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Haven: Press

HAVEN

Interview by Bruce Mee

Ten years ago now, way back in 2001 during the twilight years of Now & Then Records, a great little album was released by a band called Haven. Built around the duo of vocalist Pamme and guitarist John Vanselow, ‘The Road’ also featured Guns N’ Roses/Jeff Paris drummer Matt Sorum along with Robin McCauley on backing vocals. Not a bad little set up, and with many reviews comparing the band favourably to Heart,it was a shame that they seemed to drop off the face of the earth. Now Pamme and John are back with a renewed hunger, releasing songs on iTunes and attempting to once again bring the band into the spotlight. Having appeared on issue #44’s cover CD with a song written especially for the troops fighting abroad, I thought it was about time to catch up with the delightful Pamme to catch up on the last decade...

First and most obvious question, is the band still the same as it was 10 years ago?

The core is the same as it has always been, John and I. Michael, our bass and keyboard player developed some really bad back problems a few years ago which unfortunately left him unable to contribute to the band. It was an intense desire to record new song ideas that led me to reconnect with producer Jimmy Hotz.The passion and purpose that has since returned to this project as a result is staggering.The chemistry we are experiencing has us truly writing at warp speed. With the fast and furious pace with which these songs are appearing we’ll have our Rock n’ Roll shoes back on in no time.

So what have you been doing for the past ten years?

Well, I’m an animal lover first, so building my ark..and ‘learning to dance in the rain’! We’ve written a lot of new music...that’s fo sho! Definite synchronicity happening now, Bruce. I have not been this musically excited since I first started playing in bands! Reuniting with Jimmy has allowed us to explore limitless musical possibilities. It’s been pretty intense! I’ve also written some comedic and dramatic scripts for television. I’m halfway through writing a new sitcom now. Music and television have very similar parallels, I’ve noticed.

So any thoughts on recording a new album?

Everyday.We have more than enough songs and being back with Jimmy provides an entirely new “warp speed” recording atmosphere, a fast and furious approach we are totally digging. Right now we are doing one song at a time, putting it on iTunes and then doing a video for the song, maybe a few of these songs will make it onto a new album... we’ll see!

So how do you view the debate between doing full album via a label, and doing songs one at a time on iTunes etc?

I think it depends on your situation. If you have a label behind you, maybe it makes more sense to do a full album. But even then a lot of major artists are still releasing a single at a time or maybe a couple of singles and then the album. In my opinion I feel the art of making a great record has been lost. I don’t think artists are putting out great records like they were in the 70s and 80s. You get a couple of good songs and the rest are mostly filler. Maybe that’s why the single has become so popular. If you don’t have a label behind you, I think it can make more sense to put out singles one at a time on iTunes. It gives the artist more freedom to try different styles and write in other directions they normally wouldn’t if they are doing a whole album.

Which process do you view as the best potentially for Haven to gain more promotion and a wider audience, and how has been your experience with internet so far?

I believe YouTube is one of the best vehicles now to get your music heard. Facebook and social media sites are important now in promoting your band and music. We are considering teaming up with a top promotional company to see what they can bring to the table. With so many bands and music on the internet, you have to  
find a way to stand out, a way to be heard. With the internet the way it is now, you can really do most of the promotion on your own, but you really have to work it and do it full time. So we have to decide where we want to put our focus, writing and recording, or promoting. The internet has allowed our music to reach people who would never had a chance to hear our music, so it’s been a good experience.

Tell us about the song you wrote for the troops. What made you decide to do this and how has been the reaction and feedback you have had.

I originally wrote the lyrics during the Gulf War after seeing footage of an American P.O.W. After remastering the recording with Producer “Wizard” Jimmy Hotz, we decided to shoot a video for it and subsequently, teamed up with Homes for Our Troops (http://www. homesforourtroops.org), a national nonprofit that raises money to build homes for severely injured members of the military and their immediate families at no cost to them.We are donating the profits we receive from the song to them.The link to buy the song is below, so please help out! We have had very positive reaction from those who have heard the song or watched the video on You Tube, particularly from veterans families and loved ones of the men and women of our armed forces.
The song is available on iTunes by typing in ‘Haven Proud Soldiers’, and is also on Amazon mp3. The video can be watched by typing the same info on YouTube. The sacrifices our military endure to assure our simplest of freedoms do not go unnoticed and have not been forgotten regardless of any political affiliations or personal views on the morality and purpose of this war....

I hear you have a new song you just finished. Tell us about it.

I’ve always considered myself to be an animal lover that sings, NOT other way around. Feels like I just picked up a microphone for the first time... The song is about animals that are used for experiments and cruelty to animals in general.This song is going to allow me to do what I’ve been doing, only on a much bigger level! A LOT of animal organizations just got ‘their song”. Now I’m rollin’ up my sleeves for the animals and the troops! By the time this interview comes out it should be on our website, http://www.haventheband.com and on iTunes and Amazon.

Are you working on any more new recordings at the moment?

Yes! We remade ‘Superstar’ by the Carpenters. Jimmy goes way back with Leon Russell. Our remake of ‘Superstar’ is currently on iTunes and is one of our next videos we’re scheduled to shoot. We also have several new songs on deck... a couple of up tempo rockers, or the “Rock Block” as I refer to them, that we will be recording and we are currently discussing with Jimmy about writing a new song that is really heavy, with a lot of guitars. I am so excited where these songs are taking me lyrically... beyond excited, actually!

And any thought about taking the band on the live circuit?

No doubt! That’s pretty much all I’m thinking about, Bruce! Jimmy did all the lights for the LA Light Show Laserium and also for one of the ‘N Sync tours. Man, am I looking forward to seeing what skills Jimmy brings to our live show!

