“You need to start a band with me!” solidified the beginnings of a line-up for Headshrinkers following singer, Garran Hickman meeting lead guitarist James Knott in their local pub. Affiliated by a shared music taste, a mutual determination to write great music and play live shows, they brought in bassist Xavier Al-Naqib, and drummer Scarlett to complete the line-up. Now with a new found sense of urgency and excitement, the newly formed band crafted a high-energy setlist and took to the stage.

Here’s what Garran had to say when we got a chance to ask him some questions.

How did you all meet? 

“Me (Garran) and James live close to each other and have known each other most of our lives. We got talking in the pub about music, and after discovering we liked similar stuff we started writing together. We knew Xav through a friend and knew he was a great bassist and also into similar music to us, and so we got him in. Scarlett has joined us recently after having parted ways with our previous drummer. She went to school with Xav. It was the best decision we’ve made to date getting her in. It’s really transformed our sound into something totally different which we’re really excited about”.

Who were your musical influences growing up? 

“Between us we have quite an eclectic mix of influences which is great. It means we can all come at it from slightly different angles which results in a more original sound. Garran grew up on Johnny Cash, The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac amongst many others. James was brought up on The Jam, The Who, The Kinks etc, but brings in elements from all sorts of different music with the guitars. Xav loves a good driving post-punk bassline from bands like Joy Division and Interpol, and Scarlett is influenced by Anika Nilles, David Garibaldi, Paul Simon”.

What made you want to be in a band? 

“Garran – I’ve always written poetry and lyrics from a young age and knew I wanted to be on stage. The reason my stage presence is so hectic is because I want my lyrics to be heard. I want the words to be listened to because I like my writing and hope others connect with it too. I don’t think I’m too bad at it and I’m not very good at anything else”.

What has been your best gig? 

“Supporting Pop Will Eat Itself in Wolverhampton was amazing. They’re a big band from where we’re from and it was the biggest room we’ve played to date. We even had a dressing room which made us feel quite important”.

Can you tell us a bit about your music?

“We’ve just released a single called 6:41 Sapien which has started off quite a big change in our sound. The response to it has been amazing, with it getting a spin on BBC West Midlands, and being Brum Radio’s track of the week as well as This Feeling’s track of the day. We’ll be following that up very soon with another single that’s going to be even bigger”.

Can you describe your music in 3 words?

“Vulnerable, self-reflective, chaotic”

What makes your band stand out from others? 

“We place a lot of emphasis on the lyrics and build the songs around the poetry Garran writes. We make sure the instrumentation serves the lyrics rather than fitting words to music. We think that’s really important”.

What are your plans for the rest of 2020? 

“2020 has been a pretty terrible year to be in a band, though we’re really looking forward to next year. We’ll be releasing another single before the end of the year which we recently recorded with the legendary Gavin Monaghan at Magic Garden Studios, and have a headline show coming up in November! Other than that we’re planning to go full steam ahead for 2021. Next year we’ve going to be throwing everything into it which we can’t wait for”.

If your band had to be remembered for one thing apart from your music what would you want it to be? 

“Definitely the lyrics and writing, but also the atmosphere and feeling we create when we play live”.

Do you have any gig’s coming up?

“Yes! After not being able to play for so long we have recently announced a socially-distanced headline show at Dead Wax in Digbeth on 20th November. Come and see us!”

Link to the gig

By Siân Parker