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Backstage with James from Hadouken at Rockness 2010

Fresh from a Storming Set on the Clash Tent stage James from Hadouken joined me in the luxury of the press Green Room to discuss the here the now and the future of Hadouken

Hadouken! are an English new rave  band. They originally formed in Leeds, West Yorkshire after James Smith and Daniel "Pilau" Rice met at the University of Leeds. It was here they began their own record label, Surface Noise Records. 

After forming the label, Smith began writing and demoing the first Hadouken! tracks. In February 2007, Hadouken! self-released a two song limited edition vinyl, a double-a side of "That Boy That Girl" and "Tuning In". The former gained popularity after the video made it to number one in MTV Two's NME Chart.

The Interview

Nic B-C:   So what do you see as your main influence, obviously the Prodigy are right up there but you are bringing in a lot more with background keyboard and the whole bands basic energy.

James:  A lot of people would say that the obvious one is the Prodigy but for me like, especially on the last album, The Chemical Brothers, portions of which like we practically ripped off, then theres Leftfield and Underworld, in fact all of those guys from that era, you know 90s dance superstars who did it live are all huge influences on us. Its kind of pretty equal the way we see it!

Nic B-C:  Does Alison (keyboards) have a large input into the direction and sound of your music?

James:  Yep Alisons good, I do a lot of the writing for the studio and it gets laid down live but a lot of her influences like Eric morillo, when i first met her, and she still likes a lot of the Strokes type stuff like the Excess are her big band at the moment. A lot of the bands we listen to at the moment don't come out in the music but we are still all just big musos really.

Nic B-C:  How much influence does each member of the band have then?

James:    Its funny that in the studio its just more of a studio thing but like you know everyone brings their certain kind of element to the live really but you know like Chris chic chic chic and funky bass heavy bands then like Pilaus likes hardcore like black Flag and stuff but that might come out more in performances but it doesn't really make it to record.

Nic B-C:   How do you feel about your audiences in general as I notice there's a lot more people singing along now at live performances?

James:   Yeah exactly we had a huge surge at the start but I don't know if we kind of kept that. But i feel now we are building it more organically just like every single time. Like we went out on to that stage today and there's like 800 to a thousand people kicking about and by the end there were like triple that.

Nic B-C:   Yeah there were easily 3000 possibly many more!

James:   Yeah and that's the way you see it like there's nothing you can do if no one wants to turn up at the start but if you end up with three times as many than when you started then you are doing something right rather than ending up with half as many which is a loss.

Nic B-C:   Yeah I noticed with your signature tracks each time one was played you had a surge through the doors! So do you see yourselves moving off in any other directions musically or staying with a tried and tested formulae?

James:   I think we have to yeah, I don't think we can stay in the same position and always be up there!

Nic B-C:   Even though the Prodigy have managed too?

James:  That's the kind of thing though! I don't know like even the fact that they have come back now doesn't. they were kind of retrogressive and went back to the old school breakbeat hardcore but I don't think we can make an album which could be as heavy but I think we can make a more danceable album and I think that's what we need to aim for.

Nic B-C:  Do you see any collaborations coming up?

James:   I think there may be a few and we may even get a few more band members hopefully something to take it into a new direction and maybe take it a little further!, hopefully something to take it into a new direction and maybe take it a little further?

Nic B-C:  A female vocalist maybe?

James:  Yep you may have been reading my mind!
I think it could work financially with the kind of rave dancy element and a female singer can really work in that situation and take it to a different territory cos I'm just not keen to cover the same ground twice to be fair and I think that could work quite nicely and I think that might take it to more of a mainstream territory without kind of selling out.

Nic B-C:  On the mainstream thing you have been kind of lucky beacause you've now got a second generation of radio 1 coverage!

James:   Yeah exactly

Nic B-C:  You got it two years ago and now you are getting it again!

James:  They've been so good to us an in fact they have been the reason that we are selling more tickets than ever and certainly with the album sales its doing it.

Nic B-C:   Was this mainly with Zane Lowe?

James:  Zane Lowe, I mean the whole daytime thing really big and Annie Mac has been good!  All of them have been wicked you know you cant find fault with them and Grimshaws been particularly good, yeah radio1 we've got a lot of love for those guys!

Nic B-C:   Yeah they've certainly been pushing a lot of bands like yourselves and then the folky stuff like Mumford and Sons and Stornoway etc...

James:  Yeah what I really respect about Radio 1 is the fact that yeah they put the daytime stuff on and they can't dilly dally and have to put the chart big hitters on, yet at the same time they support a lot of British Music which is brilliant and they also support a lot of fringe music on the evening shows so I think it's a massive institution and if we ever lost the BBC I think we would be in a bad position.

Nic B-C:   Yes there's been lots of change recently and they have bought a lot more younger DJs to the fore and they seem very keen to talent hunt as well.

James:  Yeah exactly you have to keep supporting the music they are the reason the industry can continue I think as its certainly not record sales, its people like radio 1, hopefully MTV as well if they continue pushing us.

Nic B-C:  So what do you see as the next Hadouken thing then or are you just going to build on what you are doing at the minute?

James:  Yeah well we are basically writing the third album now so we just want that to be finalised. i don't know where its going to go we have a few directions and we will adjust our lives and see how it goes and just keep doing the live shows and we will be fine.

Nic B-C: Are there any sort of side projects going on or are you just going to be keeping it pretty tight?

James:   Not really, we will be doing a bit of production here and there as a bit of a hobby but we are really getting stuck into Hadouken side of things really as you've just got to try and stay hardcore.

Nic B-C:  So its certainly semed to work for me and certainly seemed to work for well over 3000 here today and long may it continue to grow.

James:  Yeah, thanks very much and nice to meet you too!!

Hadouken! are:

James Smith - Lead Singer, Alice (Alison) Spooner - Keyboard, Daniel "Pilau" Rice - Guitar, Chris Purcell - Guitar, Nick Rice - Drummer

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Interview Info

Nic B-C
Interview with:
15th June 2010
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