In March 2017, longtime frontman Jamie Graham left Heart Of A Coward to focus on his work and family, leaving the band’s future unknown. After sifting through 200 vocal submissions and going through a round of auditions, they chose Kaan Tasan of No Consequence, and released the crushing single Collapse. We cornered Kaan ahead of his first shows with the band, to find out how he landed the gig and what we can expect from the tech metallers’ fourth album. Clue: it’s going to be really fucking heavy.
Hi Kaan. As you’re joining Heart Of A Coward, what’s happening with No Consequence?
"We’re still a band; life happens around us, wives and children and stuff. Music can be your main focus for a long time, but then stuff does tend to get in the way. It’s still an ongoing project, but it’s cooled down for a while with children, houses and getting settled."
When did you first meet Heart Of A Coward?
"I was working as a full-time tour manager and driver. My focus was always on creating music and trying to make that a viable option, so that’s how I got to meet the Heart Of A Coward guys, because I worked with them a couple of times. I’ve known Carl [Ayers, guitars], Nods [Christopher ‘Noddy’ Mansbridge, drums] and even Jamie since 2010. I was driving one of the support bands for their headline tour for [2015 album] Deliverance, called Red Enemy, and I got to know them then properly. As soon as I got wind of Jamie’s departure, it was a no-brainer for me to audition. It had to be done, really."
How did you audition?
"It was an open audition, and you had to do your version of Hollow. I did a live, one-take video, and that process continued for another three or four songs, and over a period of months we went back and forth. Then they asked me to write over a two- or three-minute track of a new song, to see how it would work. And then after that, I had to learn a 30-minute set, which obviously took a couple of months, and then we did a live audition rehearsal thing, and then they made their decision. It was around six months of to-ing and fro-ing."
That sounds gruelling! Were they auditioning other people?
"There were definitely other people involved. I knew I was in the last three from about July – through other friends in the scene, there were other names popping up – and they told me officially in October/November. But I don’t think the friendship side really held any weight for the audition process – they still put me through my paces, for sure!"
When you joined the band, how much work had they done on the forth record?
"It was definitely underway. The issue was that they were writing obviously without a vocalist, and not knowing what sound would be created when they had them locked in. Music-wise, the album was well over halfway written. The last four or five tracks I’ve been involved in, I’ve had a heavy input; I like to get involved as much as I can. I think that’s what the guys have appreciated; I like getting my hands dirty with it in that sense. But the process now is to focus those songs to play to my strengths, and develop a new Heart Of A Coward sound while still kind of keeping hold of what the band’s built itself on."
What can we expect from the new album?
"I dunno, I could say the classic cheesy thing of, ‘the heavier bit’s are heavier’… There’s obviously gonna be a change in the way Heart Of A Coward sound, because it’s going to be playing to my strengths, but it’s going to be along similar sorts of lines – catchy choruses, heavy riffs, great production."
What’s the reaction been like to your first single, Collapse?
"It’s been mixed, I’m not gonna lie. A lot of people were big fans of Jamie – I was a big fan of Jamie – but I think with this upcoming tour, and London and Bournemouth selling out, it still shows there’s a massive interest in the band and it’s a positive move forward. I just try and stay away from YouTube comments! There’s been more positive than negative, but it is what it is – it’s going to happen when you change vocalists. It’s the nature of the beast."
How are you feeling about doing your first shows with the band?
"I’m actually really, really excited. It’s going to be a lot of fun, we’ve all been putting in the hours in rehearsing, so we’re very much ready. There’s probably going to be a lot of drinking, nothing’s going to be safe, we’re going to be tearing into everything. I know everyone’s excited and looking forward to staring into each other’s faces for long drives. It’s going to be a great experience."
Heart Of A Coward UK tour dates 2018
30 May: London, Boston Music Rooms
31 May: Birmingham, Asylum 2
01 Jun: Manchester, Rebellion
02 Jun: Bournemouth, The Anvil