Thursday, 24 May 2012
Indietracks interview #12: The Hobbes Fanclub
The Hobbes Fanclub are Leon, Louise and Adam from Bradford. They’ll shortly be releasing a 7” single on Shelflife Records and also have an EP available on Bandcamp which compiles songs from their sold-out split singles on Cloudberry Records and Dufflecoat Records. The band have played popfests in London and Glasgow, and they'll be joining an indiepop-friendly bill at the Going Up The Country mini-festival in Congleton, Cheshire on 2 June before heading over to Indietracks in July.
Hiya, please tell us a bit about your songs. We understand you love a bit of fuzz and reverb!
Adam: Coming from a psyche/garage/ punk background I was naturally obsessed with crazy old fuzz pedals and had quite a hefty collection at one point. I don't any more though. My ex nabbed half of them and I sold the rest amidst an "I hate music and I'm having a breakdown" moment. Lost quite a bit of cash when I think about it. Shame.
Leon: I've gone through a lot of pedals trying to find the right sound and Adam advised me to get my current one, and I love it. We all love lashings of reverb, on vocals and guitars. Hides a multitude of sins! We don't claim to be doing anything particularly original, we just like lots of fuzz and a wall of sound. Apparently we make quite a racket for a three piece, we've been described as a 'dream pop power trio' haha.
The original incarnation of the band saw Leon recording songs with Fabiana in Sao Paulo, despite the two never meeting. How did that come about, and how did that long-distance music-making work in practice?
Leon: The original incarnation was actually me and Lou to be honest. We practiced together a bit in early 2009, but at that time Lou was in the throes of a Masters dissertation and that proved too much of a distraction so we never quite got things going. Then as I pottered along I got chatting to Fabiana on last.fm and eventually the idea of her singing with Hobbes came up. We wrote a couple of songs together and she did some backing vocals on some others. I would send songs via email and then Fabiana would record her parts and send them back. I then added them to the original mix on my computer and whacked a load of reverb on it all.
The band are now all based in Bradford. How do you all know each other?
Adam: Myself and Lou go back a long way. She was my girlfriend when we were youngsters (tho not the one who nabbed my guitar pedals!). Then we fell out. Then we made friends again. Then she introduced me to Leon. I'm really glad she did and I'm really glad were pals again!
Leon: I met Lou when our mutual friend Sue brought her to see my old band play in Sowerby Bridge about four years ago. We got on famously from the off and have become really good friends. We also went to the same school, although I'd left before she started. Lou introduced me to Adam a couple of years ago, and we first chatted about doing stuff together over a year ago. We all know a lot of the same people anyway, Bradford's alternative scene is relatively small.
Louise: Yeah, Bradford's certainly small in terms of venues, but it's an enthusiastic, very DIY community. I think this probably meant that one way or another we were destined to cross paths at some point! I reckon we realised quite quickly when we got in a room to play that we were going to work really well together as a three piece, sometimes you're lucky and it somehow just comes together, and yeah it helps that we're great pals too.
You've played popfests in London and Glasgow. How do these compare to conventional gigs?
Adam: The popfest gigs have been amazing. Really amazing. I'll be honest, I'm pretty new to the world of indiepop so I'm currently on a voyage of discovery and I'm having a cracking time, so far so good! It’s always nice to do new things and meet some lovely new people.
Leon: To start playing live together and play with Tender Trap for our second gig and then play the 100 Club for our third gig was pretty mental. It’s also a great opportunity to see some other brilliant pop bands. Cola Jet Set and Zipper in Glasgow were fantastic, so to be on the bill with them was something special. The audiences have been lovely too and lots of people have said very nice things to us. It's also nice to play for promoters who love the music rather than the lucre.
Louise: We've all really loved playing the popfests, people have been fantastically welcoming and we've got to see some really great bands to boot.
Tell us a bit about your upcoming single on Shelflife records?
Leon: Well we're absolutely delighted to be releasing a 7" single, Adam's been there before but for me and Lou it’s a dream come true. It has Your Doubting Heart on the A side and the B side is going to be The One You Love. Your Doubting Heart was originally a song I couldn't write any words for. Then I happened across a copy of a 1952 copy of Woman's Own in a back room at Bradford Playhouse and was struck by the title of a short story in it, and the words flowed from there. The song is based on a sort of psychedelic guitar riff with lots of droning strings. I wasn't that keen on it when I'd finished it at home, but when Adam and Lou added their parts it sounded really meaty, and I think it’s one of my favourites now. The One You Love is actually the first song I wrote when I left my previous band. It’s gone through a few versions but we're really happy with how its sounding and we think it complements the A side nicely. We are recording with a friend of Adam's in his studio and it should be out in time for Indietracks. We're also going to do our first video, so expect to see something appear in May/June.
Louise: Yeah, Doubting Heart is one we all began to really enjoy playing live and put with The One You Love too, they just seemed to work nicely together, we're really excited to be releasing the single and can't wait to get it done and out!
You're currently selling t-shirts accompanied by MP3 downloads. Is this the future for music distribution?
Leon: I hope not, or at least not the only future anyway. I'd like to think that selling a physical item with music on it, whether it is vinyl or CD still has a place. The t-shirt with download happened by accident to be honest, because physical items have to be linked to downloadable music on bandcamp they automatically come with a download. I can see how it could work well though - lots of people just buy CDs then rip them to an ipod. A t shirt costs less (from us anyway!) plus you get some songs too. I prefer buying music on vinyl but sometimes the amount of music I want compared with the amount of money I have to spend means I download MP3s rather than not have the song (legitimately by the way, I don't do dodgy downloads), so having a physical item even if its just a badge is an added bonus.
Have you been to Indietracks before? What are you most looking forward to?
Leon: I've been twice, first for the Sunday in 2010 then last year I came for the whole weekend. I'm really looking forward to sharing how great it is with Adam, Lou and our friends, plus meeting up with the lovely people I met last year and at the Hobbes gigs so far. My mouth is watering thinking about Gopals curry shack and the lovely beers too. Band wise it will be amazing to see Go Sailor, Language of Flowers and The Birthday Kiss, plus of course Rose Melberg solo. It will also be absolutely mental to play at Indietracks obviously, who'd have thought that would happen when I first came two years ago?
Adam: I've never been to Indietracks before, but I really can’t wait! The E.P collection by Go Sailor is, hands down, my fave album of all time. I've loved it since the minute I heard it about 15 years ago and it’s the only record I've consistently listened to over the years. Funny, because it was so out of sync with everything else I listened to at the time. So needless to say, I can’t bloody wait to see them live! yesyesyes!
Louise: It's the first time for me at Indietracks too, Leon has buzzed with enthusiasm about it the last couple of times he's been so it was already on my list of gigs to get to and now we're actually playing it which is amazing! In terms of the other bands, there's plenty I'm looking forward to but currently Colour Me Wednesday, Orca Team, Sea Lions, Rose Melberg and Go Sailor are all ones I'd really like to get to see, I'm sure I'll add many more to my list too as it draws nearer. I'm a bit gutted to have missed Frances McKee's yoga classes last year, but any other crossover activities would be enthusiastically received! Oh yeah, and the food sounds great!