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know those bands the media shoves down your throat and builds so much hype about that you start to hate them? Yeah, well, Cheatahs are not one those. And yet, the demand for their live shows has been skyrocketing over the past year and continues to do so, especially in light of the recent release their self-titled debut album. Right now, the world is their oyster and London-based indie label Wichita is right there behind them.

“We’ve had a lot of love from people and we have a fan base, but it’s made up of people who have seen us live before and who have heard our music,” guitarist and songwriter Nathan Hewitt argues. “We were never one of those bands that had enormous hype and got talked about all the time before we even released a song or played a show. There are definitely bands like that out there. In our case, we had a gradual build up, we did things the natural way, let things unfold in their own time and see where they go, and I think it’s been a very healthy approach that’s worked to our advantage. I just hate the hype bullshit – I think most people do, deep down inside. Like, ‘Oh god, you have to hear about this or that band, they’re amazing!’, and they haven’t even released anything yet… After you hear the name so often you actually start hating them because the hype causes a backlash almost. We’ve never been like that and we never even had anyone doing that for us anyway.”

Recently signed to Wichita Records, Hewitt says he knows the hype bullshit isn’t about to start any time soon either, praising the renowned label for taking care of the band as though they were family and looking out for them a way that actually matters. At Wichita, the music and the people are at the forefront of what the label is all about.

“They’ve been amazing to us,” Hewitt claims. “We’ve been very fortunate to be on their team and to be associated with people like that. We’ve learned that it’s really about the people that you work with that is the biggest and most important thing. The people behind the label are the essence of the label. It’s not about ‘the name’. Also, they’re associated with a lot of guitar-based bands and so I guess I understand why they were interested in us. It’s pretty unbelievable – James [guitarist/songwriter] and I had literally just got together and started playing around with some songs, we’d only ever done two live shows up to that point when the guys from Wichita got in touch with us.”

Which goes to show that making music for the right reasons is the only sure-fire way to get somewhere with it. So what’s the key? Don’t take it seriously… Ok, take it a bit seriously.

“James and I always knew we liked the same music but it wasn’t really until I started doing stuff on my own as Cheatahs that James realised he was sick of his day job and wanted to join,” Hewitt explains. “At first, we just did it for fun, nothing more. We just wanted to do some shows and we just didn’t care where it would go, or if it would even go anywhere. And I think I’ve learned that that’s usually when something good happens, when you’re not forcing it. People can sense you’re having fun, and so they’re having fun. When this album came out last week, it just brought things home for us. Just having a physical copy of the album in my hands brought things home for me, but hearing the feedback about it from fans has been amazing. The best thing in the world is when you get a personal message from someone in Ohio or in Australia saying, ‘Man, I’ve had the worst week but my pre-order just came in and made my weekend!’”

What’s even more impressive about Cheatahs’ debut album is that throughout the entire process, the band had full and absolute control over the entire record. Strong believers in the DIY ethic, Hewitt explains why the band chose to keep things strictly within the tight-knit circle.

“Yeah, DIY is very important to us, a lot of it is about control,” he says. “But a lot of it is about the fact that we have Dean [Reid, bass] who is an exceptionally talented guy and he did the production and the recording. Not many bands have a ‘Dean’. We have a ‘Dean’, so we didn’t need anyone else! We’re also very picky about certain things and it’s very much a family unit, so we wanted to keep it that way – pure creativity and no pressure. For a while we worked at this really cool little isolated cottage in Cornwall which was great. We spent time together in a room away from outside influences, we locked ourselves in, had no phone reception, no phone, no distractions from the city. We just sat in this studio and recorded and it was so comfortable.”

According to Hewitt, a big part of the reason for such a strong bond within the band is that all four have one unique thing in common – all of them are ex-pats and understand what it’s like to be a long way away from home and those you love. And yet, they all consider themselves ‘Londoners’ at the end of the day.

“Because London is such a multicultural city, isn’t it?” Hewitt points out. “I moved over here from Canada when I was 20 and that was a big move for me. It’s been 10 years of incredible experiences, which is largely what I write lyrics about, whereas James writes more about relationships. But yeah, I moved to London because there’s a lot of drinking and a lot of castles! The thing that sets us apart from a lot of other bands is that we don’t have that previous history in the sense that we haven’t known each other since high school or anything like that. We’re from all over – James is from Leicester, Marc [Raue, drums] is from Germany and Dean is from the States. We all know what it’s like to leave home and we’ve all been through the same thing of not being close to our family and all that. We’ve gone through the same struggles that you go through when you move to a big city, and that’s united us in a way. We’re all away from home but we’re kind of home when you get us together.”

Cheetahs new single ‘Get Tight’ is out on 24th February 2014.