Northern Transmissions chatted with Daniel Lee of Hooded Fang on the eve of their upcoming England tour.
NT: Your new album Tosta Mista is a pretty quick follow up, whats it been nine months since your debut Album?
DL: Yeah. We were pretty excited; its just a fun record. We just wanted to put it out pretty fast. In the time that we put out the first record, we started two side projects that are more punk oriented. So we just wanted to do something more fun and a little grittier.We just finished it, and we thought we should just put it out right away. We also didnt want people to think that we were just going to do that other sound, because we have lots of other interests that we wanted to explore.
NT: Have you guys been surprised by how much attention youre getting in the music blogosphere?
DL: I guess so. We didnt know it was going to happen, but were always striving to compound development into bigger things. Reception has been really good, especially over in England, we have a friend that has a label over there that has been getting us lots of attention for our record. Were just thankful that people like it and we get to go around playing it. Its definitely not something to complain about. Anything that helps us to keep on playing music, and doing what we love to do is helpful. Its funny how it works, a lot of it is industry related. There are lots of amazing bands out there that never get any
press, maybe because its not sent out properly or they dont have the right team around them. Its really dependent on a process on how the music is put out there and whos working with you and supporting your music. Weve been really lucky with that. Its a weird world, the press world.
NT: The video for Vacationnation is pretty great. Who did it?
DL: That was done by Patrick Kyle who is a Toronto artist. He does comic books and art. Hes part of a collective called Wowee Zonk. Im really into his comics, he has one called Black Mass which I drool over. I just called him out of the blue, and said I love your shit, you wanna work together? He just came up with that awesome video, and hes also doing the artwork for our next album. Im really psyched, hes a really good artist.
www.patrickkyle.com is his website.
NT: What were some of the influences on the new album?
DL: I was listening to a lot of old Joe Meek stuff. We have some friends in California in a band called Tanjia that we really love, they influence us a lot. With the punk music were into, were just trying to meld it together. It was kind of a production and recording experiment. Also were just trying to write songs that are immediately catchy. You know how lyrics in old love songs and doo-wop tunes are ones that anyone can relate to? I wanted to write songs like that, that you could play in a band or just with a guitar that people could sing along to, or just something that people could grab on to.
NT: Who did the artwork on your album?
DL: The initial concept was by Eric Woodhead, and then the font was done by Dougie Kerr, whos an old time sign painter, he did our first albums artwork. The masks were redone by Elixer who is a legendary Toronto graffiti artist. It was sort of collaboration, they all did their separate parts, and then we stuck them all together.
NT: Was starting Dash Records something you felt you had to do to get your side projects out?
DL: Weve been self releasing our own material for a while. Weve mainly used it for tape releases and other minor releases, but recently weve been ramping it up and were trying to make it a viable business and a good platform for artists. Weve got a tight family, weve just released Close Friends music that we really respect and theres a lot of collaboration going on. Were really excited because we have a lot of releases that are really strong ranging from like dance/electro stuff to sludgy punk rock. So its going to be a good year.
NT: Whats happening with your side projects?
DL: Weve just released a side project on our record label called Phedre. Its me and April and a friend of our Doldrums. Its more of a studio thing where we record it and have fun with it. We made one video and released it a few weeks ago and it got a crazy amount of youtube hits, it got posted on one influential blog, and it was the fastest thing to get international recognition that Ive ever worked on. Its kind of funny the whole scenario. Youve got a band that amazing that has been toiling for years and nothing happens, and then theres something else thats not even a real band, and then suddenly
all these people around the world are into it. After a while, we just take it as it comes, we dont really believe anything until it actually happens. You cant get too caught up in the industry machine, even though its a really important part of what you do.
NT: Are you surprised that so many young bands are starting their own labels, doing the DIY thing?
DL: No, it makes a lot of sense. If you just create the motion for yourself, people see that, that youre working hard, and that youre in it for the right reasons, and then it grows exponentially. And now theres a pretty good forum to be able to do that on your own, like you can send your CVs to places, you can book your own tours. Its all good to know how to do that stuff too, if you know all the ins and outs of the business its only going to help you