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  • Writer's pictureBasement Leeds

An Interview with Divorce Finance

Overhearing a “profound” engagement on a train between a “middle-aged, middle-class bloke and a pissed tramp” discussing the struggles of financing a divorce, Matt Heuck noted the words ‘Divorce Finance’ hoping to use it as a song lyric. The phrase encompassing this out-there connection over the qualms of modern-day relationship breakdowns was then picked up by Divorce Finance’s guitarist Jake Wardle with the response “That’s our name.”

A stalwart of the Northern music scene detailing musical ventures in Huddersfield, Manchester, and Hull, Matt Heuck of Divorce Finance is a commanding figure in the Leeds music scene. Joined by the band’s bassist, of Kairos, Rodeo and Uncle Keir fame, Louisa McClure, we start by talking about the city dear to us and why he has decided to settle here. “There’s just an energy in Leeds, you don’t get elsewhere.”

The band’s music is heavily inspired both by the clash of cultures and tradition Matt experienced growing up. “I had a twentieth century upbringing in the 21st century. I’ve always loved old music and struggled to connect with new music.” Despite Divorce Finance’s obvious correlations with Country Teasers, Matt is eager to talk about the earlier influences. In particular, rockabilly and ‘60s garage, but makes no bones about calling Ben Wallers his musical hero.

“We met him recently. He sold me his new album out of a bag for a fiver. I’d never thought when I was younger, my musical hero would be someone who works in a garden centre.”

(Photo of Matt Heuck by Sam Joyce)

Sporting a Soviet military hat, the uneasy stage presence Matt adopts on-stage is often disturbing to watch. “It’s all inspired by history. I am just recycling old stuff. I like to satirise this sense of Britishness that people cling so dearly onto. It is a character, but it is also an extension of the awkwardness of myself!” Louisa adds that it’s “not very serious, it’s a lot more light-hearted and fun.” Naming his band mates playful nicknames, the band aspect of the project, not something Matt had originally envisaged has become increasingly important, with other members contributing to writing. This has extended to a run of highly successful live shows, such as a chaotically overrun support slot in Hull much to the delight of the Adelphi Club’s manager and a support slot to Yowl and Lumer at Wharf Chambers, including some unexpected mid-song clapping. It was difficult to get the pair to choose just one highlight.

Played on BBC Radio 6 in March through an upload to Tom Robinson’s fresh on the net blog, hand chosen by the man himself, the upcoming single Django is due to be released very soon. The track inspired by Sergio Corbucci’s Django and jazz artist, Django Reinhardt, is guaranteed to get you grooving and plays nicely to elements of the post-punk movement engulfing current guitar music. As a member of Bleakhaus, a post-punk and goth gig promotions collective originating in 2018, I was keen to get his views on the evolution of the genre. “I’d argue post-punk is dead now. As the scene’s involved, so have we. It is a buzzword that we need to move away from. Bands like Yard Act, fair play to them they have done well, but are they really post-punk? They sound more like Kasabian to me. What really excites me is the emerging, rock ‘n’ roll parts of the scene like ourselves and Gene Genie.”

As a blog inspired by the grassroots basement scene, it was fascinating to learn how Matt and his housemates in Huddersfield set up a basement venue where both electronic artists and guitar bands such as Avalanche Party played. ‘We have a basement we should deck out, but our walls are quite thin.” “There’s also a tumble drier in the middle of the room”, Louisa adds. “I’m not sure how it would work for us, but you don’t get much more ‘the scene’ than a basement show.”

In times of political strife and a seemingly never-ending Cold War, “from the ashes arises Divorce Finance”. With the release of Django in the next two weeks, an exciting support slot for Deep Tan at Headrow House on 27th May and due to open This Must Be The Place in August, there is a lot in store for this intriguing new band.

Stay in touch with Divorce Finance on their Twitter and Instagram pages.

Bleakhaus’ next venture, in Collaboration with Tireless Idealist, is Whitney K at The New Headingley Club. Tickets available here.

Words by Becca Healy

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