What do you get when you mix together a group of talented musicians, bringing their multi-faceted skills together to produce a unique sound? You are gifted with the experience of an eclectic band that takes you on a journey through lands of tales and folklore…the rise and fall of tunes as they wisp and whip their way through your ears, as you feel the movement, energy and emotion all the way down to your toes in a raucous heartfelt ride. If you are interested in discovering this type of experience, and believe me, it is an experience, then I heartily recommend the London based band, Freddie and the Hoares.
I initially heard of Freddie and the Hoares through one of the many connections that Twitter affords us these days. I decided to give them a listen, and being intrigued by their sound, I thought they would make a good feature for the blog. I contacted them to see if they would be interested in answering a few questions and Freddie (Freddie Hoare, founder of the band) graciously took time out of his busy schedule and agreed, allowing us a peek into a bit of the background of the band and their unique approach.
Before we get to our conversation, let me first introduce you to the band and their music. Basically, they are a group of musicians who came to know each other through various avenues, including music venues and sharing classes at university. It doesn’t take long to realize it’s apparent this is an exceedingly talented group of players…
Freddie Hoare (vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica), Si Thompson (drums), Elly Yates (vocals), Gemma Lawrence (accordion), John Beale (violin), Pearl Mackie (vocals), and Adam Storey (Double Bass)
Take a listen to a recent live gig of the band at The Bedford (Ballroom) performing Ravens, a cut from their album, Robin on a Pig’s Back…
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Freddie. Your band lineup is quite amazing! You fluctuate from a solo act to a full blown seven piece ensemble. Can you share a bit about how the music started and how you all came together?
Well half of us met in Bristol. There’s a pub/venue in Soho (London) called The Spice of Life where I played alone a few times. That’s where Adam (Bass) and John (fiddle) and I first met. To be honest the band’s fluctuating numbers is largely down to who can make it on the night, though, for me, the amount of players will probably keep changing. I don’t feel too comfortable being in a fixed group. The more the merrier.
The band describes itself as a “Folk ‘n’ Roll” group…a fusion of Folk and Rock and Roll? Was this a natural theme that developed instinctively by you or was there more of a purpose behind it to create something unique? Any influences musically that have impacted your sound?
I think it’s nice and healthy to aim toward the most original option but none of it was really planned. I think it was inevitable that the bands I would listen to when I was younger, who were largely punk and rock would mix up with the music passed down from an older generation. Music with a stronger connection to words and poetry. Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley.
As for choosing a genre, it’s not something you want to do but the boring part is that to get a gig, promoters want to be able to put you in a bit of a box. Makes sense. Originally people would see us with a fiddle and acoustic guitar, perhaps they’d notice how an early Bob Dylan had clearly urinated all over me and they’d say “that’s folky” so we were folk for a while. A couple of years ago I heard someone use the term Folk’n’Roll and I thought yeh, that will do it. Can’t take credit for coining the phrase. Unless there’s money in it, in which case, it was all my idea.
Can you share a little about the songwriting process? Who writes and where do you gather songwriting inspiration? Is there a group effect that takes place when bringing something new to the group..does the sound evolve?
I’m not sure what to say about the process. I’ll write the core of a song and then take it to the band. It’s quite gradual. They do evolve as we play them live yeh. Inspiration comes from everywhere! (not to be too vague about it).
What is the favorite thing about being involved in the whole music experience? What gives the most satisfaction, enjoy the most, and frustrates the most?
Good one. Being your own boss perhaps. Playing is great but I’m a fan of the meal between the sound check and the gig. The people you meet along the way. That’s great. Frustrating is the limited time you have in recording studios. I want to record as much as possible. It’s expensive and there’s never enough time so lots of compromises have to be made. Tis a real bugger.
Your debut six track release “Robin on a Pig’s Back” came out last fall. Was the journey everything you thought it would be? Anything significant you learned along the way?
Yes it did, I’m not sure I gave much thought to how the journey would be. I’m sure we learnt lots, I just can’t think of what.
Any advice for someone starting out playing music and looking to progress into recording?
Well I don’t have too much experience myself with the recording side but even though this might sound a bit obvious I’d say that with recording, your vision is a big deal. Have a vision of how you want it to sound, if you can articulate what you’re after, you’ll save a lot of time. The final product will never be exact to what you hear in your head but that’s the interesting bit. The best part, for me, is writing the song, after that, the challenge is allowing the song to grow the way it wants to. Recording can be quite final; it’s also a bit pot luck. You could record on a Monday and then on Tuesday record the same song and they’ll be completely different. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s a delicate mix between sticking to your guns and not being stubborn about it.
Fast Five – Questions for Fun!
1. Last song on your mp3 player (other than yours)? Elvis Perkins – “Hours Last Stand”
2. Favorite downtime activity? A bloody good walk
3. Favorite guilty pleasure? I don’t know . . . We shouldn’t really feel guilty for pleasurable things. Unless you like watching Xfactor, in which case you should cut out your eyes.
4. Happiness in one word? Wood
5. Tell us something we might be surprised to know? Britain has invaded 90% of the world’s countries. May not be surprised at that.
Much thanks to Freddie Hoare, and to Peter Manousakos for all of his assistance. xx