by Rob Scott

Heyrocco are a three-piece indie rock band from Charleston, South Carolina. I caught up with Nathan (guitar and vocals), Chris (bass), and Taco (drums) before their show last Thursday with The Xcerts at Exeter’s Cavern. The conversation covered everything from their new album, the Scottish, the pronunciation of “scone”, and Hillary Clinton. Their only request was that I interviewed them in a graveyard.

So this is your second time touring the UK? How’s it been? Chris: Yeah man. Second time here. We’ve been touring with The Xcerts so it’s been amazing.

And this is your last tour date with The Xcerts? Taco: Yeah. It’s all coming to an end. Chris: It’s been great. They’re great guys. Scotland was pretty weird. It’s really weird up there. There’s a lot of sheep. The sun didn’t go down.

Really? I thought the sun never came up in Scotland? Chris: We got lucky, it was beautiful. Taco: They had these windows in the roof when we were playing and it was like 8 30 and still light outside.

Better than your first time in the UK? Chris: Definitely man. I think it always gets better. But I mean the first time we played Exeter it was great so we’re so excited for tonight. We don’t know what tonight entails but it was great the first time. Nathan: There’s lots of intelligence here in Exeter.

Intelligence? What do you mean by that? Nathan: Well we’ve just been all over England and Scotland and some places are… Chris: Scotland’s pretty backward. I mean they hang out with sheep more than people sometimes. There’s a lot of sheep. Not that many people. Taco: I love Scotland. I am a fucking Scotland fan. I thought they were great.

When you’re on tour what are you like offstage? Are you pretty chilled out like this or do you party hard? Taco: Like this. Chris: We hang out in cemeteries. Taco: We’re usually partying. Try to start the day with a few bottles of vodka. Standard. Chris: Yeah we got John Bonham over here. I think we’re a mix. Depends on the night, depends on the people. It really just depends. Some nights we’ll be very anti-social but a lot of times people are so inviting that you just want to have fun.

What’s it like where you’re from in Charleston? Chris: Tight knit music scene. A lot of bands don’t necessarily make it out of there but the bands from there are incredible. We got lucky because we grew up listening to these bands that some people never get to hear because they never really left Charleston. But yeah man it’s beautiful. The place is very English in a lot of ways. It’s named after King Charles.

Are there any bands from South Carolina that you can recommend? Nathan: Susto. S-U-S-T-O. Taco: Badass motherfuckin’ name. Wonderful band coming up in Charleston. Chris: It’s like cowboy hippy rock.

Is there anything from the US that you particularly miss when you’re in the UK? All: The food. Chris: The flavours man. We’re from the South too so everything’s about flavour. Taco: Biscuits! Chris: Biscuits here are so different. We have the like flaky buttery fresh out of the oven biscuits. Taco: If you take a scone and just – (here my rowdy friend interjects, protesting their pronunciation of scone, insisting that it should rhyme with gone” not “cone”)

Yeah the pronunciation is a pretty contentious issue here. Probably enough to start a civil war – the scone / scone divide in the UK, it upsets a lot of people. Nathan: Whoa man, sorry. Calm down (joking, I think). I don’t like scones. Just so dry. Chris: They’re fine, they’re just not biscuits.

You’ve got an album coming out in June. What can you tell us about it? Nathan: It’s called Teenage Movie Soundtrack. It’s pretty much a picture of the last few years of our shitty lives.

Will all the singles you’ve released be on there? Nathan: Singles, man. Chris: Those singles, sweeping the nation (sarcastically). Nathan: Yeah we put a few out. It’ll be nice to have it as a whole package, front to back. Chris: It’s being released on vinyl, CD, digital. It’s definitely something that’s meant to be listened to as a whole. The whole singles thing is really popular over here. We’re just trying to make records, man. When I listen to a CD I just get in the van, drive 2 hours, I put on a CD and I just listen to the whole thing.

What albums have you been listening to recently? Chris: A lot of 40 oz. Freedom by Sublime. Nathan: You guys like Sublime? Chris: We can’t find them over here. We need to get our fix. Taco: 90s ska-punk, with some poppier elements. Fuckin’ hooky.

Do you prefer recording in the studio or performing live and touring? Taco: We usually play all together in the studio too, that’s like the basis of it. Playing together is what it’s all about. When we’re in the studio we’re trying to get that same vibe as when we play live. Chris: Touring can be a pain in the ass but we just like playing, whether it’s on stage or in the studio.

What do you think about… Hillary Clinton? Nathan: Woah. That’s not a good one. Chris: I’ll pass on that one. I mean I think she’s just, whatever dude, a chick in politics. Nathan: She’s not a rock star. Taco: She’s got a badass haircut though. Chris: Politics sucks man. They screw you over whoever it is. Politics mess you up every time. She’s just part of that game. Nathan: I lost a lot of good friends to politics man. My friend was diagnosed like 18 months ago with politics.

Kanye West? Nathan: We like Kanye. Taco: I think he’s a dick but he’s awesome. Rather be a dick than a swallower, for sure. Chris: It’s hard to find someone that confident. That’s pretty admirable in a way. Nathan: That was a better question.

Anything you want to say that I haven’t asked you about? Nathan: Peace, love, be yourself, don’t let anybody slow you down, see life the way you see it. Yeah. Upcoming UK Heyrocco dates:

April 28: London @ Sebright Arms

April 29: Cardiff @ Undertone

April 30: Bournemouth @ 60 Million Postcards

(Image credit: Rob Scott)