Indietracks interview #16: The Hobbes Fanclub

Hobbes Paris


The Hobbes Fanclub are set to release their much anticipated first album, ‘Up at Lagrange’, on August 14th on Shelflife Records.  Andy Fog of Ideas has had a listen and asked them a few questions in advance of their appearance at Indietracks 2014.

Firstly, before the interview, I must say what an impressive LP ‘Up at Lagrange’ is. I had high expectations for this album and frequent repeated preview listens make it apparent Hobbes Fanclub haven’t just met those expectations, they’ve exceeded them.  The band have never sounded so immense.  The songs sweep, soar, chime, jangle, ring and roar.  It’s a quality item.

I made a collage of our favourite bands
To say I love you
I knew you’d understand’

Fog:  Hobbes Fanclub, please explain who you are, what you do and maybe why?
We’re three people from Bradford, possibly the only people into indiepop in our fair city as far as we know. We like songs with boy/girl vocals over fuzzy guitars, and are big fans of gingham button down collars and polo shirts. V necked jumpers are good too.
Adam: Why do we do it? I don’t know any better!

Fog: This is your second time playing Indietracks, I understand the festival has a special significance for the band (unless I’m mixing you up with somebody else)?
Leon: Well I’ve been coming since 2010 so I’ll have been to over half after this year. It’s just a really special place and group of people. Playing the church last time was pretty emotional actually, it was definitely the most intense gig we’ve played. When we knew we were going to play again this year we were all agreed we’d love to play the shed stage this time and luckily we got our wish.
Adam: The first time we played was also my first visit to Indietracks. I had the time of my life.
Leon: He did.

Fog:  And as well as playing Indietracks, 2014 also sees the release of your first LP, what’s it called? And when’s it out? And who’s putting it out?  And will you have copies to sell at Indietracks? If so, how much?
Leon: It’s called Up At Lagrange and is out on 19th August on Shelflife Records. We’re proud to be on such an excellent label with bands like The Garlands and The Fireworks, and The Holiday Crowd who are a favourite of mine. We’ll definitely have CDs which we’ll be bringing to Indietracks and we’re keeping our fingers crossed the vinyl will be here too. We don’t know what to charge to be honest, we’re rubbish at that side of things. I might just ask John Jervis to decide.
Adam: The album sounds amazing and I couldn’t be more proud. And it’s entirely homemade too. It took its time coming but it was worth the wait I’d say.
Leon: Yeah I decided to produce it myself so we’d have complete control over how it sounded and, like Adam, I’m well proud of it.

Fog: What does the title of the LP refer to?
Adam: No idea!
Leon: I nicked the phrase from the book of 2001: A Space Odyssey. A Lagrange point is a celestial mechanics thing where a body is being pulled equally by a moon and a planet so that it remains in the same spot relative to both. I liked the idea of being pulled in different directions but going nowhere, or having conflicting desires, but mostly I just thought it sounded cool.

Fog: I bet that LP has some killer artwork…
Ha! The cover is by a certain Andy Hart, who totally got what we were aiming for when we described what was in our heads. I really love it and I think it complements the songs on the album perfectly.
Adam: It certainly does. He’s a talented fella is the lad who drew it, whoever he is.

Up at Lagrange

Fog: Yes, the artwork definitely suggests the artist offers very competitive rates and has a level of versatility that means he could respond confidently to the most demanding of design briefs… um, so, what are you each looking forward to- other than playing- at this year’s festival or are you being helicoptered in 5 minutes before your set and flown straight out again after?
Adam: I ain’t being flown in, I’m driving down in my new Skoda, it’s a cracker. Personally I’m looking forward to the camp site disco tent again, the best disco I’ve ever visited, that. I’m also looking forward to chatting to the lads working on the train too, great guys.
Leon: Me and Adam will be there all weekend again. As I’ve got to know more and more people who attend, I really look forward to the Friday night, catching up outside the shed. That and just lying on the grass drinking it all in. Band wise I can’t wait to see Night Flowers, Thee Ahs, Linda Guilala and The Thyme Machine.
Louise: It’s just a day trip for me sadly so I’ll squeeze in as much as I can!

Fog: If you could pick any band living or deceased to play Indietracks anywhere on the bill on a stage of your choice who’ve never played previously, which band would each of you pick and on what stage and at what time?
It’s an impossible question, but I’ll go for Kirsty MacColl, in the shed, on Saturday night.
Adam: Ramones. Wouldn’t give a shit which stage or what time, it’d just be amazing to see ‘em. I saw everyone else I wanted to before they snuffed it or split but sadly never got the chance with The Ramones. Boo hoo!
Louise: Hole (circa early ’90s). Sometime after dark.

Fog: Are there any surprises in store for your 2014 Indietracks performance- a brass band, a fly past by the Red Arrows, a well-timed scissor kick, perhaps you plan to take the audience on a journey into brutal free jazz- or will it be the usual brand of cool charismatic understatement from the band as you done kick out the big rousing POP! tunes?
The Red Arrows were booked at Todmorden summer fayre so it will be just us, positively oozing charisma.
Adam: Depending on the temperature I may play with my shirt off. Indiepop’s answer to Lars Ulrich.

Fog: Any requests from you to the audience?   
Louise: Do dance. Or shuffle a bit. Or even a nod of the head.
Adam: Please don’t be scared of me! I’ve been known to lose my rag on stage but only with sound guys who decide they need to sabotage the set or cut it short. I’m a decent lad, honest. And I proper love the audience, especially the dancers!
Leon: Yeah don’t be shy, come to the front and dance. Like Adam says, we only swear when it’s absolutely justified, and never in front of the kids.