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Hinder – “We Wrote A Song With 3OH!3” | Interview

We caught up with Hinder on their short UK tour to find out all about their new album, why they’ve been away for so long and which UK female celebs they fancy.


Source: Promo Image

Hinder recently returned to the UK for a short but intimate three-date tour for the first time in eight years after a turbulent couple of years due to the split with their record label and the addition of their new frontman Marshal Dutton after original singer Austin Winkler left in 2013. We caught up with the band at the last of their three shows to talk all about their new record When The Smoke Clears, how the UK has treated them, when we can expect them back, and even Posh Spice gets a cheeky mention…

HTF: You guys last played the UK in 2007. Why did you leave it so long?

Cody (drummer and co-founder): It’s hard and expensive to get over here, especially when you have a label that doesn’t support you in this market. We’ve had fans reaching out to us constantly for so many years so we decided to just spend the money to come over and do it. We’re very thankful that we did because it’s been great so far.

HTF: Why did you play just three shows instead of a full tour?

C: We wanted to do a full tour but, for whatever reason, our agent thought it was best to do the three shows.

HTF: Well, three shows is better than nothing!

C: Exactly, that’s what we thought. Since the shows have gone so well we can go back and beat him up and get him to send us back over.

HTF: Your new album When The Smoke Clears is out now, so, after the split with the label and the lineup change, when did you feel like you were ready to record a new album and get back together? Or did those events bring you closer together?

C: For the four of us, it definitely brought us closer together. We’ve always been on the same page and most likely always will be. We communicate very well and we’re very tight within the four of us, and now the five of us. Marshal’s always been there through the whole thing with us. We knew we weren’t finished in the back of our minds so we started writing as soon as we came off the road on the last tour where we had Jared Weeks from Saving Abel filling in. As soon as that tour ended we went right back to writing and demoing for the new album.

HTF: So those events didn’t hold you up too much then?

C: No, we like to write new songs anyway so we figured that if we can put everything back together with someone new then we’d be better off and already have material ready to go.

HTF: It must have been quite an easy transition too, considering Marshal’s been with you since 2009.

C: Yeah, that was great. What a lot of people don’t know is Marshal usually sang the demo versions of all the songs anyway so now it’s like skipping a step.

HTF: Will those demos be released at any point in the future?

C: You never know. We’ll see what happens down the road but right now we’re just focusing on new recordings and new material.

HTF: So Marshal, when you became the frontman did you feel any pressure to match up to Austin?

M: I wouldn’t say I felt a lot of pressure from the fans but I put a lot of pressure on myself because I was just worried about what the reaction to me would be because my voice is quite different. There were always going to be shit-talkers and haters but most of the fans were really cool. To my surprise, after we started performing at the beginning of the year everyone was really welcoming and embraced me. I expected a lot more haters than there actually were.

HTF: What’s it been like fronting the band for the first time in the UK?

M: It’s been amazing. This whole year has been awesome and just keeps getting better. I think we’ve made a lot of new fans too and secured some of the old ones. The UK has been great so far. Every show just gets better and better.

HTF: A lot of the lyrics on this album are about struggle and survival, and summing up what’s been happening for you guys lately. So, do you feel like you’re ready for another 15 years now? Is there a new energy?

C: There’s definitely a new energy. We’d like to carry on for many years. As long as the fans are there and we still have the support, we’ll still be here.

HTF: As well as a new album, you’re also on a new label too, called The End Records, after originally being on Universal Republic. In your song ‘Hit The Ground’, some of the lyrics are

“When the smoke clears and the flashing lights and neon signs all disappear” and later on, “maybe I got a little lost and got a little wreckless.” So, did it feel like you’d started to take being on a major label for granted after 9 years?

C: It was kinda like that, yeah. I think it was just the situation as a whole with the singer change, the management change and the label. We finally got it all back together and got through the mess and we were ready to look forward. That’s where the whole ‘Where The Smoke Clears’ thing comes from. Obviously, the rest of the song is looking back on our past and realizing that maybe we were out there, like you said, taking things for granted and focusing on getting fucked up all the time instead of focusing on the band and on the music. We’re definitely in a different headspace now.

HTF: Does it feel like you were back where you were at the beginning when you were originally on an independent label?

C: Before we signed with Republic we were just on our own label, doing our own thing but going to an indie from a major is definitely different, but at the same time it’s refreshing. We have a lot more freedom and they support every decision that we make. Obviously, they don’t have the same power that a major would have but majors don’t really have that much power anymore either in the rock world. Everybody’s out there doing their own thing and all you can do is build the best team that believes in you and supports you.

HTF: You’ve said in previous interviews that part of the split from Universal Republic was because the label were going more towards the pop music genre. Were you tempted to change your style as a band to keep the deal, or were you asked to change by anyone?

C: We were definitely asked to change, for sure. We were sent out to L.A. to write with a bunch of pop writers and we have some pretty embarrassing pop demos that most people will never hear but, at the end of the day, it just wasn’t us. We’re always willing to try new things and experiment, which you can hear on our records because we have different styles mixed in with the production, but at the same time there’s only so far you can go and only so far that we’re comfortable with going.

HTF: Were they trying to turn you more into Nickelback?

C: They were trying to take us WAY further than that…

HTF: Wow. Like, 5 Seconds Of Summer then?

