Hush The Many (Heed The Few)
Jac Bond 07/04/2008
Thursday 27th March Hush the Many - full name Hush the Many (Heed the Few) - played the Barfly, Cardiff as part of their current UK headline tour. I met with Nima (Male Vocals, Guitar) Alex (Female Vocals, Bass) and the rest of the ever-evolving band members in the cosy confines of the Rummer Tavern to discuss their modest foundations, political views and the tormented soul of Mr. Blobby.
Kind of an obvious question but how did Hush the Many begin?
Nima: We met, and that was it. hahaha.
Where did you meet?
Alex: A friend of mine came down from Nottingham to visit and said come and see my mate play and it turned out to be Nima. We got on really well and I liked his songs. Initially I was just singing, a couple of months later Nima said 'do you wanna play bass? I've got bass' I was like 'I can't play bass!' he said come and have a go. After about 4 hours I played a gig.
Alex: Yeah, It was pretty rubbish.
Nima: It was actually pretty good. I was teaching her the guitar because Alex had never picked up the bass before. I was about to say all the little things that you would usually say to someone who's just picked up the guitar like 'with your left hand you need to do that' and every time I was about to say something it was like 'you might wanna…oh, you're already doing it.' Alex had it already; it was just natural.
Alex: I had played a bit of guitar before that, I mean my dad taught me about four chords when I was about 7. But that's all I'd ever done.
How did you meet the other band members?
Nima: We started off with just the two of us. We literally met up, recorded some music, and I had a gig so Alex came along and we sung together. We met up another time made a few more tunes, then had another gig and did it like that. So then there was a friend that I've been in a band with before called Ruben and he came and played guitar with us, a few months later we met a girl called Jo (Cello) and started playing as a four-piece. Slowly we started meeting loads of different people. One day we'd meet someone half an hour before the gig playing something and we'd be like do you wanna join us? We were just jumping in and not really not knowing how it was gonna sound, playing with loads of people and that's kinda how we're still doing it now.
Initially you were funded by an arts council, how did you manage that?
Nima: I was working with a mate of mine who started a project that you might have heard of called Mother and the Addicts which are based up in Glasgow. I was playing a little bit of guitar in the Chemical Underground studios and met a band called Sons and Daughters. I asked them how did they afford to be in the studio and they said they got an Arts Council Scotland grant to do their music. When I went back to London I was thinking I should probably look up that arts council thing. It just looked impossible; it looked like you'd have to write a thesis to get it, and so I gave up on it. About a year later I gave it another go and we (pointing to Alex) basically wrote the whole thing out. They funded our first tour and a year later they funded another.
Your first EP 'Mind the Sprawl' was recorded in Nima's bedroom, what equipment did you use?
Nima: It was a computer with a cracked version of Logic on it. I just had that and some other basic bits of kit. I was actually on the dole at the time and there's this fund where, in addition to the job seeking, they'll at one point give you ₤300 to buy yourself a suit, to kit yourself out to take to interviews. I just said 'to be honest there's not really any use in giving me a suit, but it would be really cool if you could give me a microphone to help me out with my music' they said I'd have an interview to discuss it. I went to the interview and said to the guy 'this is what I'll need to record a demo' he said 'well we normally just deal with CVs and stuff' then he (Nima leans back in his chair, adopting the interviewer's stance) just kinda lent back with his pen in his mouth and had a moment of feeling like a record company boss. He just looked at me and said 'I'll get you that microphone'. It was good, he felt really important, and he really helped me out. So we were both happy.
I didn't get that kind of treatment on JSA! I've read that you see yourselves firstly as a live band do you find it difficult recreating that live energy to record?
Nima: I think we're getting better at it to be honest. When you're first in the studio and the red light goes on it feels like 'Panic!' and you don't like really play relaxed.
Alex: It's difficult to get that live energy when you're all in different rooms with your headphones on. Until we recorded at SARM I never really heard anything that I thought reflected what we do, I'd never really enjoyed anything I heard back as much as playing. But on hearing the SARM recordings I think it reflects that live sound.
