Considering their demo was rather ace, DiS trekked up to Aberdeen to catch the intriguingly named Hooker’s Green No. 1. Indeed, the live show was ace. Eight band members crammed onto the stage, with a whole assortment of instruments. Thought they sounded like a less gay Hidden Cameras and a twisted Flaming Lips with jazz bits, and alsorts of comparisons like that. HG#1 know how to diversify, they know the art of experimentation while still compressing that experimenting into accessible pop songs. They are putting together an 8-track CD. They are currently unsigned.
With a lack of recording equipment to hand and the inability to write shorthand, an interview in Aberdeen was out of the question. So, utilising the medium of email, some questions were fired off to j.turgenev (aka Neil, who plays drums, guitar and keys, but presumably not at the same time) and m.a.r.t. (aka Martin, who does “programming, synthesisers & arpeggios”). Here are the results.
Where did you get the band name from?
J: The name Hookers Green No.1 is actually a name made up of the first letters of the names of everybody that we have ever met. We then took a count of all the letters, and the most popular we put into a word generator, and these words came out: mice, clams, beard. We then used the words as trigger words on the general public, and the most popular immediate reactions were hookers, green, and one.
M: I got the name from some band called Hookers Green No.1; they were some Trail of Dead wannabe band. It was also suggested to me by Bob Moog (moog rhymes with vogue, y'know).
Have you ever picked up hookers? On a green?
J: Well this scenario is looking more and more likely, as the core of the group enjoy the 'finer things' in life. We had other ideas for our expenditure, such as a thousand pounds worth of veal, and a monkey, for the live set.
M: Hookers scare me. We have this one hooker who comes into my chemist who is 40. She is a junkie. She always wears sandals and has really dirty feet. I think that is part of the dress code for female junkies. She was enough to put me off hookers for life. And my greens.
Who does what in the band, as in songwriting etc?
J: j.turgenev and nhg write all the songs equally, and record them all in an obsessive Brian Wilson style in a small room in Aberdeen. We recruited the most compulsive and unstable musicians to interpret the songs for the live "experience".
M: j.turgenev and nhg do the writing. But live we write most of our own parts. It’s kinda more like throwing paint at a canvas. Although I did PRODUCTION on 'Love Ballad'. I feel I never got enough credit for it. I did loads of cool effects on it (including the Linkin Park jitter effect on the guitar in the middle 8 and the pitch bend at the end - genius or what?!?). Michael the trombone player is pretty funny, he changes the brass parts every week, just because. They'll sound fine, and he'll come in and go "nope! we're gonna change it!"
What are your future live plans? Or what are your plans in general for the band?
J: We plan to employ a saxophonist, the fantastic Philip James Johnston, and Alan's sister on clarinet, and Ewan of The 44s, for some hot trumpet action. We freely encourage people to invite us to play their homes/work/office. We plan to destroy the economy for 24 hours, discover a means of obtaining peyote, and release a record.
M: I'd like to do lots more gigs with the band, hopefully a tour big enough for me to hire a roadie to plug in all my synth crap at gigs. And for j.turd and nhg to make enough money for me to get a substantial amount when I sue them for not giving me enough credit.
What did you think of your last gig?
J: It went fine as far as I could tell. We appreciate the reaction we got from it, and I like to hear criticism as well, cause everything needs improving in this world. nhg's shouting seemed to go down well.
M: It was really fun! It was more than fun; it was sultry! I made a few mistakes but nothing really bad. And some scary drug dealer guy gave us free vodka shots. We later realised that if they'd been laced with acid it would have really sucked.
How would you say the band’s changed since you started?
J: We used to play generic instrumental/mental guitar rubbish, and I think the change came when we realised we hated every single song we had written, and decided to use every means we had to deviate. We love the sound of brass and string, but also love electronic stuff. Pop, as well, of course. Especially r&b.
M: Obviously they are lots better with a genius on board (note the irony of my terrible grammer [sic]). They have stylophone in their songs? I dunno, I really don’t do all that much. We've had another 4 people join since I was built.
What/who inspires you to make music? What bands are you listening to a lot at the moment?
J: Personally, I have only been listening to Scott Walker, Sleater Kinney and Bjork for a while. You should also check out 'The Forms'. Brian Wilson had the right idea with the whole perfect pop song obsession. I think Sleater Kinney use that idea too. They just write these perfect pop songs, with amazing interlocking guitars. And they had incredible voices.
M: I am a music junkie, everything I do is in relation to music. Every second of the day I think about music. Cheesy ‘80s films (’Revenge of the Nerds’, ‘Gleaming the Cube’, ‘Tron’, ‘Ferris…’), ‘80s rock (Van Hagar, Europe, ZZ Top) and electro (Vince Dicola, Devo) are my muse. Right now I am listening to a lot of Refused, Blood Brothers, Divide and Conquere, Xtc and Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'.
Do you like Aberdeen?
J: We could just say no, but we recently decided that the people of Aberdeen are hilarious. They just don’t know it yet. I can’t help but laugh at drunks on the no.23 bus, eg. 'fuckin ken is aye jeewaa, fuck fuck, shitox, me clocky'.... etc. There’s also amazing skies sunsets sometimes, so I can admit it’s not all that bad.
M: I like the place, not the people.
Who do you want to stab with a pencil?
J: Myself, for probably coming across as a pretentious asshole.
M: j.turgnev and nhg, complete utter bastards! They will feel the wrath of my lawyers! Just wait, muhahahahahaaa!