The Heads Are Zeros: Band Of The Day

By on 24 March 2014


With such a wealth of new music available at our finger tips these days, it’s easy to feel a little jaded whilst trawling through the swathes of half-hearted, ennui inducing bands on your quest for new riffs. It’s worth persevering, however, as occasionally you’ll inadvertently stumble across one of those bands that immediately strike you right in the pineal gland and momentarily restrict your vocabulary to a single, loudly exclaimed “FUCK!” Like, for example, The Heads Are Zeros…

The Baltimore based trio have just released their debut EP, ‘All The Men I Love Are Dead’, and it’s an absolute blinder. Their sound is brash, chaotic, and almost unbearably visceral, whilst containing enough light-speed intricacies to satisfy all you tech nerds out there. There are similarities to Cloud Rat’s passionate, cathartic grind assault, but with a healthy dose of head-spinning, Daughters-esque math-core madness thrown in for good measure, and man, does it work well! Like all the best technical bands however, The Heads Are Zeros are less concerned with displays of virtuosity than they are peeling back the top layer of your skull and short circuiting your brain with the most anarchic and disorientating riffs they can muster.

We decided to get in touch with guitarist (and bassist, thanks to an ingenious set up that makes use of multiple octave pedals) David Gill to find out more about the band’s origins, and just how they were able to come up with this crazy music…

WORDS: Kez Whelan

WHO ARE THEY: The Heads Are Zeros
WHERE ARE THEY FROM: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
FOR FANS OF: Cloud Rat, Converge, Daughters
LATEST RELEASE: ‘All The Men I Love Are Dead’ (Self-released, 2014)
WEBSITE: Facebook & Bandcamp

Could you tell us briefly how you met and formed The Heads Are Zeros?
David (Gill, guitar / bass): “Our drummer Mike Barth and I were in another Baltimore noisecore band called American Womanhood for a few years and The Heads Are Zeros formed a few months after that band broke up. We knew Libby from playing a show with her band where there weren’t enough mics so she just screamed without one and was louder than the rest of her band. We were so blown away by her that she was really the only choice when we went looking for a vocalist for The Heads Are Zeros. That was all about a year ago and we’ve been plugging away on new material and shows ever since.”

The Heads Are Zeros is quite an unusual band name, is there a story behind it?
David: “Its from “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. Its a scene about the loss of identity and individuality in a future dystopian society. I was re-reading the novel when we were working on our first few songs and it felt like a good name for a fresh start.”

Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?
David: “Mike and I have been writing music together for four years now and we’ve gotten to a point where we finish each other’s sentences musically. Our old band was very technical and we decided to go in a slightly different direction with The Heads Are Zeros. Now our music is more focused on non-stop intensity and unsettling changes rather than sweeps and complex tapping or double kick. Our songs are shorter and faster and definitely heavier.”

What kind of stuff are you and the rest of the band into? Who would you cite as influences?
David: “We’re those frustrating people who listen to soft folky bands all the time but then write songs with blast beats and super low tunings. We definitely listen to a lot of heavy music as well though. Bands like Daughters, Capsule, Converge, Pg. 99 and The Sawtooth Grin have been huge influences on our music.”

You’ve recently released your debut EP ‘All The Men I Love Are Dead’ via Bandcamp and its sounding killer! Are you planning to release a physical copy of the EP at any point, or is it strictly digital for the time being?
David: “We would love to find someone to help us put it out on vinyl but at the moment its a digital release.”

Your music sounds genuinely chaotic but very tight and well composed at the same time – how do you go about writing it? Will you meet up with song ideas already fully formed, or do you tend to jam stuff out a bit more?
David: “Thanks! The chaos is definitely intentional but we practice a lot and being tight live is really important to us. We almost never come into writing with a fully formed idea. Maybe one or two riffs that have been in the back of my head for a while. Mike and I spend a lot of time putting parts together and getting changes tight. When we have a song solid Libby will put vocals over it.”

From what I can make out, the lyrics sound great too! What kind of things have influenced the band’s lyrical style?
David: “Libby absorbs a lot of visual beauty in her day to day life, like pointing out unseen aspects in the simple things or actions, even emotions. Her lyrics reflect that with a whimsical angle, for example saying church spires can dance in the moon light or a piano can lead us upstairs to an abandoned floor. Below the whimsy she grounds it with priorities and realistic views. Its all the dance of life we all go through every minute of the day, and how we react to what is thrown at us, what we gather, while still trying to find pure uncensored joy and ease.”

I get the feeling this stuff would sound like the end of the world when played live. How are your touring plans looking for the next few months? Do you think there’s a chance you’ll be heading over to play some shows on this side of the pond any time soon?
David: “If the live set sounds like the end of the world we’re doing our job right! Its funny in a way though. We had a bass player originally but he ended up not working out. So to make up for the lack of bass I started playing through a huge rig with a bass amp and a guitar amp and a couple octave pedals. Now I can’t imagine our music any other way. Its much louder than when we actually had a bass player, some of the bass notes are much lower than a bassist could realistically play, and because its just one detuned guitar playing the songs everything is incredibly tight and clear. I think its something most people probably haven’t seen before and we get a lot of positive reactions. We’re trying to get on the road a bit in the next few months and we’d LOVE to make it over to the UK and Europe but we might have to wait until our finances are better.”


What’s been your best moment as a band? And on the flipside, what’s been the worst thing to happen to you in music?
David: “Honestly our most exciting moment has been releasing this record and getting positive response from people we’ve never met. Its incredibly humbling to put out a record where you aren’t sure what the reaction will be and hear so many excited people telling you they like it. We’ve been relatively lucky overall. We had some gear stolen a few weeks ago and that was tough to deal with but its not the end of the world. We really just cross our fingers, plunge into the depths, and hope for the best. American Womanhood had a much worse episode where we released a record without our name as part of the cover art. It was a beautiful photo of a fox and a rabbit in a wreath by English artist Max Kimber. We posted the album to Tumblr and someone immediately stripped all our content when they shared it so they could just post the cool photo. That photo got 50,000 comments and is somewhat well-known on the web now. Our record got none of that attention. Go figure.”

What does the future have in store for The Heads Are Zeros?
David: “We’re recording a split with our good friends in Neck First in a month or two and booking for the Summer and Fall right now. We’re trying to share this record and our live set with as many people as possible!”

About Kez Whelan

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