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HIPSHAKES


How the fuck does this kinda’ shit happen? How do 15 year old kids from a tiny town in Limeyland end up recording one minute shambling punk stompers packed with an excess of nervous energy and monster non-obvious hook-snags? I mean, that’s exactly what you get on the Hipshakes’ debut 7” that just came out on Slovenly. Read below, as Daniel Hipshake answered questions “whilst Bruce and Andrew smashed a chair into pieces.” Thanks, guys!

TB: I tried to research a little about you guys, but The Hand said you just suddenly popped up out of nowhere, and he doesn’t know anything about you. Are you bodysnatchers? Moles? Virgin births? A little band/personnel history, please.
Daniel: There are three of us, Daniel (guitar, vocals) Andrew (bass, vocals) and Bruce (drums, shouting). There is a rumour that Bruce was born and conceived in the anus. We originally come from a small market town/tourist trap called Bakewell in the countryside near Sheffield. Anyway, we bought some instruments and formed a band in 2001-ish. We were 15. We learned our instruments a bit and wrote shit songs. Naturally, there were member changes, but we hadn’t played instruments before in our lives, except Bruce who was tutored (a bit bizarrely) by the guy from Woodstock hippy heroes 10 Years After.
After a bit we suddenly wrote the songs on the Slovenly single, and that laid down how we were to sound. We went mental in Andrew’s garage for about a year, really frenzied practices with no audience. Then we played our fist show on Andrew’s 17th birthday, in a village hall. We smashed the bass through the drum kit and there was blood and things. We got so wound up before the show through nerves; it all came out in the performances. We played several shows around our town and surrounding villages, generally getting shafted by jerk promoters, even being made to play at about 5:00 pm once when doors weren’t even ‘til about 7:00-ish. We got on a course in Sheffield funded by the City Council.

TB: OK, and how did your recordings end up at Slovenly HQ?
Daniel: On this course we got paired up with some learner producers, we were their guinea pigs and vice versa. We were still at school. We had been played on John Peel’s radio show, and as a result featured in a fanzine, and got a London show. We took the lo-fi (due to the producers being amateurs) recording with us, and gave them to an Italian guy who loved our performance. This was May, and after summer we moved to Sheffield and we went to University to pursue Architecture, Geography and Environmental Conservation.
We latched onto some bands who had a record label, (Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation), one of which was the Motherfuckers. They had released a garagey compilation and a cool single called "I’m a Fucker". They said they would put us on in the future. In about January or February we got an e-mail from Slovenly Pete out of the blue saying “let’s make a record!” We got very excited, and he went right ahead and used the early recording we had given to who turned out to be his best friend Senofonte in London.

TB: I’m glad you guys didn’t re-record – I love the way those tracks came out. Were you aware of bands like the Real Losers, Black Time or Country Teasers when you recorded that Slovenly single?
Daniel: Around the time of the above The Motherfuckers put us on in a pub. Black Time came up to play as well, and someone who I thought was a roadie for Black Time chatted to us and praised us for a bit. Turns out it was The Hand, who lives with a Motherfucker and is friends with them, but we didn’t know at the time. We had not heard any of the bands mentioned above before recording the single, and still don’t know anything about the Country Teasers. We'd always see the Real Losers stuff for sale on websites, but didn't know anything about them other than they sounded cool. It's pretty good our paths crossed.

TB: On that tip, silly influences question. I mean, I gotta’ ask, because your sound isn’t as easy to pin down as the usual punk garbage.
Daniel: Hmm, we love the Oblivians, Compulsive Gamblers, Reigning Sound, Ramones, Velvet Underground, Stooges, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers...we got into a load of stuff via looking at who had influenced that bunch of bands that got into the mainstream a while back in the UK - White Stripes, The Hives etc. Those bands served their purpose by letting us (and I’m guessing quite a few people) hear stuff like the Gories, Dirtbombs and this cool Swedish punk band called Randy. I suppose we like quite a broad range of guitar music in addition to stuff that people say we sound like.


HIPSHAKES

TB: Way more people in “cool” bands over here were led over by Green Day or Nirvana than will admit it – ya gotta’ start somewhere. So, are you guys total KBD destruction?
Daniel: Before people said our single was ‘KBD style punk’ we didn’t know what it was, let alone what it stood for. Similarly, people have said we rip off the Pebbles and Box of Trash things, but we had to find out what they were after people made the comparison.

