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Funtimes with The Heartbreaks

Morecambe's finest release their debut album and host a club night at London's Electricity Showrooms

Three weeks ago The Heartbreaks held their own club night at Shoreditch's Electricity Showrooms, celebrating the launch of their debut LP, Funtimes, before going on tour across the UK. The night had a Mullholland Drive meets working men's club atmosphere and was so good they're doing the same thing this evening, but with added karaoke. It's a good day for the lads from Morecambe, LA (that's Lancashire), as in the early hours of this morning, the band had a short film about them premiere on Channel 4. Whilst Funtimes has been generating heat all over the place due to the fact every song on it is capable of being a single. When Matthew Whitehouse, vox/guitar; Ryan Wallace, lead guitar; Deaks, bass and Joe Kondras, drums do think of slicing 45s, Orange Juice icon Edwyn Collins is producing their jewel-like B-sides, essential catnip for the cult – 'I Have Died, I Am Dead' and 'Remorseful' both having the midas touch.

What makes The Heartbreaks different to other guitar acts of the moment? They're eschewing the cold and the arch for soul. Live the band might be an energetic proposal, darting, soaring and twisting with urgency, yet the subtext and the warmth of their sound is built from the best of 60s and 70s black music; Wigan Casino, handclaps and harmonies. They sing about life in a camp seaside town as the universe plays out in a tea-cup – think the pent-up, wistful extremes of romance. Dazed Digital caught up with the band to talk Morrissey, vindication and Tumblr worship, whilst sharing a track from Funtimes, Gorgeous.

Dazed Digital: There aren't many bands at the moment where you're convinced they're a real gang, with a real story...
Matthew Whitehouse:
No, no. This is just us, we don’t suddenly clock out and become MTV2 presenters. This is it, we're The Heartbreaks.
Joe Kondras: [Laughs]. Matt wears that shirt on his day off.

DD: So can you tell us about recording the LP? Was it during last summer?
Joe Kondas:
It was quite sporadic...
Deaks: Some of it was picking the right person to do it with, and the other side was just financing it, as and when we could.
Ryan Wallace: It took us a long time to decide who to do the record with [Joe Cross, Edwyn Collins, Tristan Ivemy]. We’re very picky, it had to be right. And we'd been touring with Hurts and Morrissey.
Matthew Whitehouse: We knew that people would wait as well – it wasn't a case of thinking that another great British guitar band had come along. We've existed for a couple of years, seen bands come and go and realised that the next great one isn't going to come and steal our thunder because we are that band. I feel pretty vindicated now anyway.

DD: The album's called Funtimes and this is an unapologetically Smash Hits question – what’s the most fun time you’ve had so far?
Matthew Whitehouse:
That is so Smash Hits.
Ryan Wallace: We had a night in Zagreb, that for many reasons we can't really tell you about other than Bacchanalian revelry and people smuggling were involved.
Matthew Whitehouse: Hurts, our friends from round the corner, are massive over there and fans have banners saying 'We love you Theo'.
Deaks: Which has extended to us in the world of Tumblr, you search yourself and you get these passionate drawings.
Matthew Whitehouse: We'd taken to saying 'this song was number one in England' because we thought no-one would know any different. And they believed it. New York was good too though...
Joe Kondras: Meeting Morrissey was quite a fun time.
Deaks: That was the day after Latitude, we’d missed out on showers and we were all feeling a bit worse for wear.

DD: Were you nervous?
Joe Kondras:
We didn't have time to be.
Deaks: It was an 'the emperor will see you now' sort of moment.
Matthew Whitehouse: He bowed like a matador. We said 'are you having fun?' and he said 'no'. He asked 'how are you surviving?' and we replied 'we've just nicked loads from the service station'. He said he'd been to Morecambe once, 'for a joke'.

DD: I guess that's what you'd want it to be like...
Joe Kondras:
He was Morrissey, exactly how you think he's going to be.
Matthew Whitehouse: Imagine the disappointment if he turned up boozed and high-fived us all. It wouldn't be the same would it?

Photography Jonnie Chambers

'Funtimes' by The Heartbreaks is out now