Heriot’s Debbie Gough: The 10 songs that changed my life

Heriot riffer Debbie Gough breaks down the songs that made her who she is today – from Tonight Alive to Lamb Of God and beyond!

Heriot’s Debbie Gough: The 10 songs that changed my life
Luke Morton
Paul Harries

Heriot might be one of the most crushing and crucial bands in the UK metal scene right now, but did you know their guitarist Debbie Gough loves a bit of Rebecca Black? Here the sensational six-stringer guides us through the music that informed her life – from first kisses to medieval funerals…

The first song I remember hearing…Ozzy Osbourne – I Don’t Wanna Stop (2007)

“One of the most vivid memories I have of a song is Ozzy Osbourne’s I Don’t Wanna Stop. It wasn’t the first song I heard, but it’s my first real clear memory of really enjoying a song. It was a road trip and my dad had left the car to go fill up or something and I remember cranking it all the way up!”

The song that reminds me of school…Rebecca Black – Friday (2011)

“This isn’t very metal at all, but in school me and my friends would sing it every Friday. Can you tell I wasn’t in the popular group? Literally every Friday we’d sit down and sing ‘Friday, Friday…’ Isn’t it awful? It was ironic, though.”

The song that was hardest to write…Heriot – Coalescence (2022)

"The clean bits changed like three times, and if I look back now on the cleans I originally had, they just didn’t suit the song at all. That was one of the songs where it felt like we were going back to it and back to it, and it felt like I was never going to get to a place where I felt like I was happy with it and it fit the song. So that took a bit longer. That doesn’t happen often, but I always want to change bits, I’m the stickler (laughs). I always want to critique everything, but the balance is good between my logic and the rest of the guys’ logic – I wanna tweak everything all the time and they put a halt to me getting too deep into everything in terms of writing. They put the brakes on when I’ve written the song six times over!”

The song that reminds me of my first crush…Four Year Strong – unknown

“I couldn’t tell you any of their songs unfortunately, but I had my first kiss ever at Download Festival and it was during Four Year Strong and it was awful. I’m sorry if the bloke reads this, I’m sure he’s totally unbothered by my existence now, but I had my first kiss to Four Year Strong and whenever anyone mentions it I’m taken back to that dreadful day. I shouldn’t say that, really! He’s engaged now so he’s living a good life.”

The song that picks me up when I’m down…Cancer Bats – Harem Of Scorpions (2008)

“Whenever I’m feeling sluggish, I feel like the PMA in that tune is really really positive and it’s just a good pick-me-up. I often put on Cancer Bats if I feel like I’m losing my mind a little bit or just flagging. Although they’re a heavy band, they have a uniquely happy element to their songs. They feel really positive.”

The song I’m most proud of…Heriot – Dispirit (2021)

"It has all of the different elements of Heriot. I feel like it flows quite nicely, the structure I’m really happy with, the clean bits versus the heavy bits I feel as though represent us in the best way.”

The song that makes me cry…Tonight Alive – Amelia (2011)

“I think it’s a really sad song. It’s about losing somebody young, but it relates to anybody losing somebody and it has always stuck with me as a sad, sad song. My first major grief was my uncle and I got into Tonight Alive around the same kind of time, and that song was a good healer.”

The song I wish I wrote…Lamb Of God – Now You’ve Got Something To Die For (2004)

“The three-part breakdown is just incredible. Every single time we’re writing a song I’m like, ‘Can we do something like the breakdown in…’ We’ve not got there yet, but I’m working on it and trying to shoehorn it in (laughs). The structure of that song is just incredible. I think it’s one of the best songs ever."

My favourite song to perform live…Heriot – Cleansed Existence (2020)

“It’s the end of the set and it comes with the biggest breakdown, so I get excited to see what might happen in the crowd. I enjoy trying to think of a mosh call on the spot but they don’t always go to plan!”

The song I want played at my funeral…Lamb Of God – The Passing (2009)

“It's the interlude in [2009 album] Wrath. It’s a nice riffy acoustic song, but it would make it kind of a medieval vibe and I’m not sure if my loved ones will like that as much – it would make it very, very dramatic. I’d bring the tone down even more!"

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