Did you find that when you played in a bedroom it was more of an organic approach?
Nima: Yeah it was a bit easier because it was fusing guitars and voices mainly and doing one instrument at a time. But that EP was the early days where we'd barely started and was all really chilled out, we have developed a lot more since then.
Who came up with the name Hush the Many (Heed the Few)?
Nima: Well it just popped into my head.
So who are the few that you think we should listen to?
Nima: (looks around) Everyone in this pub! Haha. Naa, it seems to be the case a lot at the moment where the people with the purse strings, the media with loud voices stirring up the pot, are not really the voices that help. Usually it's the sort of people that are trying to get on with their own thing, their peaceful harmonious lives, that have got the right ideas about things - but they're not the voices you hear on like some massive media headline going 'hunt this man now!' and all that kind of stuff. It's like (pulling a frustrated face) - 'Arrrgh!'
Do you think there's a lack of political thought in the current music scene?
Alex: I haven't come across that many musicians doing things currently that seem to know much about much.
Nima: It does seem quite narrow minded that people do music but don't know much about what's going on in the world.
You've had numerous glowing reviews ranging from broadsheets such as the Sunday Times through to music specialist websites like Drowned in Sound - which, if any, describes your work best?
Nima: Is this the bit where we blush? That's a tough question.
Alex: My friend Guy last night said 'I'd do a four word review 'waves of volcanic fireworks.'' That was cool.
Nima: It's quite weird though because we've changed a lot over time. I remember a few years ago things that would describe us really well then feel really out of date now. So I've seen reviews recently where some journalists have found some really old reviews and used that as a source, and you can kind of like tell when people are listening to what we're doing now.
What musicians do you listen to at the moment, do they inspire your songwriting or melodies?
Nima: (Smiking) I don't know, I'm never ever gonna answer this.
Do you draw any inspiration from any music, from the past?
Nima: I think keeping things evolving is really important. Being aware of stuff is good. I mean, for me I'm quite lazy, I tend to see things live a lot and not listening to records at home that much. You probably do both (referring to Alex).
Alex: I try and draw inspiration from that classic 'Mr. Blobby' (the irritating pink fuck from the early 90s) it drives me you know?
Nima: Hey he could be part of our set!
Alex: He had a hard life, you know, came from a difficult place.
Haha, yeah, a crinkly bottom. It states on your myspace page that HTM is 'a notion that is always evolving, shifting, and revolving band members' - what's the reasoning behind this unorthodox setup?
Nima: Keeps it fresh. Sometimes there's things that you can't do. For instance, the drummer who we've been playing with for the last 8 or 9 months he couldn't do this tour because he used to be in a band in Majorca and they were releasing their album. So you can either look at things like 'ahh we can't do it' or you can actually embrace the fact like, ok, we're gonna have to do it but in a different way this time, this part of the lineup will be different, or this person will be replacing that person on stage. It kinda switches things around. I think it's good for the audience as well.
The second single 'Revolve' is being released 7th April what's the song about?
Nima: Ahh that would ruin it for everyone! We've got an animation for the video and I think that when you watch it with the song they complete each other, so it might make more sense.
It's obvious from our chat that founding members Nima and Alex are the driving force in the band. While the other members are ever-evolving they remain the one constant. Seeing them live later that evening I felt encapsulated in the ever-developing sound. The current arrangement of Cello, Drums, Guitar and Bass in addition to the accompanying vocals of Nima and Alex result in richly-layered powerful music, which leaves a lasting impression.
The performance was so heartfelt that you could literally see the passion -Nima's fingers were bleeding after the set. I wasn't the only one who enjoyed the set with audience members approaching them to congratulate on the captivating performance.
Hush the Many are genuine people with a vibrant outlook on music, and life in general. They're aware of the powers that be and its influence on our media-controlled society. No politics overkill here, just subtlety that speaks volumes. Poetic, conscious and embracing. Success beckons.
Hush The Many's new single Revolve is out April 7th on Alcopop Records. Digitally on the 28th of April.
Video for Revolve