So what are your plans for the future?

LIVE LIVE LIVE... Seeing a pattern Bruce? More time in the studio, more videos and songs, finishing this sitcom and remembering why I picked up a Mic in the first place! Tick Tock it’s time to ROCK!!

How can people check the band out?

You can go to www.haventheband.com, our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/letsgethavenized or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HavenFanPage

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Haven is fronted by lead vocalist Pamme - quite a revelation indeed! She has quite a presence on this material and as a vocalist in general is one of the best female leads I have heard in a long time. She has that touch that turns a straight ahead rock song into a more gut wrenching emotional experience and I shudder to think how much better she will become!
Haven recorded and released this album independently and a copy made it to the desk of Now & Then Productions chief Mark Ashton. He also saw the potential in these guys and signed them up, with this debut release now featuring new artwork and packaging, but the same song line up as the indie release. What I expect Mark will do gives me great cause for excitement.
This is one of the best female fronted AOR albums in a very long time. As good as this album is for fans of sultry female vocal lead melodic rock, under the guidance of Now &Then they are bound to get even better. Scary fact that!

Haven is Pamme, Michael Brody (Bass, Guitars) and John Vanselow (Guitars). Joining them on the album is melodic rock heavy weights Matt Sorum (drums) and Robin McAuley (backing vocals).
The band plays a mix of mid tempo rockers with sultry heartbreaking ballads. The vocal power of Pamme is something to get AOR fans excited. The sound of the band and of Pamme herself most closely resembles fellow melodic AOR rockers Fiona and Robin Beck - with even more guts and raw emotion! Comparisons can also be made to Heart - especially with the musical direction and vocally also to the very cool Carol Decker of T’Pau. Any music fan with albums from these ladies in their collection needs to add Haven. I doubt you will be disappointed. The harmonies and backing vocals and song arrangements keep the listener interested and entertained throughout. I rate these guys above Dante Fox and Robin Beck.
There is a little room for further improvement in the production quality, but that will come with an expanded production budget. The delivery and passion of the songs far out weights any minor point there.
BOTTOM LINE: This is a great album of emotion filled rock, with a great new discovery leading the way on vocals. The album has a varied pace - from melodic rockers to sultry pop to powerful emotion filled power ballads - all with a very AOR twist. For fans of female fronted melodic rock, there is a new Queen in town.
SONGS: 93% VIBE: 85% ATTITUDE: 90%
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of powerful, female fronted AOR tinged melodic rock. Fans of Fiona, T’Pau & Robin Beck.



MELODICROCK.COM REVIEW
Haven – The Road
Now & Then/Frontiers Records



The American band Haven is that rarity in the AOR/Melodic rock medium being a female fronted rock band. The group is built around the core nucleus of the vivacious Pamme on vocals, Michael Brody on bass/keyboards and John Vanselow on guitars with various guest musicians brought in to fill out the sound. Notably some of these have worked with high quality musicians with Matt Sorum (The Cult and Guns’n’Roses) on drums, Steve Klong on drums, Robin McAuley (MSG) on backing vocals and Jimmy Hotz (Yes, Fleetwood Mac) on keyboards. Obviously, featuring a female singer will always bring comparisons with the immaculate Heart and for sure there are some elements there but Haven have a harder edge to their sound. John Vanselow is an excellent guitarist and he provides many thrilling moments but Pamme really steals the show with her powerful and emotion filled vocals. Her range is tremendous and she beautifully handles the full-blooded rockers and the enthralling ballad with equal aplomb. Try to imagine a cross between Elkie Brookes, Tracy Hitchings and the wonderful Dalbello and you will have some idea of her range. The opener The Curtain sets the scene as Pamme injects life into the lyrics and literally takes your breath away with her power and range. The high standard is maintained throughout with Can You Hear Us, Forgiveness and The Road encapsulating the very essence of the band. Buy and enjoy!

Terry Craven
Wondrous Stories Magazine

For further info check out the website at www.haventheband.com
Terry Craven - Wondrous Stories Magazine (May 27, 2002)
MUSIC AND THE CITY

In the Spotlight...


 
The year is 2001.  The place is California.  That angelic, yet tough, voice
you hear in your head finally has a name.  Her name is “Pamme”.  Ain’t that just like a woman making even the
simplest things confusing.  The music she plays is the one thing you can’t
escape from.  She’s searching just like you.


MUSIC AND THE CITY Brings to You...
HAVEN

“The Curtain Falls”, with it’s minor key drone, opens the drama.  “Can You
Hear Us” is where that whole angel thing comes in.  This girl’s got a voice
that just wraps around you and hangs on tight.  “All I Ever Need” breathes
some life into you.  “Halfway Home” is a surprisingly folk sounding ballad,
but the next track, “Strange Premonition” knocks you off your chair. 
Guitarists Michael Brody and John Vanselow, along with drummer Matt
Sorum, of Guns n Roses fame, make their presence known on this one.  Another big piano ballad in “Face the Day” leads into the larger than life, “Show Them”. 
Yet another lovely ballad with “The Road”.  My personal favorite is next.  It’s
the song, “Hold On”.  Although there are many other songs with this title, this
one stands out.  If you don’t believe me, check out mp3.com/haven and hear
for yourself!  One last dramatic ballad with “Someday Soon”.  Then for a moment you feel as though you’re in a teen movie with the perfect pop-rock sounds of “Be the One”.  Although this is a little out of place, it’s without a doubt a highlight of the album, which ends with the rocker, “Forgiveness”.
Music and The City Magazine (Aug 2, 2001)