GIITTV Introducing: Hero & Leander

heroandleanderFollowing their Preaching From the Pews entry, Tiffany Daniels emailed* Hero & Leander‘s front man Gary Cansell, who responded with tales on onstage whiplash and Gumtree.

* All the cool kids are doing it.


Why have you chosen to name yourself after a Greek myth? What’s the significance of the story?

When something sad happens a long time ago – I mean thousands of years ago – even something as sad as two lovers drowning, the weight of that sadness diminishes and it becomes melancholy. A wise man from Italy once described melancholy as sadness without the weight, I think. Melancholy things are pretty, and if a band name is to be anything, it may as well be pretty.

Also, the band has two main singers – a boy and a girl – so Hero & Leander works out nicely.


Several of you used to be in NeatPeople. What other bands have you performed in, in the past? Have you all known each other for a while?

I don’t think any of us have been in any other bands seriously, though between us we’ve peopled Hot Rock, Magic Bus, Blue Loco, and a few others you’ll not have heard of. Me, Scot, Marc and James have known each other since before we could grow beards. Actually, that’s not quite true, because Scot’s been able to grow a beard since he could walk. At any rate, we’ve known each other long enough to be able to communicate without words while we’re playing. We met Andy and Emily more recently, through Gumtree. We still have to use language with them.


What inspires you to write music?

There’s nothing more lofty to it than it being something we like to do. I guess other great songwriters are inspirational, but really terrible songwriters are equally inspiring.

You’ve started a video blog and have so far recorded a version of your song “One Mississippi Two”. Can we expect more in the future?

The blog will have a bunch of stuff – lyrics, free downloads, photographs of Salvador Dali floating with three cats, all the usual things. We’re planning some foreign language versions of the songs, and various other videos. It’s a cheap, fun thing to do, and we hope the ideas will be interesting enough to keep people coming back. If anyone has any video requests, I’m sure we could do it. Within reason. I’m not going to shout at a rabbit, for example.


What made you come up with the idea of a video blog, unsolicited by any outside project?

Sleepless nights and Polish lager. With a bunch of songs and six minds working relatively well, it seemed like we could produce things that are worth people’s time. Maybe offer something slightly different. Or is it the same? I don’t know.

Do you focus on any particular themes on your forthcoming EP?

Particle accelerators, police tactics, blowing on windows and drawing circles on the glass, sleepless nights. That kind of thing. The lyrics for the four songs are on the site – Kettle, One Mississippi Two, Collider, and The Thought of Your Mind in Motion Puts Me to Sleep.


When’s it due out and what’s it going to be called?

It’s due out at the end of August and will be called Collider EP.


You played your debut London show at The Enterprise recently. What was the reception like?

You mean the gig a few months back? The reception was lovely. I hope the band has something approaching a joyous sound – the lyrics aren’t all positive and light, but the fact that we’re able to sing and play instruments, to any kind of level, is a luxury, not something to be grumpy mumps about – and hopefully the live show reflects that. Incidentally, starting at our next gig (The Enterprise, Camden, June 17), we’ll be reviewing each audience on our blog. It’s normally the other way round, I realise, which makes it seem like a good idea.


Have you played your local scene much? What’s been your best and worst show so far?

This line-up has only played a couple of gigs. Personally, my worst gig was when I lost my voice and spent the majority of the gig mouthing the words. To compensate for the lack of voice, I tried to move around as much as possible and hopped into the monitor, which hung from the ceiling, and jarred my neck. It felt like whiplash, only perpendicular to standard whiplash. If that makes sense. That doesn’t make sense, does it? The next gig is our best gig. Boom.

Una by Heroandleander

If you could play any country in the world, where would you play?

If we had a few hundred grand to line Branson’s pockets, we’d love to play the country of Moon. Alternatively, it’d be nice to play Iceland, with the Northern Lights sweeping greenly above. Or Columbia, because I’d like to go there. Or Japan, for a similar reason. Or Djibouti, or Poland. I need a holiday, basically.


Do you plan to tour the UK in 2011?

We’ll just be playing as and when and where. If anyone would like us to play at their house, we’ll happily do that.

Hamstrung by Heroandleander

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.