BEARDS & TRUTHS #3: Howler

7 months ago, 19 Year Old Jordan Gatesmith was better known in his hometown of Minneapolis, as the kid who played guitar in local indie pop band Total Babe. His side project Howler, was viewed as exactly that – a side project that would always be second fiddle to the day job. In June however, Head of Rough Trade, Geoff Travis, heard a demo E.P from the band, and immediately sent a scout over to see them live, before signing Howler on the spot and changing all that.  Thankfully, unlike most hyped guitar bands of recent years, Howler are actually really fucking great; They don’t feel polished, they don’t feel like some idea the guys in the group came up with round a table to guarantee success, and they weren’t an emo band this time last year who’s frontman was a failed introspective folk singer. They feel and sound like a geniune band that, were they not to have signed to Rough Trade, would have carried on regardless. Howler seem to be on the cusp of massive, but still have that raw edgy garage feel to them. You can hear why the man who signed The Smiths and The Strokes got that itchy pen signing finger again. I got my hands on their sarcastically titled E.P ‘This One’s Different’ on Vinyl in August, just before the vast majority of them were destroyed in the PIAS fire. I have to admit I’ve listened to it every day since. Yesterday the band jumped into their little van to head off on their very first tour across the states with Tapes N Tapes. A tour which eventually brings them to the UK supporting The Vacinnes, in venues 3 times the size they’ve ever played before.They’re in that little van on the road until well into December, which, if it doesn’t destroy them, will, scarily, make them even better than they already are. Luckily though, Jordan Gatesmith had time to kindly answer my questions about the band and it’s future plans.

Who are Howler?
“Dash Graves. Indian Davis. France Camp. Joseph Stallion. Gypsy Rollins.”

How’d you get the name?
“I wanted a name that sounded like a rocknroll band from the 50’s. Like Howlin Wolf or something. Follow?”

Describe Howler’s sound in less than 140 characters
“Harry Potter. Bugs Bunny. Optimus Prime. Bimbo Baggins. Frodo Baggins. Starsky. Hutch. Dorian Gray. Captain Ahab. Moses. Carrie Bradshaw. Curious George. Ect.”

What are you all listening to?
“SUKPATCH, The Feelies, and the Angry Samoans.” 
Would you rather have bionic arms or bionic legs?
“Arms. Duh. That would be bad ass.”

Who has the most disgusting habit in the band and what is it?
“I’m just habitually GREAT at sega genesis. The disgustingly amazing scores I get will actually make you throw up all over your girlfriend.”
You’re signed to Rough Trade. How much of a head fuck was that when they came a’ callin and do you feel any pressure to deliver due to their lineage of great bands and classic albums?
“Yeah dude. It was fuckin weird. But as time went on, I got more and more comfortable with it. I’m very proud of what I’m working on.”

I like white woman you like cigarettes. what do you smoke?
“Chocolate Cigars dipped in PCP.”
How many beards in the band and if none will there ever be?
“Well. I would like to say zero. But poor little Joseph Stallion is just such a hairy guy. He shaves every morning, but by high noon, he is a fucking lumberjack.”

Any plans to come to Scotland and if so will you try the national delicacy of Deep Fried Mars Bars (candy) when you do?
“Oh yes. We will be supporting the Vaccines in Scotland in November. And no way in hell is that Scotland’s national delicacy. That was my thing!!!!”

Whats the bands next move-another E.P or go straight to an album?
“We just finished our full length. It’s pretty cool. Much more punk rock than the EP.”

Tell a bad joke
“I’m sincerely going to kill myself next Friday.”

Aside from the E.P being awesome, I really love the artwork for it. Who did it?
“My girlfriend Jane Gardner. She’s crazy talented.” 
Are you looking forward to playing the U.K and what are you most looking forward to about it?
“Oh hell yeah. Should be a great time. We are most excited for the Glasgow show at the Barrowlands. I hear that place is amazing.”

Which festival would you most like to headline?
“All of them.”

Finally, Name a really, really shit film

“Hard Ticket to Hawaii.”
Howler – ‘I Told You Once’
What to do now is go to the band’s website –
– enter your email and you get ‘I Told You Once’ (the above song) for FREE, then go buy their E.P and play it loud to all and sundry. I wish Jordan and the band safe travel and all the success they deserve! Thanks guys!!

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