by Laura Clarke

Sitting outside the Cavern during the debut of Exeter’s new indie club night, Mahatma Music, I chatted with three twenty-something guys from South Carolina. Together they are indie rock band, Heyrocco.

What inspired the name, Heyrocco? Chris (a.k.a. ‘Mr Cool’ – we’ll get to that in a second) had a turtle named Rocco. I’m not sure where the ‘hey’ came from. Maybe they just wanted it to feel acknowledged - I don’t know. What I do know is that the question I asked is considered by bassist, Taco, as ‘the worst question to be asked in an interview’.

Chris is otherwise known as ‘Mr Cool’ because his last name is actually ‘Cool’. Imagine living your whole life, in modern Western civilisation with that last name. Every time the name was disclosed an exclamation of, ‘that’s so cool!’ would ensue. I even did it myself. I was that annoying person. Chris described this as ‘a burden’. I’m not surprised, Chris. The name sets a high bar. The surname ‘cool’ would surely either emphasise pre-existing coolness or highlight a distinct lack of cool. Such an everyday stress would be too much for me to handle. I commended Chris for his perseverance.

Singer-songwriter, Nathan (‘the poet’), met one of the band members in high school, and the other in rehab; two very different experiences (or similar depending on which school one attended). I was invited to guess which bandmate he met where. Recognising this as dangerous territory, I agreed to let them know after their set (informed that I’d have a better idea by then). But I never did. Mwhahaha.

The band has been together for about five years (or ‘twenty yeeeeears’ if the nearby homeless man was correct) and has embraced every opportunity. They recently recorded an acoustic version of Melt in Brooklyn. They consider New York to be ‘one beautiful headache’ – quite accurate actually.

When the guys aren’t making music they enjoy ‘shenanigans’ such as sight-seeing, going to the beach, and hiking. Apparently there is something beautiful about getting in the ocean. It’s quite clear that they’ve never taken a dip in British waters before – unless they enjoy icy stab-like sensations. Who needs caffeine when you have the sea? Travel is a great way of discovering such wonders. These hobbies tie in nicely with Heyrocco’s ultimate ambition of world domination. They are currently taking over England (better to start small and then gradually branch out), but bailed on the USA because there was ‘too much driving’. That sounds legit. World domination is likely to be tough without the USA but I decided to keep my mouth shut on that one. ‘People drink like crazy here’ was their most poignant impression of the UK - I’m sure the gig affirmed their point wonderfully. We then embarked upon an intense discussion concerning contrasting sea temperatures and the use of Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Marvin Gay (Chris’ ‘spirit animal’), Prince, and Thom Yorke are big inspirations for Heyrocco’s sound. They’re also pretty enthusiastic about Guns n’ Roses, crowning Sweet Child of Mine ‘the best song in the world’. I’m starting to think that these guys like making bold statements.

Nathan, Taco and Chris are so ridiculously chilled it’s hilarious. They describe themselves – and I quote - as ‘lovers not fighters’. This certainly explains Nathan’s partiality for ‘lovey-dovey songs’. Stay tuned for Heyrocco’s new EP, to be released on 27th October. Two ‘lovey-dovey’ and two ‘grungey’ tracks will feature – not to be missed.