Check out our Q&A with the band’s charming frontman Robb Skipper – whose rich musical heritage includes playing with The Holloways, collaborating with Jamie T, Babyshambles and Patrick Wolf to name but a few.
Can you describe your ‘bubblegum grunge’ sound in few words?
The rawness of early Smashing Pumpkins counterpointed by elements of 60’s and 70’s power pop like Phil Spector and The Cars… emotive, even angsty, but not taking ourselves TOO seriously.
Can you talk a bit about your new track and video for ‘Just A Picture’?
We recorded this track in the flat of a family friend, directly above Simon Fuller’s (the Spice Girls manager) office and the noise REALLY FUCKED HIM OFF, which was pretty great! It was like the rock n rollers versus the pop factory downstairs!
Its a very personal, soul-searching song, which deals with isolation, loneliness and single-minded obsession but with a prevailing glimmer of hope.
We collaborated with some young enthusiastic new filmmakers on this- it was directed by Oleg Tolstoy (a distant relation of the great writer Leo Tolstoy).
Considering the graininess and analogue look, its very surprising he actually shot it on an iPhone, filming through the viewfinders of his collection of cheap old Soviet cameras!
What did you learn from supporting One Night Only, Pigeon Detectives and the Vaccines?
Support slots are great for earning your stripes as a band. You’d go on stage and people would eye you up and be a little apprehensive to rock out with you. We quickly learned how to gauge a crowd’s mood and interact with them, winning them over.
Luckily these were all great bands to get along with. They were happy to have Hares on the road cause we are so full of enthusiasm to get out on the road and bring the party. Tour managers sometimes got weary of our antics but the bands liked our company.
How was your experience at Glastonbury, T in the Park and Hop Farm festival?
Festivals were really fun. No VIP wristbands for us- we slummed it with everyone else in the rain! England has this inexplicable obsession with festivals which I don’t understand because it rains constantly and the english are pretty reserved, unsociable people.
I like how Brits are learning to let their guard down at festivals, and, like, talk to people they don’t know and feel a bit of generosity for their neighbours! Hopefully people can take a bit of that attitude home with them, I’m not saying crack out the MDMA at the office, but just be a bit more caring for strangers would be nice.
Would you rather play in larger venues or small venues? Why?
Larger venues, to an extent. Yes there’s more people’s energy to feed off and you are getting your message over to more people. However when you get to stadium size shows there’s a detachment from the fans – you end up with security cordons and dressing rooms, plus by then you’ve probably lost all enjoyment and soul!!
The Stones say they prefer to play small theatres – just the lure of billions of dollars drawing them to stadiums is too difficult to resist!
What distracts you while you’re on stage?
Apart from topless girls? nothing really cause even though I have a really crap attention span in all other areas of life, once I’m on stage I am 100% focused on the show. I’m not like one of those people that are playing Wembley and are just thinking about what they’re going to eat for dinner!
Who are your influences in the music industry?
Right now I can’t think of any contemporary acts out there that are influencing me, but there are bands I feel an affinity for who’s records are pretty exciting and energetic such as Savages, Tame Impala, Foxygen, Vampire Weekend, Charlie Boyer and The Voyeurs…
What’s the most successful thing you have done to date?
Past successes don’t really feel relevant to me and I don’t dwell on them. ‘Success’ in music is a misleading thing and often you’ll find when you reach a goal it doesn’t actually make you happy – you’ll be constantly aiming higher and higher.
Success is more down to personal things that make you happy. I got engaged and married last year that was the best – well beyond the feeling of getting 5 independent no 1 singles and a top 20 hit which I achieved with my last band.
What’s coming next for you?
There’ll be another single and an album – so a lot of new material to come out. Got a big show next month we can’t announce yet.
We’ll be announcing shows on our website as they come but you can catch us playing the following:
KOKO Fri 4 Oct w/ Storms
18 Oct at the Tooting Tram & Social (Hosted by XFM’s John Kennedy – also we’ll be doing a live session on his radio show the previous night)
Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth 31 October
Quarterhouse, Folkestone, 1 November
Who would you most like to collaborate with in the industry?
I did my first movie this year, a tiny part in Dom Hemmingway (Jude Law, Richard E Grant) and I was in a scene with Emelia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones) where we play in a band together.
We played ‘Fishermans Blues’ by The Waterboys again and again in this club full of people. She wasn’t miming – she sang for real and had this incredible, bluesy voice. If she ever gets the time off from her extremely busy acting career then I’d love to produce her album!
By Fabrizio Belluschi ©FAMEMAGAZINE.co.uk