Interview & Exclusive Download!!
With the music press so eager to label everywhere and everything in it's own Orwellian way we've now got The Hair; whose brand of 'Disco Punk' is apparently part of 'New Yorkshires' 'New Rave revolution'. But don't be rushing out and buying a glow stick just yet or thinking the band are cloth cap wearers with whippets on string, because both stereotypes are way off.
Contactmusic met up with the band after they had just finished their set on a rainy Friday afternoon at the Secret Garden Party. The energy from the band couldn't of been much higher but the turn out could have been. "It was a bit wet, shame it wasn't sunny and on Saturday as otherwise there would have been hundreds." Regardless of the turnout the lads still played a flawless set and Sam's bellowing vocals and witty true to life lyrics are neatly joined with the creative use of keys, synth and sample work. Now add on top of that foot stomping drum work and rock strings and you're part way to knowing what they're actually like.
The Hair musically take from a wide range of genres including; Dance, Funk, Hip-Hop, Rock and Indie and create this hybrid mix, which even the most musically bigoted and dogmatic will find hard not to like.
Hip-Hopesque sampling, electronic synth work - mixed with dance and funk type keyboard sounds, take away the conventionality a lot of Indie rock bands exude. Homemade synth creation and movie samples from the likes of Jaws and the Last Waltz give tracks a very unique feel. Neil said "I'm really into my old Hip Hop and always have been, so it's me trying to get a bit of that into the band really and Rich creates his own but they are on the more synthy side of things". Hopefully we'll see the sample use transfer over to a full album, although clearance might be a problem.
Although it's not Dance, Rave or Techno music its high powered nature, beat heavy drums and varied structures and sounds means it's great to dance to. Especially the likes of 'Stocks' with it's electronic synth sound to the funkier 'left foot, right foot' show the spectrum the lads straddle.
Sing-a-long lyrics on tracks like; 'Sorry (I want your girlfriend)', 'Brick supply', 'Hooker' and 'Sidney Betts' give their EP the well roundedness and open appeal I mentioned earlier. The demonstratively witty and verisimilitude ridden lyrics shine through and here's what Sam said when asked about the background of the track 'Sorry (I want your girlfriend)';
"I used to work in original oak in Leeds and it's a studenty pub and the clientele you'd get there are the kind of people who have been watching celebrity love island and picking fashion tips off Will Mellor or Fran Cosgrove wearing the standard pink t-shirt. Apparently 2 years ago if I was working in the pub and someone came in wearing one, all the yokel idiots would brand them as some kind of feminine character. But now every man and his dog are walking out in an all saints pink t-shirt."
"If you try and be a geezer as much as possible when you're clearly not; you're either a bit of a scally or some kind of student (Not that we're bitter about students) then you seem to end up with really hot girlfriends. All because you've got a bit of a gob on you and you dress like Fran Cosgrove."
The Hair are one of 1000's of bands who are now fully embracing the power that a good website and Myspace can offer. "It's really important. We spend between us a couple of hours a night in the week after work adjusting the website and it's still got loads of spelling mistakes. We put a lot of effort into it because in terms of building a following in Leeds, I [Sam] am the only one of us who lives in Leeds. So in terms of building a following in kind of a guerrilla way we can't do that because we're not about. So we put a lot of emphasis in spending time on the website, Myspace and mail out etc."
The lads actually found their drummer Rich using The Band Society another example of technology becoming more of a part of every bands existence. "It's not very Rock and Roll" "I remember you asked me for a CV, with a list of experiences and jobs on and I thought this band must be shit hot, I better get this right."
Maybe not rock and roll but the band soon started building a solid local fan base in and around Leeds although this is growing with notable appearances at Leeds Festival, the Secret Garden Party and more widespread UK shows in the near future.
"We haven't really played outside of Leeds, I think that's something that will happen when we sort out a release, but it's building up slowly but surely. Leeds is great though we put a gig on the website and we get a big crowd down every time. But it's quite tough to get in with the venues out of town. We've spent a year to get in with the right venues in Leeds, so doing it elsewhere without a release is tough."
Although they are still unsigned they are; "Negotiating a single/album deal at the moment, it's a low key build up basically". Which I agree is the right way of going about things.
Now if you check out their Myspace or website and you'll find no fewer than 11 tracks for free to download, showing how much the lads want to build up that solid fan base foundation. "We've got 11 tracks now to download and we used to give a lot out at gigs, so there's a lot of people out there with the songs, so it's all there ready and waiting to happen for us." It's this willing to get their music out there which is helping spread the word and it's something the more reticent unsigned acts should take heed of. It also clearly pays off when the lads play shows; "People turn up to shows and they know the songs already and there is nothing better than playing a gig and people are singing your songs back at you."
So get along to their site, start downloading and be sure to check them out and sing along when they come to your town. Their live sets are; commanding, dance inducing and you'll leave with a new favourite band.
Interview and words by Adam Adshead
Download an exclusive track by The Hair titled 'Sidney Betts' here!!
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Photo Credit - Mr Danny North