Band of the Week #0072 - Hobby Club
This week’s Band of the Week is cheerful jangle-pop duo Hobby Club, who today have released the debut EP ‘Video Days’ via Manchester label Heist or Hit. We had a chat with the band about the release.
Your EP ‘Video Days’ is out now, what does the title mean to you when it comes to the release?
Video Days is the name of my favourite skate video. It features Mark Gonzales, the most liberated and experimental mind in the sport, and the childlike wonder he lives and breathes keeps me inspired to this day. I think by naming it after that piece of majesty I am trying to tap back into the warm glow of nights spent worrying only about how to be as cool as Gonzales himself, and secretly wishing I could ignore all my responsibilities to go watch my battered copy of The Empire Strikes Back instead.
You are from Manchester, what is your favourite thing about it?
Another victim falls to our heinous plan to confuse all music press to our actual location deep in the centre of the Earth. I live in Barrow-in-Furness and Beth lives in London, hence the geographically confused aspect of our existence - if you look up those places on the road atlas, you’ll see that it’s quite a nice physical midpoint between the two of us.
Manchester is my cultural touchstone, basically the closest place to me where the music wasn't absolute tripe. The Buzzcocks were the second band I ever saw live in the building that now houses my studio. It’s also a post-industrial city, which resonated with me deeply. The soot-covered bricks and constant raining make it my home from home and I like to think the reverberated, slightly industrial drums in the EP are because of that beautiful city.
What is your go-to-venue for live music in Manchester?
I only ever saw one band there but the Mint Lounge was an amazing venue. It was such a great atmosphere and the music seemed to carry on endlessly through the night. I liked the Eagle Inn (or the Oil Lamp if you’re that taxi driver that refuses to acknowledge that we live in the future) in Salford as well, pretty sure Paul Heaton used to own it but maybe not.
It is easy to start using words like The Beach Boys and Kate Bush when it comes to your music, but what sort of music or artists do you listen to?
My undying love of Brian Wilson means I am contractually obliged to mention him at every given opportunity and I am not sorry; more specifically, The Beach Boys’ Today! is one of the best albums going. The strange and heartfelt are in bed together in this album, swinging from Brian's weird incestuous love of his step sister to the understated beauty of lying in bed wondering if somebody has ever dreamt about you. I have a deep rooted love of Manchester music since I first heard Love Will Tear Us Apart when I was 13 (couldn't be more of a cliche if I tried). The sparse emptiness of Unknown Pleasures reminded me of my hometown and that was my gateway. Once I hit Johnny Marr and realised he was channeling my jangly babes in The Byrds, I never looked back. Shoutout to Elephant Stone for having the perfect guitar intro for my ears. I got into the UK jangles more, with bands like The Housemartins, The Wedding Present and Orange Juice being some of my favourites. Edwyn Collins of Orange Juice said that he always went out of his way to use unconventional chords in his songs and that always resonated with me.
Beth doesn’t talk about her music taste because she’s one of those irritating people who, when asked what music she likes, responds “everything”. She’s always evangelising about Arthur Russell, though.
Any surprises we should know about?
Beth has gills and is perfectly adapted for life in the Indian Ocean. She also has extensive knowledge of public service broadcast videos, and I play as an interdimensional nihilist in my friend’s D&D campaign.
How did your band start?
We met at university and played in bands together until it spiraled into just the two of us forming Hobby Club. Here we repurposed the band into some kind of stressful therapy session, which we use to try and cope with the strange and confusing experiences we must all experience in our day to day lives.
The Manchester label ‘Heist or Hit’ are releasing this EP, how did that partnership come about?
Me and Beth supported Her's at the waiting room a few years back because Stephen and Audun are the best people and asked if we could play, then the beautiful babes of Heist liked what they saw and wanted to work with us.
What inspires your lyrics when it comes to songwriting?
Beth writes all the lyrics but I get to have a little say in the themes, usually by explaining my mindset during a specific period of writing but sometimes just demanding it be about a school disco or something. Often we tend to be inspired by the minutiae of what surrounds us, like a bad train ride or a feeling of anxiety at a party. Joe Strummer always said to write about what you know and I always tried to get that across to Beth. Beth often has reservations about being, as she puts it, 'self indulgent' and writing about herself or me, but in the end we think (or at least hope) that we sing about relatable slices of existence.
Now the EP is out, what are your plans?
We want to travel into everybody's neck of the woods to sample their carbs, hopefully make them laugh and forget about social obligations and whatever stresses they are feeling, and simply have a pleasant time.