Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2007 21:14:08 +0000 [16/08/07 22:14:08 BST]
Quoting Hadouken UK [email@example.com]:
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Here are the questions as promised. Sorry for the longness with this all, we have been super busy with it travel/writing. After doing these ones I feel a little like I have been ensnared into an assasination piece. I hope I don't have to look forward to a heavy/cleverly edited interview, would be pretty cowardly.
Anyway I'm sure its not the case, so hope to do something else in the future.
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Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2007 19:44:16 +0000 [17/08/07 20:44:16 BST]
Quoting Kev Kharas, Drowned in Sound[firstname.lastname@example.org]:
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it would be amazingly cowardly. I can assure there will be absolutely NO editing whatsoever.
I like questions like this 'cause as well as asking things that a lot of people are saying anyway it gives bands a chance to defend themselves and set out their stall, if you get me. This wasn't a 'hatchet job' as such, just an upfront set of questions for a new series of interviews we're running called DiSband. Challenging bands to stick up for themselves. I think with that friction the words you get at the end are a lot better too, more interesting and ‘vital’. Besides, there are far too many bands in the world today, and music journalism has all gone a bit limp. There's no bite in it any more - it's just PR padding and hype.
The DiSband idea wasn't in my head when I approached you either, it's kinda come out of the relaunch we've got coming up and we're gonna target all sorts of artists; big or small. I think it's braver than writing something snide in a news story.
I'll send you a link when it goes up. I hope you don't take it personally, you seem like a safe bloke.
So yeah, take it easy and enjoy the weekend.
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How's life in Hadouken! at the moment?
Pretty good thanks. We are all currently living together and recording our album in London. We are about nine tracks in and we think they sound pretty exciting at this stage.
Any plans for the rest of the year?
The diary looks like this: finish the album, go to Japan for the Summer Sonic festival, come back, play Reading and Leeds (get hit by a few bottles of piss), go to Ibiza Rocks (debauchery), make some more music, rehearse, go on tour for a month, release another single and then Christmas (woo-hoo!).
In regards to the recording, is it important for the band to have an immediately identifiable sound? 'Liquid Lives' sounded, to my ears, like it could've come from the same band practise as 'That Boy, That Girl'...
Yeah I think so, although it’s more a case of those two tracks being written on a sequencer on my bedroom PC. Incidentally, those were the first two tracks I ever wrote for Hadouken! and so they probably share the same direction as one another. Our newer material is branching away from the bedroom PC formula however – we’ve got tracks I’ve written on an acoustic guitar and then transposed to digital synthesis, which has had some interesting results. I think a lot of our early stuff a lot of people may see as a bit detached and less heartfelt, but that’s not the case with our newer material.
There are many sonical qualities you might associate with us I guess, like the square bass ('That Boy That Girl' intro) and the 909 drum kits (think electro cowbells and claps) and these all come from my encounters with the proto-grime sounds of 8-bar pioneered by Musical Mob and later taken forward by DJ Youngstar (producer of ‘Stand Up Tall’, not the dubstep DJ). Again this was just a starting point and we are gradually moving away from it all.
Taking, as you do, from grime...is there room for Hadouken! to grow? Can your sound evolve like dubstep has or does removing grime from that scene and hybridizing it with indie isolate you from the influences in the grime scene that push it on, organically?
There is always plenty of room to evolve. We obviously take our cues from much of grime but there are also many other influences from other genres that people don’t seem to pick up on which I find strange, I guess people don’t make much fuss about white people taking influence from other traditionally ‘white’ genres. I’m not sure what can be drawn from dubstep however. Although it shares a likeness and the occasional cross-pollination with grime it didn’t really evolve from it, just another beautiful bastard child of UK Garage really.
How do you react to accusations that you've jacked JME's flow?
Well I wish I could rip out my voice box and start again. (Saying that I’m sure there are many more would probably just like me to stop at the first part, but fuck 'em!) I would certainly say the timbre and pitch of my voice sounds like him but I don’t think our flows share much in common. His is much more staccato, his use of pausing is much more emphasised and he seems to have formed his own hybridised form of cockney/patios/youth-slang (”derkhead!/shut-yuh-mouf!”). If you think about it it’s actually a total phenomenon as his slanguage already seems to have permeated the talk of young Londoners! I think JME was one of the first grime MCs to get credit for talking sense, but when I started I really wanted to sound more like Trim, Bruza and Dynamite (not Miss Dynamite). I have probably found acts like The Streets and even Alex Turner more an inspiration for the direction of our lyrics.
