Hush the Many (Heed the few) literally do as their name suggests. Nima and Alex's warm and heartfelt vocals and potent yet laconic lyrics draw you in initially with such a strong vocal dynamic. But you are really in too deep when you hear the alluring instrument accompaniment. The combined beautiful use of the cello, haunting guitar, bass and drums mesmerise the listener with an apnoeic prowess; dissolving boundaries of where certain instruments fade in and out, which makes for a captivating listen. Their synesthetic brand of psychedelic folk music sets the imagination on a journey and is musical anodyne - soft sounding yet extremely powerful and effortlessly evocative of reading a good book. Their musical dexterity to play tender songs and also dark macabre tilted tracks is painted like a narrative, almost like each track is a vignette for a chapter of an enthralling story.
If you ever get to Utopia be sure to listen out for Hush the many playing in the background, till then check them out at the following dates:
Sep 8-10 BESTIVAL - Bandstand Stage - Sun 9pm
Sep 15 END OF THE ROAD FESTIVAL - Main Stage Fri 8:15pm
Contactmusic met up with Nima and Alex whilst at the Secret Garden Party.
Contactmusic: So what is the current situation are you still unsigned? Have you got any interest?
Hush the many: [Nima] Yeah we're still unsigned but there has been loads of interesting interest, but we're just taking it one step at a time.
CM: I saw your set last night and thought it was brilliant.
H: [Nima] Thank you, so what was the difference for you from seeing us live to what you heard on the net?
CM: The music transfers over really well which is obviously a good thing. As there are a lot of artists who can record in a studio, but when it comes to playing live it's a bit all over the place. But it sounded really good.
H: [Alex] We're definitely a live band.
CM: Is that what you prefer doing?
H: [Nima] Yeah we enjoy it, but practicalities meant that because we've been offered so many gigs, thankfully by so many people from one venue to another and then we ended up doing four tours. So we never had the time to sit down and actually focus in on some recording. We did some recordings at the beginning when we met and things were coming together; then we all met Jo later on and kind of revisited those recordings and they become the EP that we released. But since then the live schedule has been so busy and promoters have really warmly responded to us thankfully, especially people like Ed Harcourt who took us on tour with him.
CM: So you mentioned about touring with Ed Harcourt, how was that?
H: [Nima] That was great.
CM: Did you get a good reception?
H: [Nima] Yeah it was beautiful, Ed's crowd is really interesting.
CM: So how did it come about?
H: [Nima] We were playing at the Spitz on the 27th of January and Ed when we met him we didn't meet him as Ed Harcourt Ed it was just this bloke called Ed. He was playing with a friend of ours called Steve, then he saw our set and afterwards he came along and expressed his appreciation and basically said I want you guys to come on tour with me. He's a very straight forward kinda guy; you get what you see with Ed.
[Alex] He did a secret support for us as well before we went on tour. So he supported us before we supported him.
[Nima] It was a real privilege. [Alex] Yeah it was, it was actually the first time before a gig when I could fully relax and enjoy the music, as usually before you play you're quite tense.
CM: I speak to a lot of bands and quite a few still get quite nervous before going on. Is that something you still experience?
H: [Nima] Not for me, I guess we're all different individually. For me I notice that there's a real difference if you get a bit of time to breathe deeply before going on stage and let things fall into place. But last night we were still on the road at 7.31pm when we got a call saying "All the timings have changed and you've got to play at 8pm or not at all." So we were like "we should be there in time at least most of us", as Jo was about half an hour behind the rest of us. So we came straight into the festival and straight into the tent, unpacked and played and it was great. So everyday is different, sometimes it's nice to get some time to prepare, but then some days you don't get time to do it and it's great and sometimes it's shockingly awful.
CM: So you got your EP together and that massively sold out, have you got any plans to re-release it?
H: [Nima] Yeah we were shocked about that. We were actually talking with a label about re-releasing it, but to be honest we are more focused on looking ahead at some new recordings.
[Alex] It's been around so long it will be nice to do something fresh, put that behind us and move on with what we are doing now.
CM: So what is it that you're doing now? Are you looking at making a full record?
