Then when you find – after a few listens, after a few chords played even – that this brand new musical world you have entered is full of promises and rich in prowess, when you know that indulging in the sweet sounds on show will feel like coming home to a long-looked-for love soon enough, the exaltation is real. And this means, when you are asked to give a band a try you haven't heard of before, you should gratefully embrace this opportunity and hope for the best (i.e. finding stunning new music). carpe carmina did with indie-pop londoners Hoofa and wasn't let down at all; in fact, after - courtesy of a cheeky rehearsal video - being given a pretaste of what to expect when seeing the four-piece perform (it's energetic, atmospherically engaging instrumental passion and peppy, subtly funky tonal buoyancy accentuated with vibrant acoustic nuances, highlighted by soulfully ardent and melodiously powerful vocal qualities, topped off with emotionally pensive and catchy storytelling at that, for those interested to know), we already have a good feeling about this dynamic act. Tell us if you agree once you have seen for yourself at The Monarch on thursday eve (Hoofa, among others, is on the bill for This Feeling that night), but for now learn a bit more about the (rather mysterious, for having no music officially published/released thus far,) quartet prior to what is their biggest gig to date.
Let's get to know Hoofa. Introduce yourselves and share a fun fact about the band.
Hoofa is made up of 3 Southerners (Paul, Alan and Archie) and 1 Northerner (James). Originally Hoofa was the solo project of James, who had written a lot of our material. He auditioned for a lead guitarist role in a band that Alan and Archie were in, and connected with them straight away. That band didn’t work out, but James convinced Alan and Archie to join Hoofa. James sand Paul met at a mutual friends stag do and have been in touch ever since! When James knew he needed a acoustic guitarist with a great voice to sing backing vocals, Paul was first on his list. Luckily he said yes, and that’s how Hoofa was formed.
Apart from playing instruments and giving a voice to your music vocally,what is it that each of you contributes to Hoofa?
One thing we’ve all been surprised by is the fact that apart from when we’re rehearsing, we never really discuss music! That said, Paul has a folk background, which is evident in some of the acoustic guitar and backing vocals. Alan (bass) and Archie (drums) seem to know what the other is going to play before they play it, so they lock in really tight. James writes the songs and then brings them to the group to adapt as needed, but he also brings over the top motivational speeches before our shows.
How would you describe the sound of your music?
Our sound is quite guitar-poppy, but we don’t have any keyboards/synths. We want to write and play feel good indie rock that makes you sing along after the first chorus and jump around a lot. James is heavily influenced by The Beautiful South, Little Comets and Peace, and sometimes that comes out quite a bit.
Sum up your gig experience thus far. What has been memorable, what came by surprise?
Our second gig was at Dingwalls in London. When we went to do our vocal warmups, the room was essentially empty. James gave a speech a NFL coach would be proud of at half time, encouraging everyone to go and play like the room was packed. We walked out to around 350 people in a rammed venue. Turns out everyone was in the bar upstairs drinking beforehand! We were quite taken back by what felt like everyone singing back our songs almost straight away, which is amazing considering we have no music released yet! That was memorable and came by surprise!
Being a fairly 'new' band, how did you manage to secure a slot at the Monarch for This Feeling? Can you tell us a little bit more about what being part of the line-up means to you.
This Feeling means a lot, it’s one of the nights as a band you want to play. We were luckily enough to be offered to play that after word got back to them that our first show was pretty good (I believe!) and so they’ve put faith in us and booked us, alongside some really great bands.
Let us in on favourite lyrics of songs you have written/you are currently working on.
In the second verse of a song called “Frustrated Love” we sing about a real life experience of a night out we had when the band was just getting to know each other:
“Your eyes looked straight at me, whoa, I could hardly believe,
We made eye contact, whilst singing along to The Wombats,
But then you went outside, and I saw you with another guy,
I guess I missed my time, it’s alright, it’s alright…”
Now, finish these statements:
… Our go-to cover song at gigs is none, because we want to play original music.
… When we are asked to play a song with actual musical skill, we shiver, uncontrollably.
… As band we enjoy listening to music of a wide variety, when getting pumped up for gigs.
… Despite being the only person without a microphone in the band, Alan is the one who often sings along to all our songs when we are together.
… The bands we would like to perform with most are The Magic Gang, Stereo Honey and The Pale White and the reason why is that they are all great emerging bands and we love their music.
… We'll know we made it as a band, as soon as we play Reading and Leeds festival.
… You probably don't know this musician, but he is well worth checking on: Paul Lynch (our acoustic guitarist!) Especially his song ‘Searching for the Answer’. [note: it's a quirky and jazzy, jaunty and ambient little mix of instrumental glory!)
…. When we play This Feeling, we will go absolutely insane and get everyone singing.
What are your plans for the next couple of months? Is there an EP in the
making, a single release to talk about, a music video planned or gigs lined
We are working on a release for May time, but it’s all under wraps right now!
And last but not least: what is it that you appreciate about carpe carmina, what makes you come back here to check on other musician's creative work?
We think you need to discover new bands via other means than just Spotify / Apple’s discovery playlists. Obviously a lot of the music on them is great, but music blogs with a great reputation really assist with that.
Thanks for the interview and good luck for your upcoming gig! [folks in/close to London and over 18 years old, it's a free one so you should pop down to The Monarch on thursday and enjoy a good night out, including live music from 7.30pm (Hoofa's set starts at 9pm) onwards].
Learn more about (& listen to) Hoofa on ...
.. twitter ...
.. facebook ...
(.. soundcloud ...)
.. youtube ...