The Heavy North: Liverpool blues rock band talk 2021, touring and their debut album

With a single out and a new album to come, 2022 looks set to be a big year for the Merseyside band

Liverpool garage blues rock five piece ‘The Heavy North’ have spoken of their time in the industry so far, their hopes for the new year and how preparation for their debut album release has gone.

Kicking off 2022 in style, the band released new single ‘Satisfy You’ on New Year’s Day.

The band is made up of Kenny Stuart (singer/songwriter & guitarist), Jose Ibanez (guitarist and producer), Andrew Horrocks (bass player), Ste Penn (keys player) and Mark Rice (drums).

Life for the band started out in Summer 2018 when Kenny and Jose invited Ste, Andy and Mark to visit Jose’s 3rd Planet Recording Studio in Liverpool.

The band played their debut show as ‘The Heavy North’ in November 2018 and released a couple of singles.

This was followed by a debut EP titled ‘Dive Bar Blues’ in 2020. Now, the band is gearing up to release their first album ‘Electric Soul Machine’.

“We were quite fortunate as a band to stay as active as possible during the pandemic,” the guys told LiverpoolWorld.

“We were preparing to release our first EP in 2020 and we’d just finished filming some music videos and playing some live shows.

“We also took the opportunity to write and record new tracks between lockdowns at Jose’s studio, as well as getting involved with some of the live streaming events and online gigs.

“In fact, one of our highlights was playing a live-streamed set from the M&S Bank Arena during the pandemic for the Liverpool Digital Music Festival in August 2020.

“We’re also grateful for a lot of the online support over the past 18 months too, especially from Twitter where there’s some great supporters and champions of new music.”

The band had a busy 2021, despite the pandemic and restrictions.

Members of The Heavy North
Members of The Heavy North
Members of The Heavy North

A big moment for them was finishing the recording of the debut album at 3rd Planet Recordings, as well as sharing a couple of the singles with fans and followers during the year.

Towards the end of 2021 they started playing some ‘proper’ gigs again which was great for the band.

These included a first London show at The Fiddler in Kilburn.

It was part of a little run of headline shows which included a sold-out hometown headline show at Jimmy’s in November and it was great to meet so many people who had discovered our music during the various lockdowns!

The band’s sound has been described as ‘soul’ or ‘soul rock’, particularly when people hear Kenny’s vocals and can hear elements of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, but the easiest way to describe it would be garage/blues rock.

The sound has also drawn comparisons to Led Zeppelin, Free, Black Sabbath, Rival Sons and The Black Keys.

Recording of the album was finished in summer 2021 which is when it was made available to pre-order on 12” vinyl and CD.

The whole process took around 18 months, partially due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s also something that the band didn’t want to rush.

The band added: “Jose has done an incredible job not only as the band’s guitarist but as our producer, and we’re grateful we could take our time with the recording process and chip away at Electric Soul Machine over a number of months.

“Similar to how we settled on the name of our debut EP ‘Dive Bar Blues’, the Electric Soul Machine title was a couple of words we felt were well-suited to the sound of the band, especially after being described as having a ‘soul’ sound.

“There’s also a vague reference to two slightly obscure bands from the 1960s – the ‘The Electric Prunes’ and ‘The Soft Machine’”

The band settled on what their hopes for 2022 are, firstly for themselves and secondly for the music industry.

They said: “Firstly, our hope is that the 12” vinyl copies of our debut album arrive soon!

“We can’t wait to share the finished product with everyone who has supported the band over the past three years, and we can’t wait to play some of the new tracks live for the first time when the album arrives.

“Secondly, we’re gradually seeing the music industry rebuilding itself. Whilst it’s great to see so many independent grassroots venues that have survived through campaigning, grant funding and crowdfunding, there are loads that haven’t.

“The UK music industry needs to be sustainable for all – venues, promoters and artists like us - and hopefully in 2022 we’ll see the return of un-restricted ‘proper’ gigs in venues across the UK.”

‘Electric Soul Machine’ is out soon and for the latest info, visit the band’s Twitter page