Manics’ mentor aims to guide another Welsh band to rock ‘n’ roll success
Whether plotting the course of the Manic Street Preachers from Blackwood to Brit Awards, grappling with the Gallaghers’ press as Oasis hit the headlines or charting The Stone Roses’ Second Coming, Terri Hall has seen it all in a glittering career in the music industry.
The woman, who as owner of the UK’s number one independent music PR company Hall or Nothing for 18 years, presided over campaigns for some of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll has always had an affinity with Wales.
It started when her late husband, music industry titan Philip Hall and his brother Martin, discovered a young band from the South Wales valleys called Manic Street Preachers, whose career they fostered like a second family to spectacular effect.
It’s safe to say that Terri has a bit of a soft spot for Welsh bands having worked with the Manics, Stereophonics, Super Furry Animals and Feeder during her time as owner of Hall or Nothing PR.
Now she is hoping to transform the fortunes of another Welsh band, recently coming on board as part of Wild Management, the team looking after Cardiff outfit Himalayas – the fiery outfit whose brash, combative songs and fierce, full tilt live shows share many traits with the Manics.
“I heard about Himalayas via an ex-colleague/friend and now partner in Himalayas management, Lu Whiting,” says Terri.
“She is based in Cardiff. I had a blast through their songs on Spotify and it was love at first listen for so many of their tracks, in particular ‘Thank God I’m Not You’.
“There is a reason why this song has enjoyed a phenomenal amount of streams – more than 23 million and counting – an incredible achievement for an unsigned band.
“I was also struck at how organised they are. From writing their own songs, designing the artwork and getting themselves on tour, both here and overseas, without a tour manager or crew, I was impressed.
“Sadly, we are still in lockdown, so I’ve yet to see them play live but I’ve heard plenty of great reports from very trusted contacts and journalists to know that I’ll be very happy when I can get to one of their upcoming shows.”
Terri, who also co-owns Turner Hall, an independent press company she set up with Robin Turner, former head of press at Heavenly Recordings, adds that It’s also worth noting Himalays have one of the biggest agents in the UK Russell Warby, of the WME Agency.
“He doesn’t take on many young bands but has said they’re very special and have real international appeal,” she continues. “He signed them straight after a gig a few years back.”
Understandably, Himalayas were thrilled when they discovered Terri wanted to get involved.
“We were really happy,” says frontman Joe Williams. “I think it was a big change for us because we knew the doors that it would open and already has. I think having our full team of Terri, Lu and Jon (Wild) behind us has been a massive advantage over the past year and we can’t wait to move forward into 2021 with what we think is the best music we’ve written so far.
Joe adds that having someone of Terri’s experience looking after the band, who has such belief in their abilities is hugely flattering.
“It’s great to have people around us that not only have great knowledge and talent at what they do around us but also the fact that they loved what we’re doing. I think Terri said that she heard one of our new songs for the first time and knew that she wanted to work with us from that moment, which is really flattering.”
He also points out that as fans of the Manics, it’s an especial thrill having the Manics’ mentor on board.
“We had a small idea of Terri’s links with the Manics,” says Joe. “But didn’t really know the full picture until we started to speak about Terri being a part of our team. But all of us are huge Manics fans and to be able to hear Terri’s stories is a pretty amazing thing.”
Having already played at Reading and Leeds festivals, Isle of Wight festival and SXSW in the US as well as being played on Radio 1, 6Music, Radio X, Kerrang! as well as support courtesy of KCRW and Sirius in the US, Himalayas have come a long way since they put out their first track in 2016.
However, it’s on Spotify that the band – Mike Griffiths (lead guitar and vocals), Joe Williams (rhythm guitar and vocals), Louis Heaps (bass) and James Goulbourn (drums) – have come to great prominence having racked up more than 25 millions plays, an incredible tally for a band without a major record deal.
“It is insane,” laughs Joe. “It’s been huge for us just purely because it’s made playing live even better. Knowing that people are listening to us all around the world is amazing.
“We’ve been lucky enough to play shows in Europe and the US and have people sing back to us. We can’t wait to get back to playing live again and hopefully in new places and bigger venues around the world.”
Of course, with a global pandemic bringing live music to a halt in 2020 it’s been a frustrating time for a band who are keen to push on and make the most of the opportunities that have come their way. However, Joe is keen to point out they’ve remained philosophical throughout having spent time together in the studio and having released a new single ‘We Love To Hate’.
“2020 has been a strange one, but it’s not been all bad,” he says. “We’ve been able to go into the studio and record some music we are really proud of.
“I think it’s felt like we’ve been in waiting for what will come after 2020. I think it’s been a bit easier for us knowing what’s coming next for us as a band. But we are gutted that we haven’t been able to play live for such a long time and we hope that our industry will be able to survive and come back stronger than ever.”
He also adds that as a band they recognise the toll that 2020 has taken on many people’s mental health – and that they are always here to listen.
“We hope that people know they are not alone and that our social media platforms are always open to anybody who just wants to speak with us.”
Find out more about Himalayas at: www.facebook.com/
The band have a rescheduled UK tour pencilled in for May including a date at The Globe in Cardiff on Thursday, May 27.