No better way to spend 30 minutes of your weekend than by giving a listen to The Hipshakes. Like the icons they list as having an influence on them, they play it fast and furious. And anyone who list The Oblivions as being an influence , has my attention. Fun stuff…..
Hi our name is….
People say we sound like…..
Dan – Obscure compilations from 60s and 70s bands we’d never heard of but have now. The Black Lips. Generic punk touchstones.
Ben – Oblivians, Stooges, Ramones, The Reatards
Andrew A – Guitar, Answers to these questions.
Brucey Baby – Drums, Computer Illiteracy.
D. Russ – Guitar, Answers to these questions.
B. Russ – Bass, Answers to these questions.
We are originally from…..
Small market town, civil parish, capital of the Peak District and home of the Pudding, Bakewell
Who are some that have an influence on your sound??
Dan – Oblivians. Stooges. Randy. Swell Maps. Weezer.
Ben – Oblivians, Compulsive Gamblers, Ramones, Stooges, Velvet Underground, Modern Lovers, White Stripes, Hives.
Andrew – Parents, Simpsons, Countryside, Fun
The first time we
Andrew – Went to Hartlepool we ate Parmo
Dan – Practiced I was more interested in trying to flip into a handstand against the wall than play guitar. I couldn’t play guitar. I still can’t. That was 13 years ago.
Books we recommend …
Ben – Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano is the book I have read.
Dan – Ben also likes books on cricket captaincy. I’ve recently read and enjoyed: USA Trilogy by John Dos Passos, Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway, The Strange Death of Liberal England by George Dangerfield, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang, The Strange Privacy of Maxwell Sim & Expo ’58 both by Jonathan Coe.
Andrew – Peanuts, any Agatha Christie (the Poirot ones are best), The Vodi
Can you tell us about the process you use, from writing the songs all the way through getting the album ready?
Dan – There are several different processes really. I’ll explain in a long-winded way, and Ben will provide the summary after. We all write the songs. Sometimes one of us will write a song in it’s entirety, sometimes bits and pieces together. If you write it, you sing it is the general way it works out.
Andrew is the fully-formed song master, with Bruce we usually have to extract a song from relentless chord playing and ad-libbed vocals, I usually come up with chord progressions then sit on them until forced to sing lyrics made up in the studio. Ben brings us verses and choruses and other bits and we hammer them into the sleek shape of a hit.
We all arrange the songs together at weekly practice. Friday night. Paying especial attention to killer intros and outros, slightly unorthodox patterns of repetition that are simple enough for our 4/4 minds to comprehend, and – of most importance – catchiness.
We used to record in garages and basements, with an external producer – we quickly found that we were never happy/it was never finished if we did it ourselves, so someone else to do that is great. We’d just do 4 or 5 songs at a time for singles.
Nowadays we clear a long weekend, go to a studio run by someone we like who has seen us play live, set up the drums and guitars, don’t mention what we want it to sound like, and bash out the backing tracks in order as quickly as possible in a 9-5 style period of time. The evenings are our own.
Then the next day we do the singing, and the next the guitar and percussion and piano and whatever other overdubs. We have a listen, talk about mixing ideas and then leave it up to whoever recorded it to get the levels just so. We are just about to press up two LP’s ourselves – one recent, and one that has been languishing unreleased. They were mastered, again, by people whose work we think is very good on other LPs.
Ben – We each tend to write our own songs. One of us will introduce a basic riff and stucture to the others, and then build it up from there. In the case of Andrew, he will already have the lyrics written and the song will be pretty much ready to go from the moment he introduces it. For me and Bruce, the basic song structure will be there, and we will play it a few times live making up the words as we go until they finally make some sort of sense. Dan is more of a perfectionist, and won’t play a song he has written live until he has lyrics and everything NAILED.
Our craziest gig ever was….
Dan – Maybe in Sardinia at a rural village fete (photo by Megan Griffith attached). A friend of ours moved back there from mainland Europe to run a music festival that tied in with local festivals and traditions, which was a potent combination. Bruce was treated like a deity – he and the mayor were doing shots of mirto together and people wanted to introduce their grandparents to him. He entered the gig (in a shack) via a straw roof and people went bezerk. This was in the days when two in three of our shows would be just awful, way too fast, disjointed, totally out of tune and out of time, and one in three shows would be fantastic (with the above ‘qualities’ in just the right dose and somehow aligned).