TB: Reviewers over there don’t have any sort of touchstones for this type of stuff; search for UK Real Losers or Black Time reviews – hilarious! By the way, I came across a live sorta review on the Hipshakes that said you’re a polarizing band – half the crowd was horrified, and half loved it. What does this mean? Do you torture squirrels? Are there ritual beatings?
Daniel: It means that we don’t waste time talking to the audience, there’s no ‘hilarious’ pre-rehearsed banter, we just get really nervous beforehand and take it out on the instruments. People don’t know when to clap 'cause the songs tend to roll into each other, and it often looks like Andrew especially is about to kill someone. If someone hates us it’s ‘cause we don’t really lay on the conventional three minute song, three minutes chat/arsing around/tuning up every second.
I suppose we are pretty full-on in our approach, and always make feedback and white noise at the end of a set, so maybe people don’t like that. People either want tepid shit to gently wash over them or they want something unpredictable and unexpected to make them pay attention. We provide the latter. Once, in a town between Sheffield and Leeds, we went on to cries of "Fuck Off!" from some meatheads, and we thought "lets fucking give it to them". We made screeching noise for quite a while at the end and it was lovely. Polarizing opinion is always best- give people something they need to decide on rather than "oh it was OK I suppose".

TB: Sounds great to me! What did the kids at your school think of your ramshackle choice of music?
Daniel: I don’t think they cared. Sometimes our friend would come and see us play, sometimes they wouldn’t. No-one outside our social circle came to see us, but we have just been invited to headline a show back in Bakewell by some people from school! They think we are signed, I think. Most school bands played pop-punk or, even worse, really bad funk metal, but for some reason we got accused of taking being in a band too seriously. We could barely play so I don’t know what they were on about.

TB: Are you big in Leeds?
Daniel: Not big as such. A shop sold our record, and online shop there sold our record and slagged it off (‘is being rubbish a virtue?’), an excellent promoter, GoJonnygogogogo, helps us out like he did for the Real Losers (I suppose we are their successors) but that’s about it. I think when we play Leeds there is more interest than when we play Sheffield, cause we are ‘out of towners’, but it’s negligible.

TB: Is Sheffield the kinda place you leave when you “make it?” Do you see Phil Oakey or Richard Kirk wandering around town in tattered overalls muttering to themselves? Is Joe Cocker still alive and twitchin’?
Daniel: Yeah, I think people make a run for it, but I don’t know why. We’ve never seen any ‘legend’ really, a guy who has been in Pulp and the Longpigs, called Richard Hawley has never left. He plays really cool 50’s rock n roll ballads now. I think Phil Oakey runs an expensive studio and Jarvis Cocker wrote a poem for some flats, all the way from his Paris house.

TB: What’s your take on fluoride?
Daniel: This handy rhyme: If it’s in your toothpaste you oughta, Not have it in water.

TB: Brilliant! Know any Artic Monkeys jokes?
Daniel: Not really. There is one about a band that wrote some mediocre songs and then became the biggest band ever but I can’t really remember it. I know The Hand wants us to break into their rehearsal space and help him steal their equipment.

TB: The Hand is the “wrong crowd,” if you know what I mean. Bangers or mash?
Daniel: Sausages are better than boring potatoes. What do you prefer? Or do you eat them together like everyone else?

TB: We don’t have that dogshit over here! In Wisconsin, we do have bratwurst and sausage because of all the Krauts and Polacks who settled here. Are there any other new-ish bands in Jolly Ol’ we foreigners should know about?
Daniel: There is a band called the Midnight Kicks, who are like a power-pop version of us. My 15 year old brother is in them and they are pretty good. Another band we like is Smokers Die Younger, nothing like us but a mix of loads of things, I can’t describe their sound.

TB: Sounds interesting. I heard that the Hand will be recording you shortly – what happened on the first go-around? Any good Hand stories? He’s won much acclaim over here for starring as a lovable mental deficient in “The Princess Bride.”
Daniel: We went over to his house and recorded some songs, including an Oblivians cover, and everything came out really overloaded. It sounds cool but things, mainly drums, are buried. Him and El Tommo are just messing around and learning how to get it right. Next time, we are recording an albums worth of stuff and it should be a bit cleaner. All I know is that he’s coming over later to see us play and there are loads of places he is barred from, limiting the after show activities somewhat.

TB: Like I said – wrong crowd. Future plans? Thinking of coming to America?
Daniel: If we could get over to America that would be ace, we’d love to come and see the reformed Oblivians but aren’t even old enough to drink over there. Hopefully we will tour Europe in the summer; we are working on it at the moment. We are playing more in the UK too, and just want to get all our songs recorded and more stuff released.

TB: Cool – we’ll see you in a year or two, then. Anything else you want to add?
Daniel: Why should we stay away from you? What’s your job? I know you put out 'Funsters' for the Real Losers, but nothing else.

TB: Well, my job is pretending to work while I piss people off online. I’ve put out a few shitty records by bands that seem to break up around the time of release (Real Losers, Catholic Boys). Ned Hayden, a Long Island transvestite/comedienne, told you to stay away because he was attempting humor. Then again, he may be right. He did discover Monster Magnet in a New Jersey broom factory and all. Anyway, what’s your favorite online music zine?
Daniel: Terminal Boredom is pretty good. Does Grunnenrocks count as a zine?

TB: So sorry, the answer was simply “Terminal Boredom.”

Check out the Hipshakes:
Hipskakes Website
Hipshakes on MySpace

Interview by Todd Trickknee
Pics provided by the band


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