People say we do nothing to support grime, and I’ve tried to think what can we do to ‘support it’ and If we really have a duty to do so. In the beginning we never sent out our tracks to the grime DJs coz we knew they would have seen it as watered down or too obscure and not ‘real’ enough, we pretty much knew that they would not support us in our state, so we knew we had to take it in our own direction. A journalist suggested we should have invited Roll Deep onto ‘That Boy’ in some sort of effort to authenticate it. My old manager when I was a grime producer knew most of Roll Deep and he used to send them my stuff regularly and nothing ever came of it. Probably ‘cause they didn’t like any of it, but at least I tried. When it came to finding a vocalist for ‘That Boy’ my only option was myself and that lead to the creation of the band and me as the front man. I originally only wanted to be a producer and in a way still do only want to be a producer. But anyway, now we have some success for whatever reason we suddenly owe the whole of grime a big break, so it’s a no-win situation for us. I think offering some grime producers some token remixes would probably look like we are trying to authenticate.
In 'You Can't Be That' you talk about “geeks talking shit on forums”. Do you get much of that? What do you reckon it stems from?
Obviously there is always a lot of chat on forums; some good, some bad. I recently got in a few stupid spats on our own forum (about the use of the word “Chav” - something I’m not really into) and it brought me back to the potential fickleness of it all. I also realised why I stopped going on them years ago. I think there was some stuff on the DiS forum I saw that was pretty low. Stuff about Alice being a blonde bimbo who can’t play the keyboard which is just stupid. She’s a straight A student and is a classically trained pianist which goes to show the amount of cynicism and hate internet forums can breed. Overuse certainly ain’t good for the soul.
But I think the worst thing that annoys me is when people use interviews and articles as vehicles for them to take to their high horse about white people ‘stealing’ black music. Fair enough if it’s some grime MC bitching about us. I can see you would be pissed off if you worked your guts out to get somewhere and then suddenly these indie kids are making it into the chart with some grime-hybrid music. But a white journalist who thinks he can use a review as a platform to hold his high horse about white music appropriating black music can fuck off. If that journalist had written articles about Skepta’s new collaboration and reviewed a Slew Dem mixtape maybe he (and it is always a he) would have a leg to stand on. If I was an editor of a music mag’ I’d put in a shit load of emphasis on underground scenes such as drum and bass and grime, but then I’m not. Just a fan and a musician.
Do you reckon people are right when they call you 'Nathan Barley', Shoreditch twats? Bearing in mind that not everyone from Shoreditch is local - I know you weren't born in the area.
Not really, people can call us what they want if it makes them feel better about themselves. I can count the number of times I have actually been to Shorditch in the last three years on my fingers (bearing in mind before this time I would go often to a dubstep/garage/grime night there). Obviously I wrote ‘That Boy’ about people in the area but it doesn’t automatically mean I frequent Hoxton. I might like to dress in fluorescent, and wear a New Era cap, but I wouldn’t say that automatically qualifies me as an oblivious, vapid, bourgeois philistine who works in new-media. I know perfectly well the consequences of dressing on stage how I do.
Is it right for a band to be image conscious?
Well it depends on various factors. If a band takes more pride in their style then their songs, performance and lyrics then no. But some of the greatest and pivotal bands took pride in their style or anti-style. The Sex Pistols, The Velvet Underground, The Strokes all brought with them a massive stylistic element that was replicated by droves of young people. For a journalist, music fan or critic to deride our music because of our fluorescent colours or our style is to be just as shallow and narrow minded as those who only care about their clothes. Our music shouldn’t attain more authenticity if we had shopped in a charity shop, wore skinnies and a leather jacket, and grew a curly mop and pretended to be some bohemian heroin addict. The same goes for pretending to come from the ghetto.
We know perfectly well that drawing attention to ourselves via bright clothes may get us the attention and press (and to be honest it has) but of course if we haven’t got the songs, the performances and the musical originality to back it up we will be gone in six months. But we believe we do have the tunes and even our fiercest critics have stopped short of criticising the atmosphere at our live shows.
Do you worry that people might not take you seriously?
No. Acts like Joanna Newsom, the Postal Service, Animal Collective are for people who take music seriously. Google Pitchfork or DiS if you consider yourself serious. Come to our gigs if you want to enjoy yourself. Buy our music if you want something to play at a party, something up-tempo, something fun.
Where do you see yourselves five years from now?
Me personally, working in the music industry. If I am not fortunate enough to still be performing then hopefully I’ll be producing for new bands and music in my own studio that will have been funded from all these Hadouken! record advances.
Please justify your existence in five words.
We Are Not The Fratellis.
Find Hadouken! on MySpace, here.