Questions asked by Jon Wilde, added to Rock Realms 27th July 2010.
The Hacks is a three-piece band hailing from the south west of England. Formed in 2009, their music has been described as ‘punk & roll’, "mixing 50s and 60s inspired guitar work with high-energy rhythms for a unique sound that delivers both live and on record".
Bass player and lead vocalist Tom answers questions on the band's behalf.
Hi Guys, thanks for taking a moment to answer these questions. Hope you are well?
Tom: Yeah good thanks.
Can you give us a brief history of The Hacks – who you are, how you formed etc...?
Tom: We met at university when we were all playing in different bands and were mates for ages before we decided to form The Hacks. Basically we all wanted to make the same sort of music so we just did it.
How did the band’s name come about?
Tom: I wish I could tell you there was some profound reasoning behind it, but there just isn't. The problem is, rock & roll has been around for about 60 years now and all the good names are taken already aren't they?
You know what sort of music the band was going to play right from the start?
Tom: Yeah actually we did. We spoke about exactly what type of sound we wanted to go for and we've stuck to it so far.
How would you describe the sound of the band to someone who hadn’t heard you before?
Tom: We basically play rock & roll as fast as we can. It sounds like fast rock or punk but we throw in bits of surf guitar and rockabilly riffs to make it sound different. We have tried doing a couple of slow ones, but we got bored of them pretty quickly so now it's all fast ones.
Did you start playing covers, or have you always been an originals band?
Tom: We did a couple but we got bored of playing them as well!
Who or what would you list as your main influences?
Tom: Bands that played fast and with tons of energy. The Ramones, Beatles, The Who, Descendents, Motorhead, The Living End, Gram Parsons...
What is the music scene like in Plymouth and does it help or hinder what you do?
Tom: It's okay. There are some great bands from Plymouth, Crazy Arm in particular are amazing, but we could do with a few more people coming to gigs cos the venues always seem to go bankrupt.
When did you start work on your self-titled EP, and how long did it take to complete?
Tom: We had four days at Real world Studios in Box. In that time we mainly ate pizza and smoked fags.
Is there a single story behind the songs on the album, or are they all standalone tracks?
Tom: I think we just demoed about ten songs and chose seven for the EP. They are not connected really. We just wanted the EP to be as unpretentious as possible, so it's definitely not a concept record. Most of the songs are about girls, but one of the tracks, Stand Down, was written about how our guitarist tried to pick a fight with someone and then got so scared that he ended up cowering in a hedge.
How does the writing process in The Hacks work? How would a typical song be created?
Tom: Most of our songs are written in the same way. One of us will come up with a little riff first and if it sounds good then we'll cobble together some melody and a few words.
Do you do anything special in the studio to get your sound, or are you quite a ‘traditional’ band?
Tom: There's nothing added at all really so what you hear on record is basically just what we sound like. We like quite a stripped down sound and vintage guitar tones so there's no need to mess with it really. I think that's called keeping it real.
Do you enjoy the whole studio/creative experience, or do you prefer playing on stage?
Tom: We just love playing music. It doesn't matter if it's in the studio or live or in rehearsal or whatever.
Are you planning a big tour on the back of the EP release?
Tom: We'll be on the road for a bit and then we're going to go back to working towards a full-length record that we'll be making next year.
What is one of your live shows like? What should fans expect from one of your performances?
Tom: It all depends on how drunk we are and how many valiums our drummer has taken before we go on stage. We play fast and our songs are all quite short so we can bang out about a dozen numbers in half-an-hour. Hopefully it's exciting and different to what people normally hear. I'd hate for our live show to be boring.
What are you up to once you’ve finished answering these questions?
Tom: It's my birthday so I'm going to drink some scotch and act like a dick.
Anything else you would like to mention?
Tom: Yeah, thanks for featuring us on your website – it's rad.
Thanks again to Tom for his time. The debut EP from The Hacks - On Record With...The Hacks - is out on August 16, 2010.