H: [Nima] We are looking forward to that a lot unanimously, but before than we might do some selective recordings of certain songs and we're talking with a couple of people about doing a video. One of them is this animation based storyline to a song that we like very much called 'I wish I wish for a happy ending' and we might do a single after that and we are talking to some really nice people about.
CM: So things are really looking bright for guys at the moment, you've got a lot going on.
H: [Nima] Yeah there's a lot to think about.
CM: So what are the plans for the rest of the summer?
H: [Alex] We've got a few more festivals. We're playing at Bestival and the End of the road festival.
[Nima] I think that the end of the road festival is gonna be incredible. [Alex] I'm really looking forward to Bestival as well. [Nima] Yeah me too, I think they are both gonna be brilliant and this one [Secret Garden Party] is brilliant, so it's going really well.
CM: How does this one compare to some of the others you've done?
H: [Nima] It's just different I guess. We played at a festival in Somerset two weeks ago and that was great, it was really enjoyable. But it's just like a different festival; a different crowd, a different vibe. I mean this one people are here to listen to music, but they are also here to party and it's really colourful and it's got a good atmosphere. But apart from the festivals we've got a few London shows here and there. We're playing a night which is hosted by fierce panda and that's at the Water rats.
CM: Is that where you might go label wise?
H: [Nima] Who knows what will happen, we haven't really got any news to tell.
CM: I'm not digging for an exclusive.
H: [Nima] We generally tend to approach things with our intuition.
H: [Alex] That's one of our favourite words.
[Nima] I think that things happen organically with us. So sometimes we do things because they feel right and not necessary with any thoughts attached. So even the gig we met Jo on which was two years ago when we became a full band. We were sat there thinking why on earth are we doing this gig? Why are we travelling up to Nottingham to play this one show which doesn't necessarily warrant making all this effort for? But it just felt right, so we did it and we got there and we met this wonderful person who became the forth complete new member of Hush the many. I think a lot of the time, just doing the things that feels right you can't do any better than that.
CM: So have you noticed a kind of home town following?
H: [Nima] We've actually been really lucky in that respect. We actually played a lot of gigs and like we said the schedule has been really busy, pretty much since the beginning. When me and Alex met, we ended up on stage a week later.
[Alex] I recorded the vocals on the EP the first time I ever went to Nima's house, which was the second time we met.
[Nima] It was all with no agenda, we were just recording for fun and it just became this piece and later on it was just like let use this for the EP.
Fan base wise things have been growing a lot because the arts council funded us doing two of our own tours- we ended up doing those in certain cities and both Alex and I have both got a lot of friends in Nottingham - we've both lived there a little while and we played various other places where we made friends in each city. Then when we went on tour with Clayhill and Ed Harcourt and we didn't publicise it very much and just turned up and met loads of new people. But obviously being based in London we've done a lot of gigs there and played with some really great musicians. So from all of that we've been introduced to some great people, so there's a really good atmosphere around our hometown.
CM: But also your website and your Myspace has played a part. It really is changing the way that people look at music a lot more. In the past the media and personal opinion have swayed what people have thought of music, but with an accessible website/myspace people are more empowered to decide what they like or don't like about music. Because there is a lot of bad music press out there and they can hold balance of your career very tenuously.
H: [Alex] And often it's not as much about the music as it should be. There are a lot of clever journalists, who want to structure a sentence which is completely baffling and uses lots of punctuated words. You read something and it's completely confusing and you don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.
[Nima] The Myspace thing has been good. I mean we've had people who have; found us through live gigs and shows, people who have found us through the internet and our Myspace and also Radio 1 were really supportive, Huw Stevens specifically who brought us onto his show. So our first radio session was with Radio 1, so that kind of got people interested in hearing us. So through all these different forms of media and also the press we've had have been wonderful and people have really positively embraced us. I remember going to one of the Ed Harcourt shows in Manchester when we were playing and I walked outside and this guy said he saw the feature in the Sunday Times and he'd just came to see us then had to go. I mean that's quite rare that someone would come to a big show like that just to see the first support act.
Interview by Adam Adshead