The singer-songwriter talks growing up with ADHD, musical influences and his new track “Vacancy”.
Following the success of his debut single “Pig Latin” earlier this year, singer-songwriter Havelock is back this month with the punchy, slow-rolling “Vacancy“.
Originally hailing from a small town in Kent, Havelock moved to London in 2016 in search of something more exciting. Having sofa-surfed for a while holding down part-time jobs, he’s no stranger to husting for his art. But as anyone who’s rolled into work after a bank holiday Monday can attest to, the daily grind can be pretty exhausting – especially if it’s taking time away from what you really want to do be doing.
So Havelock wrote “Vacancy”, which documents his frustration at having to serve tables all day instead of focusing on his music, accompanied by a video depicting him being dragged around by a cable – representing his time begrudgingly finishing work shifts. With hip-hop inspired drum breaks, hazy guitar sounds and angelic vocals, this new offering’s setting Havelock up for a pretty exciting summer.
We caught up with the singer about his musical influences, inspirations behind the track and what he’s got coming up next.
How did you start out making music?
When I was about nine years old, I was really into cheesy rock ‘n’ roll bands like ACDC and Guns N’ Roses. I thought that if you played guitar in a rock band, that it immediately made you cool. I was that goofy kid with too much energy at school, so I think finding a hobby that made feel like I could fit in really helped me get through that part of my life.
What were your main influences growing up?
In my childhood house, there was always the strangest mix of albums. The first two albums that I nicked from my parent’s collection were 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and Stereophonics Word Gets Around – which is an odd blend, but I think that the wide variety of music in the house as a kid definitely spurred on my desire to make music that draws from all kinds of styles.
How did your upbringing affect your music?
Growing up was always a bit of an uphill struggle for me. I hated school and didn’t find it easy to fit in the environment that it provided. I was put on pretty heavy ADHD medication from quite a young age. Being able to openly talk about it used to be a struggle and as a result, I felt very alienated from everyone else as a kid. Writing songs gave me a chance to talk about the struggles that I went through and eventually helped me come to terms with them.
How would you describe your music?
Imagine a fruit cake. It’s got all the components: Fruit – juicy melodies. Nuts – honest lyrics. Cake mix – the fluffy foundation of the instrumental…
Your sound has a really hazy, eclectic feel – what’s the best feedback you’ve had on your music?
To be honest, one of the best things about releasing new music has been receiving messages from people I’ve never met. To know that my music has had a positive impact on someone’s day is a great feeling.
Where do you mainly get your inspirations from?
Some of the most popular artists at the moment are really inspiring me. Artists like Tyler, The Creator and Slowthai with their latest albums, for example. For Tyler to get the number one record in the world with such an experimental, groundbreaking album fills me with a lot of hope for the music industry.
What was the inspiration behind “Vacancy”?
“Vacancy” was written whilst I was in a bit of a rut, being bogged down with my part-time job. At the time I was doing a lot of waiter-work and it wasn’t leaving much time for me to focus on music. I just channelled all of this frustration into a song with Oscar Scheller and out popped “Vacancy”.
The music video has a real home-made, handheld cam look – what made you opt for this DIY feel?
It wouldn’t have felt natural at this early stage to have a really polished, slick looking video for my second release. I shot the video with two of my best mates and we wanted to do something that wasn’t going to take itself too seriously or cost much. We felt like what we captured was pretty natural and suited to the laid-back aesthetic of the song, so we’re really happy with it.
What’s next for you? What are you excited about?
I’m really excited about releasing a big chunk of songs that I’ve been working on over the past year or so. I’ve been tucked away in studios for a while, working hard on new material. There are a few more styles and sounds for people to sink their teeth into throughout these next projects. I’m excited to see the reaction it gets.