Gigslutz Interview: Hatcham Social

Only five months into 2014 and the London-based trio Hatcham Social have already wrapped a winter tour and seen the release of their third album Cutting Up The Present Leaks Out The Future. We caught up with lead singer, Toby Kidd ahead of their gig tonight at London’s Servant Jazz Quarters…

Hey Toby, how are you today?

Enjoying the sun, thanks.

You just released your third album ‘Cutting Up The Present Leaks Out The Future’. How do you think the new material has gone down with fans?

It has been a very positive response. I think that people, who loved the earlier work are still loving this newer album Also a lot of new people seemed to be able to immerse themselves into the new material. I think in general this album has made the last [album] make more sense to people.

Where does the creative process start for you guys when it comes to starting a new album?

An idea, a process. We are always writing. Always getting fragments. At some point we decide we have the time and space to make an album, at that point we decide on a process that is exciting. Sometimes it changes halfway through. It has to feel like an exploration to us.

We really love your comeback single ‘Lion With A Laser Gun’ here at Gigslutz. What are your favourite tracks from the new album?

Thank you.

It is a hard question; it really changes day to day. We all have different feelings too. Today maybe ‘Stay True’ and ‘To The Moon’. In many ways though, I feel like it is a real complete work as an album, so I think it is best listened to as a whole.

What are your plans for the summer?

I believe we have just been confirmed for Isle Of Wight on the Tim Peaks stage. I guess there will be a few more of these little festival shows. Always love the daytrips in the sun. Between that though we will be aiming at getting a new record made.

Which do you prefer, the creative process of writing music, or the anticipation of playing the new material to your fans?

I love playing and making things feel alive. I think the best shows are very creative and put you in a kind of trance where you are not thinking but just making. You cannot tell when this will be; it has a lot to do with the audience. Writing is an extension of that but more regular, we never stop making on a day to day level: that is our lives as artists.

What are the common misconceptions people often have about Hatcham Social?

Good question. I think there are a couple of main ones. But who knows. Maybe peoples biggest problem is that because we love writing great songs they miss the other subtleties — when you listen to a lot of bands they cannot write songs that have that depth so they only have the sounds.

Hatcham Social has never been about an easy swallow: we never have fit into a neat category. Our interest has always been about making something we feel is valid, and explores something that is new. We want to write songs that are as good as anyone we love.

What’s the best piece of advice for surviving in the music industry you’ve received and who was it from?

Advice, hard to remember, we tend to argue with people who give us advice. Probably producer Laurie Latham who said ‘something takes as long as it takes’ or something similar when we worked with him — it is true, you cannot make something creative drop into place by will or money, only with letting it happen naturally; can take a minute or a year, neither is better.

REM always said ‘never listen to what anyone else says’ that is a pretty good piece of advice for someone with a vision. Terrible advice for most people in bands though, who try too hard and have no vision other than to get seen.

You’re due to play Servant Jazz Quarters tonight. What’s your favourite London venue to play?

Always enjoy playing the Lexington, such a good bunch who run that place.

How do you think the industry has changed for bands since you started out?

It is hard to say what is different and what is just our path. I would say paper press is less as important as it was, less monopoly for those few big music papers. In fact things like NME seem just like any other music outlet now, rather than the one. Some of the bands seem to be getting a bit too professional for me, too.

You record and produce a lot of your material yourselves. What is the difference between doing it all yourself, and having someone like Tim Burgess behind the desk?

We have worked with a number of great producers and engineers, but we have also always recorded a lot of stuff ourselves (our first two mini-album cassettes for instance). It depends who can take the idea to its best –people have different sonic strengths. Also, when we made the first LP with Tim it was a big learning experience making a full album, and he helped bring that to fruition and make it work and guide us, he made that album sound great, knew what we were trying to do, pulled it out of us, showed us when to hold back and keep it direct. On this LP (number 3), we felt like we wanted to be as private and secluded as possible — not even an engineer –this helped us get a really intimate atmosphere.

Finally, if you could excel at any other profession, what would it be?

We are aiming at making some more fully fledged film work soon.

But, hard to say: this is what we do.

Rachel Akiboye

Rachel Akiboye

Rachel Akiboye

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