I am a little reluctant featuring Pop acts…
because there are those that dip into the mainstream and do not produce anything appealing or credible. That is a risk one takes as a journalist, I guess! Luckily; Hydrocele are a band who stand apart and mix gritty Rock and pulsation with something alluding to the mainstream. I have been chatting with them about their new track, What You Looking At? and what its story is; how the guys got together; whether there is more material coming – they talk about upcoming gigs.
I ask the band whether they get time to disconnect away from music and what it was like working with producer Pete Dowsett on their latest track; whether they have a particularly fond memory from their time in music – the guys each select an album that means a lot to them.
Hi, guys. For those new to your work; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We are Hydrocele. Freddie (Vocals), Neemah (guitar); Ian (drums) and, we think, the guy over there with the bass is called Jonny.
Can you reveal the story behind What You Looking At?
What You Looking At? was written by Freddie and a best mate, Ash, just jamming riffs. The lyrics and melody came fast after that. It was written/directed at a girl in a previous relationship.
What was it like working with producer Pete Dowsett?
Working with Pete Dowsett is an amazing rollercoaster of emotions, friendship and, most importantly, memes. He takes his FIFA seriously and never stops working - even on the toilet. George works very hard for Pete - getting lunch and coffees for everyone too!
How do you think your music has developed since your debut?
The Shapeshifter was a strong debut for us, but it’s fair to say that What You Looking At? has taken a different direction. The gritty Rock sound of the current single is definitely different to the glassy Pop sound in The Shapeshifter.
We are happy with both sounds - and definitely think the diversity is good for us!
Is there more material coming down the tracks?
It’s quite possible (smiles). The best way to know is to follow all our socials and look closely for announcements.
How did the band get together in the first place?
We met at college, ACM (the Academy of Contemporary Music), and through a producer. We were all playing in different bands and kept crossing paths; we quickly realised we had similar tastes and ambitions in music but, most importantly, enjoyed working together.
Your music has a Pop sound but it strays from the mainstream. Do you think it is important to have a unique take?
Obviously, Pop and Rock have certain elements that are pretty rigid and structured. We try to adhere to certain elements for our music to have a mainstream appeal, but we also want our music to have longevity. We want to showcase our skill and the years of practice we have put into our respective crafts.
Music wouldn’t be what it is without the emotion that this incorporates. We think that both are very important. Listening to music produced now is crucial to staying relevant but keeping in touch with your influences is just as beneficial. As we are seeing now with a lot of Pop tunes; sometimes you have to go back to go forward.
Who do you all count as influences?
As a band, we have a very diverse range of influences. Although we overlap in a lot of areas, we each have influences that explore very different corners of the musical universe: Mac DeMarco, The Smiths; Nothing But Thieves, Gregory Porter; Slaves, The Strokes; Foals, Eric Clapton; Stevie Ray Vaughan and Olatunji are but a few examples.
Do you have any gigs coming up?
Yeah! We have a really cool set of gigs coming up supporting a really cool band called OMYO. We will be supporting them at the O2 Academy Islington and the O2 Academy2 Oxford on 31st May and 2nd June respectively.
If you each had to select the one album that means the most to you; which would they be?
Freddie: Jet - Get Born
Neemah: Stevie Ray Vaughan - Instep
Ian: Michael Jackson - Thriller
Jonny: Harry Styles - Harry Styles
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
There is a huge amount we want to achieve in 2018! After getting a taste of the big crowds at our KOKO gig, we would love to play places like that more regularly and have more people hear our music.
What is it like getting on stage and performing to the people? What is your favourite memory from music?
Getting on stage with your mates and getting a crowd going with the power of your music always makes the best memories, however; if we had to pick one it would be the time at a post-gig McDonald’s that Jonny managed to get a Big Tasty, right slap-bang in the middle of his back without realising.
To this day, we still don’t know how it happened…
Can you offer some advice to new songwriters?
The best piece of advice for new artists is to keep at it...
Give it your 100%. Take calculated risks. Never give up: it’s so easy to see the musicians at the top of their game and think that it’s impossible to get there, but you don’t see the years and years of hard work that’s been put in to get there in the first place. You have to create your own luck.
Which new artists should we look out for?
IN THIS PHOTO: New Volume
How do you guys unwind away from music?
We all have our own hobbies that we like to do outside of the band. Ian is actually in the top-ten worldwide players for World of Tanks and Neemah is doing his pilot’s license. Jonny is an aspiring painter and Freddie only knows music.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each select a song to end on...
Freddie: The Greatest by Zävodi
Neemah: Eric Clapton - Behind the Mask
Ian: Lettuce - LettSanity
Jonny: Fit But You Know It - The Streets