D//E Interviews: Burning House

Southampton's Burning House released their prominent debut LP, Anthropocene, last July through MIOHMI Records, and rightfully earned accolades as one of the year's most auspicious indie rock newcomers. The band's founder, main songwriter, guitarist and frontman, Aaron Mills, talks about the album, the band's origins and influences, and more in an interview with D//E, followed by the heavy, space rocking/shoegaze madness of Burning House's newest single, Her Vowel No, and its accompanying clip directed by Ruby Taylor.

How did Burning House come to be?

Advertisements and necessity/ Politics and biology.

Is the band's name symbolic? Where does it derive from?

The origins are confused, but a burning house motif appears in many films I like. Synecdoche, New York had a huge impact on me. The scene where Hazel buys a house - absurdly one perpetually on fire - only because it’s the only one in her price range.

Which were some of the non-musical influences that played a part in shaping Anthropocene?

A few books I was reading at the time. Conspiracy Against The Human Race by Thomas Ligotti, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert and various interpersonal struggles at the time…

How big of a part is literature for Burning House and the band's songwriting process?

It definitely informs the mental landscape of the music. A lot of sincerity and desire to communicate intimately becomes woven into the patchwork of anything I’m absorbing  at the time.

How would you describe Burning House's sound? Do you consider yourselves more of a shoegaze or a psychedelic rock band?

Neither, really. I’d say we fit more comfortably with the 'shoegaze' tag, but even then I think we defy the preconceived ideas about the genre – influenced as we are by a wide spectrum of music.

How do you feel about the state of shoegaze as a genre in today's terms?

It’s healthy, but a little regressive. I think bands could stand to disturb the foundation a bit. What attracted me to the genre was the idea of guitar music, beyond guitar music… there are some good bands, but often it feels more like accessorising than communicating a new language. It shouldn’t be that all these bands are waiting for Kevin Shields to break the mould again. People should be more prepared to take the baton themselves.

Is Burning House any different as a live act compared to the recordings? How is the band's dynamic on stage?

Since the recordings often feature an orchestra of guitars, it’s hard to translate that live with only two of us. But I think we should definitely shock live anyway… you find other ways of conveying things… or reinterpreting facets 'implied' by the sonic picture of the record.

Who's responsible for the new album's cover artwork? Why did you select that painting to represent the music?

Sarah Shaw. A tremendous Brighton artist. Our drummer called me one lunchtime and said you have to see this… I went through all her paintings and settled on Looking Back 2. I own it now also.

What are you currently listening to mostly?

The new Lana Del Rey album is sublime. I think she gets a hard time, but she’s a real auteur regardless of who 'helps' her realise the vision. 'Independence' is largely a myth – how many so-called indie bands are backed by an invisible arsenal? I also love the new Weyes Blood album, Titanic Rising. It’s insatiable, and her voice reaches a deep place in me.

What comes next for Burning House?

Gigs and more recording. Hopefully embarking on an European Tour next year. So reader: if you can help with that, do not hesitate to get in touch!

Artist photo by Frankie Knight Photography

Anthropocene album art by Sarah Shaw

Burning House UK tour dates (more tbc)

18th September - The Prince Albert, Brighton
19th September - Strong Room Bar, London
3rd October - Hare and Hounds, Birmingham
5th October - After Dark Club, Reading
11th October - The Smoke House, Ipswich
1st December - Bar 42, Worthing

Full album on Bandcamp

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