Behind The Scenes With…The Howlers

Fresh off the success of their debut album, What You’ve Got To Lose To Win It All, which clinched the number 15 spot on the UK Independent Albums Chart, we caught up with The Howlers to learn more about their (very eventful) career so far, and what we can expect from the East London trio now that their debut is out for the world to enjoy.

What are some of your individual earliest musical memories? 

We all have some unique experiences as kids around our earliest memories with music. Tom was in the school choir and distinctly remembers the choir drummer being into rock and metal music and was sort of his inspiration into becoming a drummer.

Guus grew up in the Netherlands and his parents were big fans of German schlager bands, and his escape was to join a covers band at a young age that primarily played British and American hits, and Adam remembers being in the car on the way home from football training and his dad put on one of those ‘Dad rock’ CD’s and Motorhead’s Ace of Spades was the first song that played and was like nothing he had heard before.

What are some of the main influences on the music you create as The Howlers?

We tend to say as a band we are like a 3 way venn diagram. We each have individual influences that the others don’t share and we all share things with each other and then the sweet spot in the middle is where the band comes together. That’s where we get our sound.  We didn’t set out to sound like anybody or emulate another artist. We just sound like this when we get in a room together so there’s plenty of soul, pop, rock, country and hip hop all in our sound. If you listen carefully you can hear so much in it. It’s sort of why we sound so different to everything else out there.

How do you prepare for a live show? Any pre-show rituals?

Adam has a pre-show ritual of beating his chest like George of the Jungle, mainly because it subsides some of the nerves (so he says). It’s hard to be nervous if you’re thumping your chest like a gorilla, but collectively we always have a big hug before we walk on stage, tell each other we love one another and then go out. There’s nothing too weird going on, we are just focused on putting on a good show.

Highlight of your career so far?

I think our debut album that we put out this year totally independently reaching #15 in the chart was a bit of a strange moment to get our heads around. It exceeded the expectations we had put on ourselves and we’re incredibly grateful to the fans and team for getting us there.

Who else should we listen to from your local scene?

We are going to leave this unanswered, mostly because you can lead a horse to water…There are so many great bands out there going unnoticed, and so many bad bands out there getting noticed for a plethora of reasons outside of the actual music. 

Anybody reading this, take a punt on a local show, support a venue by getting a ticket and a drink and watching some bands. They will probably not all blow your socks off, but just maybe, you discover something that you fall in love with. Some of our fans have been with us since day dot when we played to one man and his dog (quite literally in one instance) and those are the people that you remember and cherish.

If you had to change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

This is a great question! And the answer is the UK music industry is broken. It stopped caring about the music first and foremost. It’s lost its way as there are too many people in the wrong jobs who work in the UK industry just to be seen, to impress people but do an awful job.

The EU, on the other hand, is the opposite. The industry gets behind artists and still has its feet grounded in what matters. Our album exploded across the EU, but the UK wouldn’t touch it, 70+ labels turned down our album saying it wouldn’t sell, it wasn’t good or it was too early. A #15 chart position later, without a single major radio play or a single major press review, so imagine what is possible if people took their heads out of the clouds. 

Put it this way – Radio 1, 2, 6 music, they all wouldn’t play our records, but we did a live session and interview with pretty much every regional BBC radio station from the south coast to Scotland, and every time, nobody could understand why the ‘big’ stations were refusing to even listen. 

So in short everything needs to change here in the UK.

Any projects in the pipeline that you’d like to share with us?

Does Album 2 count? We have a live record coming out soon and the extended version of the album. Just lots and lots going on.

The Howlers’ debut album, What You’ve Got To Lose To Win It All, is out now.


Janelle knows a thing or two about the music industry. Having been involved in the industry since the age of 13, she's now involved in a variety of music-related projects and is always keen to share industry tips 'n' tricks with fellow musicians.