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There's nothing wrong with a bit of escapism. A soothing distraction every now and then to take your mind
off the headaches and headlines. Sometimes, though, you want something that goes a little deeper. Music
that says something to you about your life, that challenges the assumptions we have to bend over lives to
and searches for some meaning beyond the trivialities of the day to day.
"A lot of musicians aren't really tackling these subjects because they’re so distracted or even just scared to
approach those kind of things, too caught up in the material world to actually think about why the material
world is there," notes HAUS singer Ashley Mulimba, sipping on a beer en route to the band's East London
rehearsal space with guitarist Daniel Hytlon-Nuamah. "It's a challenge getting a conversation up and making
people actually think about why they’re here or what they’re here to do - in the least clichéd way - to actually
think about it." "That’s what art should," nods Hylton-Nuamah in agreement, "that’s what art’s supposed to
And that's exactly what HAUS do. Over an epic, widescreen rush that sticks two fingers up to restrictions of
genre as it dives, leaps and flips into uncharted waters, HAUS tackle notions of morality, life, belief and the
tests of navigating your way through the pitfalls of the 21st century. In short, it's music that matters.
Take the metaphorical demons lurking in the shadows on ‘Haze's’ irresistible, serpentine groove; ‘Oblivion's’
impassioned plea to believe in something or the fraught, emotional tightrope Mulimba walks across on
Blinded as Sam Kelly and Hylton-Nuamah's guitar lines ricochet around him like enemy crossfire. It's music
that simultaneously sounds urgently pertinent to today, yet speaks to concerns that have always been with
us. Even when the message is more opaque, the cinematic textures, explosive melodic interplay and
quicksilver rhythms Mulimba, Hylton-Nuamah, Kelly, drummer Lyle Simpson and bassist/keyboardist Ellis
Mortimer create together is unlike anything else that's being made right now.
HAUS' beginnings were a little more carefree, though. While most people wake up following a heavy night
out reaching for the Nuerofen and trying to piece together what they'd got up to a few hours previously,
Mulimba discovered he'd joined a band. With his future bandmates having come together at college in North
London, an invite to Kelly's birthday party had unexpected consequences.
"We all got pissed up at Sam’s 18th and he had this gazebo set up with drums, bass and guitars,” recalls
Mulimba. "They said, 'Just come jam with us, man.' I was like, 'Alright'. That night, they asked me join the
Initially working as a six-piece, HAUS began developing the musical telepathy that allows them to weave a
myriad of divergent influences - everything from electronica, hip-hop, math-rock, post-punk and even metal -
into their shape-shifting sound. While initial recordings reflected the upbeat larking around of a group of
mates simply enjoying making music, it wasn't until Mulimba stepped up to try his hand at vocals one day
that the dynamic fundamentally shifted. There was a move - as Mulimba self-deprecatingly puts it - "from
major to minor". Instantaneously, something clicked within the group, songs began pouring out and the
depth, atmosphere and sheer scope of what they could create together vastly increased.
"We were banging out songs and within a few hours it was like, 'Wow, this is great!'" Recalls Hylton-Nuamah
with a grin.
From there, everything began to rapidly grow. The band resisted the urge to jump into bed with the
increasing number of labels sniffing around them and instead became a self-sufficient unit. Releasing tracks
themselves that became instant online and word-of-mouth sensations and recruiting an army of fans via their
jaw-dropping live shows. Support slots that blew the main acts off the stage, festival appearances where
people literally couldn't get into the tents because of the throngs of new HAUS converts filling the place... in
little over a year they were headlining Camden's KOKO. Not bad for a band that were technically unsigned.
"If you look back on it it is like, 'Fuck me, we've done alright,'" laughs Mulimba. "Taking your time with
everything, doing it yourself, as much as it's a ball-ache, it does pay off."
"Doing it yourself and then seeing people connect with it, it gives you the confidence to carry on doing what
you're doing," adds Hylton-Nuamah. "When people connect to it and you know that you've put all the work in
and created it yourselves."
What HAUS have built themselves so far is remarkable, and it's only the beginning. As they continue to take
it up a level with every release who knows what they can achieve.
"Basically, we're the best band in the world" deadpans Mulimba before bursting into laughter. He might be
joking, but HAUS are a band the world needs right now.
By Chris Catchpole.