Saturday, 20 November 2010

Written Article

  Title:  Hey, Hey Scousebrick!  From their song Hey Hey Housebrick
  Big Quote: “We played with The Who in front of 35,000”

  Hot Club De Paris are an indie three piece from Liverpool known for their angular guitar pop, stop start time sigs and barbershop harmonies.  The band consist of brothers Matthew Smith (guitar and vocals) and Alasdair Smith (drums and vocals), and their vegan friend from Frodsham, Paul Rafferty (bass/baritone guitar and vocals).  They are signed to Moshi Moshi Records, who signed Hot Chip, Kate Nash and indie legends Bloc Party, and released their debut album ‘Drop It’ Til It Pops’ in 2006.  After a very busy year, in which they released two EP’s and toured Europe I was lucky to catch them in Liverpool, where I was blown away by the witty banter, and bandmanship on display.  Before the show I got the chance to speak to lead man Paul Rafferty. 

Before HCDP, Paul, Matthew and Alasdair were in slightly less motivated bands based in Liverpool, and not really going anywhere.  But it was one fine day in 2004, when Paul got a job working behind the bar at a race course...  a race course that was also employing Matthew Smith.  Nature then took its course and Paul simply said “We just got really fucking drunk, and, y’know played some music” in a rock ‘n’ roll sort of manner.  I asked Paul for the story behind the name Hot Club De Paris, and instead of a memorable band anecdote, he simply educated me on a jazz group called “Quintette du Hot Club de France” on the way he admitted to liking a bit of Stephen Grappelli and Django Reinhardt, which produce cheap jazz records sold in the UK and he said, “we thought we would turn our band into  a joke”

The band, despite not being a household name, sit on several prestigious achievements, including tours of India, America and Europe, where they played respected festivals like South by Southwest in America and The Camden Crawl.  However, Paul admitted that his highlight was when “we played with The Who in front of 35,000 people” , he went on “it was ridiculous.  We thought someone was having us one”.  It’s not like this band was born into fame, they had to work their way towards the top, “like playing on the floor at a pub or like, playing in a cricket ground, it’s just dead interesting seeing how many people are involved in the process and how it all comes together, so that was pretty amazing!”

  From listening to their unique style of music, in which Matthew doesn’t play chords, it’s quite hard to pin point where this bands influences are from.  “It’s like Led Zeppelin records and The Who records, all that sort of stuff, like those bands are completely out of their minds, they keep writing like such crazy music, you know, write like throughout their whole careers, and some people just think that’s just what stopped like rock music, like we are really into that stuff”, controversial however, true.  Although there are definite traces of classic rock in their latest EP Paul carries on “ Then you hear of some many other bands like Jet… and they sound like fucking dickheads”.
Nowadays, bands can get a Facebook page or a MySpace page, where they can upload music, get in touch with venues and promote themselves from dawn til dusk.  Being a band that formed in 2004, becoming a part of the internet generation, I wondered how important the internet had proved to be in Hot Club’s musical career,  he admits “First thing I do when I get home these days is like you can check your emails and correspond with people in that way”.        

As a fan, you may have already noticed, but for those of you that haven’t, Hot Club’s quirkiness doesn’t end at their instruments, with their bundles of creativity, Paul does the artwork for posters and albums, and they have grown an obsession with writing long, confusing titles. I asked Paul about their latest EP ‘The Rise and Inevitable Fall of the High School Suicide Band’, and where the inspiration sparked from, when we told me “I was reading up on suicide clusters…”, and I began to plan an escape route.  However, we went deeply on revealing “It’s like a metaphor for a group of guys who are just sort of giving up, and they are realising they had this like pact when they were kids and that kind of stuff…” At the ripe old age of 30, I doubt Paul will have to be, in his words, “putting records in the loft” anytime soon.

Why should he? Surely Hot Club will release more albums?  So, I asked Paul whether the next year will be as busy as the one gone,  “Yeah, we’re in the middle of recording our third album at the minute so, yeah that’s err, yeah just that.  There’s nothing massive. The two EP’s we put out last year, they are getting bundled together as a CD in Europe and America, there coming out in January, we’re touring Europe and America”.  So this won’t be the last time you hear the name Hot Club De Paris.

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