Although our recent late night Manchester shows seem to consistently involve audience frenzy and broken glass. We are much more accustomed to our roll as perennial openers though. And the associated indifference.
If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….
Dan – Cleveland in the proto punk years. Rocket From the Tombs about the split into Dead Boys and Pere Ubu, Electric Eeels, loads of weird stuff. I’d get in early and see it all unfold. 1972 perhaps.
Andrew – I would like to go back to 1965 and watch the Kinks getting dead good, Kinks Kontroversy era. I really like the sound of those records…the ones that sound like the Who playing as The High Numbers on that footage of them at the Railway Club.
Growing up, at home we listened to…..
Dan – Beach Boys, Elvis, Roy Orbison, ELO, Simon and Garfunkel. Hooked on Classics. I Like To Move It.
Ben – Weezer, The Hives, Randy. The magazine Kerrang! once gave away a free CD compiled by The Hives when the others were 15 and I was 11 – It had Oblivians, Compulsive Gamblers, The Dirtbombs, Flamin’ Groovies, The Saints, Randy, Bobby Conn etc on it. It was a big eye opener for us all. Up until then we listened to I Like To Move It. Rough Trade also released a compilation around that time: Stooges, Electric Eels, Pixies, The Cramps, Guitar Wolf, Mission of Burma. I think we have been very lucky to have played with, and released records on the same labels as some of those bands that we listened to growing up.
Andrew – Flamin’ Groovies, Weezer, The Kinks
What tunes are on heavy rotation for you…
Andrew – Soft Boys – There’s Nobody Like You, Young Marble Giants – Searching For Mr Right, Peter Fenton – Small Town
Dan – United Nations by Bobby Conn, Carpet Rash by Total Control, a Kool Keith cover by The Devil, Dave of Mutilation, the hits off Sex Hands’ new LP.
Ben – Total Control – Carpet Rash is on constant repeat at work, Nobunny – Secret Songs/Love Visions also, Jay Reatard – Blood Visions – perfect album.
If you could open for any band right now who would that be and why?
Dan – I’m not into bands validating themselves through the company they keep on stage, so I’ll pick a band that hasn’t been to the UK and I wish they had, and if we were opening for them it’d most likely mean they were over here: OBN IIIs. One of the most full-on bands I’ve seen.
Andrew – Hmmm. I completely agree with Dan’s answer. However, it would be nice to use this as a mechanism for meeting someone. Maybe Weezer so I got meet River’s Cuomo and ask him about his new TV show pilot.
If you could give any advice to the kids who are just picking up their 1st guitars or drum sets and want to be in a rock n roll band , what’s your advise?
Andrew – Don’t worry if people at school think you’re rubbish. Everyone thought we were rubbish, but that hasn’t stopped us being together for 13 years or so. I see the Hipshakes as a good excuse for slightly discounted holidays with my three best friends. If you treat it like that you’ll be fine.
Dan – Play as hard as you can. Tunes trump technique. Don’t try and make it, just do fun stuff as well as you can – if you don’t have high expectations you’ll probably surpass them.
Ben – Just do it. None of us could play our instruments (bar Bruce) when we started. I still can’t. Get a space to practice and play as many shows as you possibly can. There is no point picking and choosing gigs – you don’t have any following. Play whatever you want, write whatever you want and to hell with what people think and say.
When you are touring and have some time off , where could we find you..,.,
Dan – Recently: On the beach knee-ing a football (photo attached by B. Russell), playing park cricket, seeing where they hanged a monkey for possibly being a Frenchman, eating a Parmo and looking at Castle Howard. At work.
In the past: Lying in a dark room thinking we are going to die. Getting up too late to see the sights. Playing a game whereby you hit nails into big logs. Bruce and Andrew playing a game whereby you hit your own head or each other’s.
Andrew – Bakewell. Playing Cricket. Watching Simpsons.
Ben – Beach, town, record shops, nice scenery, sleeping, kicking/hitting sports balls (photo attached).
The one thing we want you to remember while your listening to us
You could do this. Probably better.
THE HIPSHAKES “Wasted Life” EP pick up at…..Slovenly Records. Hipshakes
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