The Heavy

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The Heavy’s How You Like Me Now? EP and track continues to turn heads worldwide

:: The Heavy ::
:: Bluebird Theater :: November 10 ::

By Timothy Dwenger

In January of this year a relatively unknown band took the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York City to perform in front of millions on the David Letterman show. Little did they know at the time that this one performance might change the course of their entire career as a band. As soon as The Heavy launched into their single “How You Like Me Know?” it was clear that they were hell bent on turning millions of living rooms and bedrooms across America into sweaty late night dance parties.

When Letterman came out to thank the band at the end of the song he stammered in awe and then invited the band to play the song again, right then and there.  Frontman Kelvin Swaby looked a little stunned but cued the band and the madness picked up right where it had left off and The Heavy ran through the song again.  It wasn’t the last time viewers would hear the song as Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra picked it up and jammed it right through the closing credits of the show.

“We had been playing over here for a good two years before that performance,” Swaby said in a recent interview with The Marquee from Philadelphia just as the band was about to kick off their biggest North American tour to date. “We played SXSW a couple of years ago and we killed it. On so many blogs after that we were voted as one of the top four or five bands of the festival and that’s pretty incredible considering we were mostly unknown before we went out there. I would say that kind of started the ball rolling slowly and then being asked to come on to Letterman was the next step.  The music supervisor was truly into what we were doing and had seen a couple of shows in New York. We just went on the show and played it like we play it and I think that really helped.”

In addition to the four core members of the band, their Letterman performance was bolstered by a horn section familiar to many fans of the current funk and soul scene, The Dap-King Horns. “I’ve been a fan of the Dap Kings for so long and really like how they go about their work, there is a like-mindedness there,” said Swaby. “When we were asked to do Letterman we thought we’d try to see if the Dap-King Horns were available to play with us. It turns out that they were fans of ‘That Kind of Man’ from our first record, and they swore that when they first heard that track they thought it was a jam from the late ’60s or early ’70s. I put the request into them and literally in less than 12 hours they had agreed to do it with us.”

Now, almost a year later, it looks like that one request has paid off 100 fold. The Heavy spent a good portion of the spring and summer on the road supporting Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, they’ve recorded with The Dap-King Horns, and now, this fall, Dap-King baritone sax player Ian Hendrickson-Smith will be sitting in with the band for select dates and the collaborations may not stop there. “I was recently speaking with Bosco [Mann, producer and bassist with the Dap Kings] about maybe arranging some strings and some horns for the next album and he was totally up for it, so we’ll see what goes on. Binky [Griptite, guitarist with The Dap Kings] wants to get involved with some stuff as well, so in a number of areas I think we are going to be doing some work with them.”

The first of the recorded collaborations between the groups dropped October 19 when The Heavy’s How You Like Me Now? EP was released. In addition to re-recorded versions of the title track, and the live staples “Coleen” and “That Kind of Man,” the EP features two new tunes that didn’t make the cut for their last record, The House That Dirt Built, but shine on this release.

While Swaby wasn’t afraid to gush about all the songs that the band has up their sleeves for their next LP, he did acknowledge that it was probably going to be a little while before anything gets properly recorded.  “We’ll be on a bus for the next month, so when we stop we’ve got plenty of mics so we’ll add to our demos,” Swaby said. “We won’t have enough time to do drums, but we’ll do stuff like guitars and vocals to just get the ideas down.”

For now, The Heavy are going to be busy whetting more appetites as they bring their contemporary mash-up of punk, funk, and rock to clubs across the country with a horn section in tow. The Heavy are guaranteed to get up there and “play it like they play it,” as Swaby would say, to get the room moving. A quick Google of their Letterman performance may be all the convincing anyone needs to lay down some hard earned cash and catch them live.

:: The Heavy ::

:: Bluebird Theater :: November 10 ::

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• Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

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