Houston Calling

The Hourly Radio tonight at Warehouse Live with The Rapture, Shiny Toy Guns

May 15th, 2007 · No Comments

Dallas band The Hourly Radio has steadily been making a name of themselves around the country and in the UK. Their album, History Will Never Hold Me, is a mixture of eighties-style new wave and modern Britrock, with just the right amount of danceability built in.

The band recently hit the road on a tour with Shiny Toy Guns and stops in Houston tonight (Wednesday, 5.16.07) to open The Rapture’s show at Warehouse Live. Be sure to get there early so you don’t miss this great band. I assume they go on around 7-7:30pm.

If you do happen to miss their set tonight, be sure to mark your calendars for June 7th when The Hourly Radio–Aaron Closson [vocals + guitar], Ryan Short [guitar], Adam Vanderkolk [drums], and Tim Jansen [bass]–play at The Mink (with locals Flowers To Hide opening up).

I recently asked The Hourly Radio‘s Ryan Short some questions. Enjoy.

Interview: The Hourly Radio

HC: How did The Hourly Radio get together as a band?

THR: About three years ago Aaron and I met when I posted an ad looking for a singer. He came over and played “Drugs Don’t Work” by The Verve on acoustic guitar. We started meeting a couple times a week at my apartment, playing guitar and writing songs together. A couple months later I ran into an old high school friend (Adam) and convinced to him to come play drums with us. Our original bassist, a painter and college friend of mine (a very Stuart Sutcliffe-ish situation) moved to NYC and Tim took his spot, and here we are.

HC: There’s been quite a few comparisons to the British influences in your music. What are a few of your favorite British bands? Were you big fans of The Verve?

THR: The Verve is one of our all time favorites. While we might incorporate more pop sensibilities into our style, The Verve influenced our obsession with textures and delays, shaping the general scope of our sound. Blur, The Smiths, Slowdive, Oasis, Stone Roses, New Order, etc. We are deeply indebted to British music, but hope we make our own unique contribution within the continuing tradition.

We certainly don’t try and sound specifically like any of our influences, but to an extent that is what music and art is all about — taking pieces of what’s come before you and adding something of your own and then passing it along. If you dissected our songs you may say a particular guitar part sounds a bit like The Cure or a drumbeat like New Order or a vocal melody like James, but as a whole I think it all comes together to create something entirely unique. Often critics put on their detective hats and start looking for the influence, and if they find them they think they’ve busted you rather than instead of listening to the song as a whole. Which is why a lot of critics and especially bloggers praise horrible bands just cause they can’t pin them down they assume it’s brilliant.

HC: How has being from Dallas (or Texas) influenced your music? It’s definitely got more of an eighties/early nineties Britrock vibe than a lot of bands I’m hearing from Texas these days.

THR: I think we would sound the same regardless of where we were from cause we dont listen to music just from Texas. If anything, being from Texas has given us the freedom to sound like we do because we aren’t part of some scene like in New York or London and there aren’t really any bands that sound like we do. Perhaps if we were from the UK we would sound like we are from Texas.

HC: “Crime Does Pay” has been getting radio play and garnering the band attention. Are you happy with the way History Will Never Hold Me has been playing out so far?

THR: We have been very happy with the response so far, but we also have a long way to go. The record still hasn’t gotten the big push that the songs deserve and we are looking forward to the UK release of the record as well. So there is still a lot of work and a lot more people who we want to hear the record before we move on.

HC: I recently checked out the new video for “Deaf Ears” — how was making that? It’s a pretty interesting concept. How has the response been so far?

THR: Responses have been overwhelmingly positive. If it strikes you as a bit morbid, we encourage you to watch Harold and Maude, the 70’s film that inspired the video concept, to gain some perspective. It was a great experience working with a talented crew and a fascinating group of extras.

HC: What’s been the favorite thing you’ve experienced while touring? The worst?

THR: For me the greatest thing is the opportunity we’ve been given to see basically every city and stretch of highway in the US and UK. And most importantly the fact that we are able to experience this while we are young. Most people are 65 before they can afford to see the world if at all, and then it’s all antique shops and guided tours. The worst thing about touring: repacking my suitcase every morning and the food.

HC: Since you guys are on an independent record label, I am interested to know your opinion of the music business/industry? How do you feel about digital music/downloading? Do you feel it’s helped The Hourly Radio?

THR: We would much rather you have our songs on your iPod than us have your $10 in our pocket so we have no problems with downloading. Artists will generally not have a problem with illegal downloading as they make their money from touring, and the idea is if someone can download the song for free hopefully they like it enough to come out to the show and bring a few friends. It’s the record companies who have the big beef with downloading, but they will slowly adapt and figure out other ways to make money (getting more involved in the bands touring, merch, management, etc.). Just another case of needing to not clutch onto the past.

HC: Any DFW-area bands that you’ve been listening to lately that you’d recommend I check out?

THR: Our friends the Burning Hotels are great, as well as The Valentines.

HC: What’s next for the band in 2007?

THR: Another record is likely to follow in ’07. I have high expectations and am confident that the music is only going to get better.

[Note: A portion of this interview was used in my article on The Hourly Radio for the April 2007 issue of Envy magazine’s Dallas edition.]

A special thanks to The Hourly Radio’s Ryan Short for taking the time out to answer these questions.

Please make plans to come out tonight to see The Hourly Radio open for Shiny Toy Guns and The Rapture at Warehouse Live. This is going to be a good show. I have seen The Rapture several times and have heard good things about Shiny Toy Guns. Also, there’s supposedly an after-party at Warehouse at which the band members will be doing DJ sets until 3am.

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