The Heavy - Biography
The Heavy are a British funk rock band from Bath, England signed to Ninja Tune imprint Counter Records. The band, composed of vocalist Kelvin Swaby, guitarist Dan Taylor, bassist Spencer Page and drummer Chris Ellul, draws influence from funk, soul, blaxploitation film soundtracks, and gritty garage rock of the '60s.
Taylor and Swaby became friends in the 1990s, bonding over a shared love for vintage R&B and Jim Jarmusch films. Together the two formed The Heavy's sound by combining distorted guitars with lo-fi soul samples, funky horn riffs, driving percussion, and James Brown influenced vocals. The Heavy debuted in 2007, releasing several singles on the London-based Ninja Tune label, followed by their full-length, Great Vengeance and Furious Fire (Counter Records), in September 2007 in the UK and April 2008 in the US. The album title is a reference to a line spoken by Samuel L. Jackson's character, Jules Winnfield, in Pulp Fiction.
The Heavy returned in 2009 with its sophomore album, The House That Dirt Built (Counter Records), whose title is a reference to the popular British nursery rhyme, This Is the House That Jack Built. The album included the massive hit song, "How You Like Me Now?," which samples "Let a Woman Be a Woman" by Dyke and the Blazers. The song has been featured in numerous films, television shows, soundtracks, video games and commercials including HBO's Entourage, NBC's Community, The Fighter, Ted and a KIA Sorento car commercial, to name a few. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich used the song in 2012 as part of his campaign until he was legally ordered to stop usage. When The Heavy performed "How You Like Me Now?" on the Late Show With David Letterman they became the first band for which David Letterman ever requested an encore.
In 2012, the band released their third album, The Glorious Dead (Counter Records), which peaked at #191 on the Billboard 200. In support of the self-produced release, The Heavy embarked on an extensive US tour sponsored by the American beer company Miller Lite, as well as a successful European tour. The band also licensed singles from The Glorious Dead, with their songs being featured in the FIFA 13 video game soundtrack, the NHL '13 video game, the 2013 WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view event, and the trailer for the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club.