A heavy metal band featuring British Turkish Cypriot Erhan Alman is up for two awards at the prestigious Heavy Music Awards taking place at OVO Arena Wembley this Friday.
Heriot is on the shortlist for both Best Breakthrough Album and the Best Breakthrough Live Artist. They are up against six other artists in each category.
This year’s Heavy Music Awards feature a total of 14 categories. The shortlists were drawn up by a panel of almost 1,000 industry experts, with heavy music fans given the final say on the winners through a public vote.
Erhan plays guitar for Heriot, lining up with vocalist and guitarist Debbie Gough, guitarist Erhan Alman, vocalist and bassist Jake Packer and drummer Julian Gage. The four-piece have been dubbed “British metal’s most exciting new band” by Louder Sound magazine.
The band first formed in 2016, but real life saw them end up on indefinite hiatus and it wasn’t till 2019 that the second chapter of their story began. When their 2020 single Cleansed Existence dropped, people went wild for their sound.
Signed to independent label Church Records, Heriot released their critically acclaimed debut album Profound Morality last year, prompting an even bigger wave of interest.
The past 12 months have seen Heriot support Sheffield mathcore stars Rolo Tomassi and American metal heavyweights Lamb of God, and perform at major events like Download Festival. The band have just been on a UK Tour, headlining venues like The Electric Ballroom in Camden, London and Strange Brew in Bristol.
Next month, the quartet head off to the continent to play at Mystic Festival in Gdansk, Poland, and the Full Force Festival in Gräfenhainichen, Germany.
Erhan Alman answers questions exclusively for T-VINE
We caught up with Erhan ahead of Friday’s awards party to ask him about his Turkish Cypriot roots, his musical idols, and what he missed most when on tour.
Tell us about your Turkish Cypriot roots
Both my parents are Turkish Cypriot, my dad is from Mormenekşe and my grandparents on my mum’s side are from Lefkoşa and İskele.
How did you get into heavy metal music?
I started hanging out with friends in school who liked bands like Green Day and Blink 182. Then, from there, [I] started to learn how to play the guitar and naturally got into heavier music, as I was looking for something more challenging to play.
Who are your musical idols?
Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit has always been up there for me as the best at what we do. Unapologetically weird and creative in the music he creates — which I couldn’t help but be drawn to — and it really inspired me growing up.
Do you listen to any Turkish music?
I was always surrounded by it [Turkish music] growing up: İbrahim Tatlıses, Tarkan and, when I started to learn guitar, my dad would always play me Erkin Koray, who’s his favourite artist.
Although, I don’t listen to the oldies as much, I do really like Altın Gün. Hopefully I can see them live soon!
Has Heriot played any gigs in Turkiye?
Not yet, but I’d love to. One day! Hopefully, we can make it a reality in a few years.
Heriot has had rave reviews about debut EP Profound Morality. You’re now up for two big awards at the Heavy Music Awards. How important is this recognition for the band?
It’s massive for us. We are just making music for the love of it, so to be recognised for the hard work we’re pouring into our craft is really amazing.
Last question: you’ve been playing lots of gigs in the UK and Europe, and supported American legends Lamb of God on their tour. What do you miss most being away from home?
In all honesty, being at home with my girlfriend Emma and our cats. Being on the road is so busy, all of the time either side of the shows and, although I wouldn’t change it for the world, it can be tiring at times. So, when I’m home, that’s the only time where life slows down for a little bit. That’s what I miss the most.
Main image, top, of Heriot live. Photo © Harry Steel