TWJ Interviews: Hey Sholay
It’s hard to believe it’s only been a little more than one of the dudes from Sheffield, England quintet Hey Sholay reached out to us about the band’s song “Dreamboat.” Since then, the guys have released a handful of singles, gotten a ton of buzz from some pretty powerful tastemakers, and toured quite a bit to whet people’s appetites for their forthcoming debut album ((O)), which is out in September on Fierce Panda Records.
There’s something else you should know about Hey Sholay: they’re a bit strange. From the outset, the band has cultivated a kind of goofy, endearing awkwardness that’s two parts tongue-in-cheek and some mixture of self-awareness, self-deprecation and mischief. I imagine it’s part of what makes their live show a must-see kind of thing, as evidenced by their being named a “Must-see Band of the Summer” by BBC6 Music. They’ve also been touted by Drowned In Sound, NME and have toured in stints with (our half-year No. 1 album-makers) Dry The River as well as Crystal Antlers. So while the fivesome enjoys their somewhat mysterious, undeniably entertaining persona, it’s built on a foundation of catchy, captivating rock music.
The band was cool enough to answer some of TWJ’s questions via e-mail recently, and what follows is that Q&A. Enjoy!
(Photo credit: Mark Tighe)
TWJ: Where’s the name Hey Sholay come from?
HS: The phrase ‘Sholay’ translates to ‘Little embers/flames of the Sun’. Which we all are, in one way or another. “The design in the stars is the same in our hearts” (Derrick Brown) – back at the Crucibles of the universe, a singular point of potential energy. The fundamental elements of the atoms that comprise your body, anything, came from the same collapsed, unstable cooking pots of high pressure, temperature and energy as those that made every ((O)) in the skies. An explosion of Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen. Everything is one singularity.
And ‘Hey’ rhymes when popped in front of it…
What’s it been like to move from relative unknown to getting the kind of praise you are now from tastemakers like NME, Radio1, Drowned In Sound and the like?
It’s very flattering and gives you a little boost when people pay attention to what you do. Steve Lamacq has been very positive in getting us a little more exposure, as has DiS with festivals, features. It doesn’t really alter our approach to anything as smaller ears need to pay attention to bigger ones, and visa-versa. But we are very lucky to have, as a result, done shows in Europe and BBC live sessions in Maida Vale etc. And got some free cake along the way too.
What was it like recording your debut record? And what’s it mean to you guys to be releasing it soon?
Our debut record is a series of sessions over 2011 in 2fly Studios, that we would revisit from time to time, knocking at the porch, box of chocolates in hand, bow tie straight. Our Producer David Sanderson taught us to respect his Midas Gold sneakers, and in return he would spin yarns with which he would make thread to weave with our experiences and make a golden National Geographic fleece. And an album from the hem trimmings.
How does it feel to release an album?
Phantasmagorical and nerve-racking at the same time. Will anyone like our first labours? Were we good nurturing parents? Did we breed a sycophant in the key of D major?
How do you guys write songs? Is it one or two members leading the way and the rest providing touches, or is it one big collaboration the whole way?
Song ideas are often dropped down our cabin chimney by a Stork. Then we all gather around the fire with the letter opener, read the passage, and add our own sections when playing together. It’s a pretty collaborative vibe throughout, though every so often a member’s ‘baby’ is brought in by accident (the Stork has awful eyesight).
What do you love about playing music?
Music is everything, everything is a minute vibration. I think, after you get past nerves, it’s the ability to dial in a frequency, volume or tone that matches a certain feeling and you can just run with it – regardless of whether the audience are on a similar bandwidth.
You’ve been dubbed a “Must-see Band of The Summer 2012.” What do you hope to give people in a live performance?
A tiptoed kiss from aloft a yellow pages book, whilst having a firecracker in our pockets.
What did you learn from touring with Crystal Antlers and then Dry The River?
That in LDV’s, no-one can hear you scream.
What music are you guys listening to?
Colin Stetson (distorted Baritone Sax madness), Sleep Party People (Danish post rock dressed as Rabbits), Black Moth Super Rainbow (psych-synth warmness).
I kinda fell in love with “Dreamboat”as soon as I heard it. Do you guys know that quickly if a song’s “got it” too?
Dreamboat was written very quickly, so we could keep it as simple as possible. It’s more of every member understanding exactly which angle to tackle the idea from. Difficult with five people, but the Stork sometime drops quite good ideas off.
If you had to kill a jukebox, how would you do it?
Make it O.D. on Wham then finish it off in a sink full of water (whilst plugged in).