the band ‘like a round peg in a round hole’.  The latest iteration of the band then recorded their ‘Further Down The Line EP’, with long-time collaborators and dear friends Black Honey both producing and performing on the record, as a defiant response to the turmoil they had been through.

The song that stood out for Tom was ‘El Dorado’ which is the first single to be released from their new album with Tom on drums. ‘The song speaks volumes’ says Tom, ‘it’s all about trying to find your way to a better place and going through the journey of ups and downs to get there.’ The album, whose title ‘What You’ve Got To Lose To Win It All’ is taken from one of the lyrics in ‘El Dorado’ was recorded, again with the support Black Honey, in Eastbourne over a period of 8 days. The record returns to The Howlers self-coined genre of desert rock, but draws on Adam, Guus and Tom’s wide ranging individual influences. This confluence of soul, pop, rock and folk results in a driving, cinematic record.

The experience of recording their debut album over those eight days near the beach in Eastbourne was both cathartic and healing for a band who have gone through so much, both collectively and as individuals. Adam recalls the final day of recording, when they discovered that a huge fireworks display, and bonfire was taking place in the town. It was pure coincidence that this local event was happening, but for The Howlers it felt like an important, celebratory moment; watching a firework display together as the perfect cinematic ending to recording an album that has processed so many emotions and challenges and is a testament to a band who has triumphed against the odds.