Friday, June 13, 2008

Interview: The Hidden Hooks

Take a moment to click here to listen to or download a few songs by The Hidden Hooks. They’re a local indie pop act who are just getting started and are well worth checking out. Okay, so go do that, then come right back…

[Taps fingers on desk...]

You done? It’s good stuff with lots of heart, eh? You can see why we booked them to open up at our Let’s Independent! event at Boardner’s of Hollywood next Tuesday night with co-headliners Buddy and The Parson Redheads.

We caught up with The Hidden Hooks’ Chris Johnson earlier this week over IM to find out more about them.

ChrisHH (4:37:53 PM): Hey, it's Chris from The Hidden Hooks!
RFSL (4:41:15 PM): Hey, Chris.
RFSL (4:41:17 PM): How's it going?
ChrisHH (4:41:51 PM): Pretty good... At work still.
RFSL (4:42:49 PM): What's your day job?
ChrisHH (4:43:28 PM): I work at a high school library in Anaheim. I'm an assistant librarian, I guess?
RFSL (4:43:52 PM): Excellent. Fiction or non-fiction? Or the whole deal?
ChrisHH (4:44:40 PM): Everything. Although unfortunately most of our readers are low level, so no one's really checking out Sartre.
ChrisHH (4:45:52 PM): I mostly do office work, but I usually recommend RL Stine.
RFSL (4:46:39 PM): How long you been in California?
ChrisHH (4:47:42 PM): My whole life :) Lived in Norwalk/La Mirada as a child and uh adult and now just moved to Los Feliz.
RFSL (4:48:08 PM): Ah, so there actually are natives here! That's good to know.
ChrisHH (4:48:23 PM): Haha. Yeah, most people I meet from LA aren't really from LA...
RFSL (4:48:32 PM): How long have you been making music? You had a band before The Hidden Hooks?
ChrisHH (4:50:25 PM): I've been making music for about ten years. I've been in a lot of little bands, punk bands and side projects, but nothing really serious... I was in The Gold Bugs, a side project of mine, but i have a million side projects. Now, in the past, always...
RFSL (4:51:21 PM): How did you start working on The Hidden Hooks?
ChrisHH (4:53:31 PM): Well, I decided to play music "for serious." I bought a bunch of new equipment, new computer, acoustically treated a room at my parents’ house, and just started recording. It was either spend money on a "studio", or buy a motorcycle, My family was against the motorcycle idea.
RFSL (4:54:16 PM): It's always good to submit "or a motorcycle" as an option to the folks. It helps push anything you want through.
ChrisHH (4:54:35 PM): lol. Yeah, I still might get one someday.
RFSL (4:54:56 PM): So, how long ago was that? Did you already have a few songs worked out?
ChrisHH (4:57:45 PM): That was little over a year ago. I had the whole month of July off from my day job, so I used that month to work on the studio and the songs. I had some older ideas i worked on, and some new ones, too. I almost never have complete ideas, most songs are built as I play them over and over and over and…
ChrisHH (4:58:09 PM): over.
RFSL (4:58:25 PM): When did you record the EPs?
ChrisHH (4:59:37 PM): Around that time. So about August/November. Both EPs have songs from the entire time period, if that makes any sense.
RFSL (4:59:55 PM): You did everything yourself?
ChrisHH (5:00:14 PM): Yeah.
RFSL (5:00:34 PM): Why two EPs instead of an album?
RFSL (5:01:03 PM): Cold War Kids did that, too. Released two EPs concurrently.
ChrisHH (5:04:18 PM): I guess the songs didn't really flow well as an album.
RFSL (5:05:33 PM): Ah, got it.
ChrisHH (5:04:51 PM): The first EP (bad master) was mostly made up of songs that were supposed to be more "polished." It didn't really come out like that. I really tried to really be careful with mic placement and all that but it didn't really work. With the second EP, I was more flippant on where the mics were and mostly just had the mics in one spot, and ironically, I'm more happy with the second EP.
RFSL (5:06:05 PM): How have the EPs been received online?
ChrisHH (5:07:22 PM): Okay. I was kinda surprised on how many sold, but I can safely say I'm not going to be breaking any charts anytime soon.
RFSL (5:09:23 PM): That's great. I mean, to put it out there without playing out yet or any manager to email folks.
ChrisHH (5:11:15 PM): Yeah, thanks. I think the internet is pretty cool in that regard, although one still needs to play a lot of shows and continue the cycle.
RFSL (5:12:35 PM): Cool. I've been wanting to see you live for months now, so I'm glad to have you play our show.
ChrisHH (5:14:15 PM): Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it. I can't wait to see both Buddy and The Parson Redheads, too. It sounds exciting!
RFSL (5:14:39 PM): What's next for you after that?
ChrisHH (5:16:35 PM): I'm not sure to be honest. I'll have July to either book more shows or go back and record a whole bunch of ideas. I haven't been writing as much as I'd like due to a bunch of life-stuff, but I don't know. It's all kinda up in the air. And that's cool.
RFSL (5:14:39 PM): Oh, I should’ve asked this earlier… What’s the name of the band from?
ChrisHH (5:21:12 PM): Hrmm, the name... Well, it doesn't really mean anything deep, just the goal to make music and hooks that are subtle and that don't beat you over the head, although most times, for me its hard to do.
RFSL (5:21:54 PM): Cool. I figured it was something like that.
ChrisHH (5:22:17 PM): I can be pretty literal and boring sometimes.
RFSL (5:22:25 PM): Ha, ha.
RFSL (5:22:29 PM): What bands made you want to make music?
ChrisHH (5:26:15 PM): Oh, this is a good one… (Rolls out a list from coat pocket.) Steely Dan is probably #1. Elliott Smith, Wilco and The Microphones tied for #2 and for #3, not really a band but Nobu Uematsu, the Final Fantasy composer. (The video games for you non-nerds out there). Those are the bands I go to when I'm in need. and if I start to sound like them I throw it away and start again.
RFSL (5:27:56 PM): Cool. Last question!
RFSL (5:28:05 PM): What are you listening to these days?
ChrisHH (5:31:31 PM): I'm re-listening to some older stuff, like The Soft Bulletin from The Flaming Lips and some Ryan Adams. The last music I bought was Crowded House's latest CD. I forget the name, but it's really good. I get pretty superstitious about listening to new stuff, like it’s going to influence me too much, that I'll be too modern, but I'm like that.
RFSL (5:32:43 PM): Heh.
RFSL (5:32:56 PM): Well, that's all I've got for you, Chris.
RFSL (5:33:06 PM): Thanks very much for all your time.
ChrisHH (5:33:37 PM): Yeah. Thanks, Joe, It’s been fun!

- Girl, Don't You Get Buried MP3
- When The Silence Squeezes MP3


Post a Comment

<< Home