A Conversation With The Heavy Heavy

The Heavy Heavy’s Life And Life Only (ATO) is like nothing you’ll hear in 2022—though you may have heard something like it in 1966. It’s been said before, but the comparison is valid: Large chunks of the Brighton, England, quintet’s six-song EP sound a lot like the Mamas & The Papas fronting the early Stones. It’s a blissed-out, reverbed-soaked throwback revelation in the best sense—a meticulously rendered nostalgia trip without a hint of cynicism and with loads of heart.

That heart (and soul) comes courtesy of Will Turner and Georgie Fuller, who’ve maxed out on the likes of Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac and Delaney & Bonnie to the point where that blues-rock aesthetic has become an integral part of who they are. Without that all-in philosophy, the Heavy Heavy would be little more than a thinly veiled tribute act. And there’s songs like “Miles And Miles,” the most infectious thing to come out of the U.K. since Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue.”

MAGNET caught up with Turner and Fuller late last month in Philadelphia, just a few hours before they took the stage at World Cafe Live.

Life And Life Only sounds like a transmission from another era—one that’s a few generations removed from the two of you. Yet you pull it off without sounding quaint or corny. How did you manage that?
Turner: I think we’re aiming very high. We’re trying to make something that sounds like the best records of all time. There’s a similar thing that happens with all those records, and I’m trying to extract the ingredients of that and put it into what we’re doing.
Fuller: But it’s also undeniably made in 2022. There’s no getting away from that.

So these songs were recorded in a London flat? 
Turner: Yeah, in a room about the size of this one here.

Amazing. How did you get that gloriously retro sound?
Turner: I have some secrets. I’ve got some old gear, and I’ve got some new gear. The key is the limitation. I’m trying to do it the way it was done back then, with eight tracks.
Fuller: But you’re not in a studio like they were.
Turner: True. The sound is a really a big part of why I do this. The sound during that particular period of time was amazing, and it hasn’t been exploited in a while.
Fuller: It’s when the British Invasion converged with everything going on in the late ’60s over here. But it’s also the feeling—the way those songs made us feel when we first heard them.

How did you first run into your influences?
Turner: My parents—growing up with Cream, Jimi Hendrix, the Stones and Creedence.
Fuller: My first childhood memory is of being about knee high, hearing “Brown Sugar” and seeing my dad’s foot moving to the beat.

Life And Life Only leaves me wanting more. Why an EP and not an LP?
Fuller: We didn’t think this was going to happen. The Heavy Heavy formed in September/October of 2019. Will and I had met almost seven years earlier working on different musical projects. But we kept going back to each other to record. It took a few years before our lives unraveled and raveled back up again—and we moved in together.
Turner: For love. [Laughs] We made those songs thinking, “This is what we’ve got, so let’s just get going, put it online and hope for the best.”
Fuller: We played two acoustic gigs, and then COVID happened. We originally released the EP in 2020 to put something out there. February of this year, the EP got into the hands of ATO and Ten Atoms.

How did that happen?
Turner: Social media—and a few people who are connected to some people.

And now you’re touring the United States. Not bad.
Fuller: The other day, we stopped at this service station in Virginia, and I was looking out the window thinking to myself, “Fucking hell. If someone had told me when I graduated from drama school that this is what I’d be doing in 10 years’ time, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

—Hobart Rowland

Catch the Heavy Heavy on tour in a city near you.