C: Yeah, we wrote a song with that pop band 3OH!3 so it was a little bit electronic and like dance music.

Blower (guitarist and co-founder): Oh yeah, I remember that demo now…

C: Yeah…[laughs]

HTF: After the lineup and label change, were you ever tempted to give it all up?

C: We definitely had that conversation and it was in the back of minds as well, there’s always that possibility. But we weren’t sure what to expect, we thought we’d just take the chance. We thought we’d put it back together and if it doesn’t work, it’s okay. We tried. But we’re not done with this band yet, we’ve worked our entire adult lives on this band and we love it more than anything so we weren’t ready for it to go away. Luckily we made the right choice because it’s been going very well so far.

HTF: You have a lot of songs about partying so, do you tend to party on tour?

C: We definitely party too much. We’re probably getting too old to party as much as we do but when you get out on the road you get used to a routine and for us, partying is part of that routine. We like to keep things light-hearted and have fun. That’s what it’s about because when it’s not fun, it’s time to stop doing it.

B: It’s just the recovery time’s getting a little harsher, it takes a few more days.

HTF: Have there been any crazy party stories from this tour?

C: Nah, on this leg it’s been different because we’ve been in hotels so we meet back up at the end of the night and drink but we’re not in close proximity where we can just drink till we stumble into our bunk. We actually have to stay coherent enough to make it to a room. We want to be invited back so we’ve tried to keep it together.

HTF: You also have a lot of songs about girls, so how do UK girls match up to the ones back home?

C: Today we’ve been very very impressed. There are a lot of beautiful women in this city. We just saw one walking by with a Hinder tattoo on her back who was really nice looking so that was great to see.

HTF: Are you a fan of any UK celebrity women in particular?

C: I don’t know where she’s really from but Elizabeth Hurley has always been one of my favourites.

Mike (bass): Posh Spice. She’s fucking hot.

Ma: There’s this one…oh damn, what’s her name?

Mi: I’d say Keira Knightley as well. I’d fuck her too.

Ma: Emma Watson! That’s the one. But there’s another one I’ve been perving on lately but I can’t remember her fucking name. She was in that movie about Stephen Hawking, she played his wife. She’s not like super hot but there’s something about her. (FYI, he was talking about Felicity Jones)

HTF: The Pledge Music campaign you put together for this record has some unique fan experiences such as beer pong, a bar crawl and karaoke. Have you had any weird fan experiences yet from those yet?

C: Honestly, no. We had to cut that campaign short because the label felt some of the promotion was a little too much and was getting in the way of their promotion for the record. So we haven’t done a ton of it but we’re getting ready to do our last promotion, which is the pub-crawl. We’re doing it in our hometown so we’re having eight fans fly in and hang out for an evening so we’ll see how that goes. We might have some interesting stories from that…

HTF: As the band has been going for almost 15 years now, what was the original aim of the band when you first started? Did you plan to still be going this long?

B: I definitely didn’t expect it to last this long. [Laughs]

C: First starting out we didn’t really have any expectations. All you can do is hope and try your best. Once it all got going and the first song started to take off it was such a wild and fast wide, I don’t think we were thinking about anything. We were just partying and enjoying the whole thing. It’s been a crazy rollercoaster. In the last two years we’ve finally had time to slow our brains down and look at the past several years and really understand how lucky we’ve been.

HTF: When can we expect you back for another UK tour?

C: We’re really pushing to come back over for the summer festivals. Whether it’s going to happen or not, I’m not sure, but we’re trying. We said at the beginning of this album cycle that one of the main goals was to rebuild over here and getting over here was the first part, which we’ve finally accomplished. We want this to be the start of a new beginning for us here.

HTF: How long will we have to wait until the next album? Are you writing yet?

C: Right now we’re recording for a possible release of an acoustic EP. We’re not sure what’s going to be on it yet but we’ve started on a couple of the tracks from this new album, maybe a couple of old tracks, we did a cover song and then we may write a new song for it. The cool thing about it is all the songs are acoustic but completely different versions. They feel different, they sound different. They’re kinda like different songs.

HTF: That’s good because some artists just take the album’s vocals and put it over an acoustic version of the track and that’s it.

C: Yeah, we changed tunings, keys and the tempos are completely different.

Ma: The style of the songs is different.

HTF: Do you have any advice for upcoming artists?

C: Run. Run as fast as you can. Find something else to do. [laughs]

Ma: If you want to make money, do something else because the industry has got really bad. It’s hard to make money in all genres of music, especially with places like Spotify where everybody listens to your music and you don’t get paid anything. People just don’t buy albums that much anymore, only collectors buy them and everyone else gets their music for free or through streaming.

C: For real advice though, I’d say if you just want to do it for the music and the art of it, learn how to do everything yourself but do it well. Don’t just think you’re good at it, take the time to compare your stuff to your favourite bands and make sure that it’s on the same level. Get real honest opinions from other people apart from your Mom and your Aunts and Uncles. Sometimes your perspective can get a little skewed and you can think you’re a little better than you are. So learn how to do as many things as you can yourself.

HTF: Who do you tend to compare your music to?

C: We do it song by song when we’re in the studio, we compare mixes to other big mixers. We take songs from bands that have been mixed by mixers that we really like.

Ma: Not particularly because we like the song, basically.

C: Exactly. So we take songs that we really like the sound of and compare them side by side to make sure we’re in the ballpark.

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