Hilary and the Hate Crimes. A Back and Forth Interview.

It’s a cracker!

Hello Hilary and the Hate Crimes, welcome to the Clunk Universe.

Please tell us who does what in the band and how you folks got together.

1989, a sofa in Barrow-in-Furness Sixth Form College. I sat down next to the goth hiding behind dirty black dreads. We got talking, he gave me a punk mix tape, we formed a band. I was useless, we split up.

1990s, Leeds 6. The streets were crawling with muggers and wallpapered with gig posters. The people were sexy, hilarious, elitist, mostly drunk. We formed a thousand bands. It was heaven.

2013, a sofa at a party in Leeds 6. Hilary from Cowtown told me she’d started drumming. We talked about Rumble by Link Wray, the only instrumental ever banned in the US. We formed Hilary and the Hate Crimes on the day Thatcher died.

Interesting band name. Please explain how that came about. Were there any other names thrown in and what were they?

Somebody said ‘Hilary and the Hate Crimes’ and it couldn’t be unsaid. Why don’t we get more shit for it? I’m straight white man, very unlikely to be the victim of hate crime and probably deserving of more abuse for being in a band with such a stupid name. Alliteration is the only excuse.

Liking the artwork for the album ‘Things can only get worse’ and for the EP ‘Away in a stranger’. Who is the artist and what’s it all about?

The cover is by the German Expressionist Otto Dix. His art is very ugly, some of it quite horrific. I believe in ugliness in music too, it’s an underrated quality. We wanted the album to look like it sounds.

It’s a cracking album. Which is your favourite song on the album and why? The cover of the classic ‘Shaking all over’ is great but how come you chose to do it, fans of Johnny Kidd?

I was bedridden withnorovirus, drifting in and out of consciousness in front of YouTube videos. A sinister Elvis impersonator in black leather gloves came shuffling towards me, yelping out Shakin All Over. Vince Taylor, trampling on the Johnny Kidd version. A few minutes later, as I was throwing up, I imagined it pared back, slowed down, uglified. Unlike most plans conceived in the toilet bowl, it actually worked.

Recording the album nearly finished the band. We stopped gigging, the guy who recorded it disowned it, I gave up bass and the album sat abandoned on my hard drive for over a year. Eventually I listened to it again and thought it had something. We came back to life. Lisa plays bass now, so I can just sing/bark/mutter.

What are the plans for 2020? Tour? Trip to Carlisle? Festivals? Holiday in the sun?

We are not planners. We have a gig at Sounds from the Other City in Manchester on May 2nd.

Here at Clunk HQ in the last week or so we have been listening to, apart from you folks, the Fat White Family, Beak, Bilge Pump, ILL, Marblmoon, Woman You Stole and Working Men’s Club. What have you folks been listening to? Anything to recommend?

The last gig Stephen (guitarist) and I went to together was Bartok’s opera Bluebeard’s Castle. Opera is a very ugly art form and Bluebeard’s Castle is about a sadistic wife-killer so it works.

This week I’ve been listening to Richard Dawson’s new album, 2020. On paper it is dreadful – prog-influenced folk rock, but in your ears it is magnificent. The lyrics use the banality of everyday language in a way that’s utterly compelling. Also on the decks/headphones this week: the chilly melancholy of Cate le Bon, OOIOO’s Japanese take on Krautrock, Snowy’s apocalyptic grime and The Fall. I still don’t know what I like about The Fall, or indeed why anyone should like them, but they are never far from my ears.

Thanks for taking the time with Clunk. It’s a cracking record and we look forward to seeing you somewhere in 2020.

You can listen and purchase here


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