Hard Fi Interview
Before their hotly anticipated second album is released we chatted to the Surburban Knights.
A lot of things have happened in the last 2 years, Hard Fi frontman Richard Archer told MTV when we sat down recently.
Hes not wrong. The group very nearly won the Mercury Prize with their number 1 album Stars Of CCTV which spawned massive singles Hard To Beat, Cash Machine and Living For the Weekend.
Theyve also toured the world playing to 57,000 at V Festival and selling out 5 nights at Brixton Academy. Weve sold a million records- we are a bit wiser, drummer Steven Kemp says.
But the event that singer Rich is alluding to has influenced their second album Once Upon A Time In The West more than the huge success. A lot of stuff has gone down. A lot of dreams have come true but personally Ive had some terrible times, he exclusively told MTV.co.uk.
Archers mother died suddenly just before Hard Fis debut was released and he admits to channelling much of this into Once Upon: This album was the first time I could sort things out in my head- maybe it is some kind of process for dealing with it.
Whereas Stars Of CCTV was more carefree and immediate these sad events have influenced the groups more recent songwriting. The record is definitely more introspective and darker, says Rich.
If on the first album we were listening to Daft Punk- this time we were listening to Massive Attack, he told us. There was always gonna be a downbeat feel.
The Staines band have recently announced a tour of 1,000 capacity venues in unusual places. (SEE THE DATES HERE)
We wanted to make our live thing special. Were playing interesting venues because we wanna make history rather than money, Archer says.
Among the highlights of the past two years were five shows at Brixton Academy where they had very special guests: We could have played two at Wembley, says Rich. But I was onstage with Paul Weller, Mick Jones and Billy Bragg.
Despite some grandiose string and brass arrangements the influence of The Jam and The Clash can still be heard on current single Surburban Knights.
Its still Hard Fi, says the thirty year old frontman. Theyre in the DNA of this band. We had strings and brass on the last album too but they were out of a box.
For Once Upon A Time In The West the band revamped their own recording studio and former cab office though Steven rubbishes thoughts that it was a luxury: We didnt have running water for the first three months! he says.
Despite working in the same studio and working with their old producer they did bring in Oasis and The Spice Girls maestro Mark Spike Stent.
The mixing this time was different. Rich told MTV. On the first record wed go and listen to in a bedroom a pub or a club. This time we had Spike mixing it. We still listened to it in a car though, thats the ultimate test.
Once Upon A Time In The West Is Out September 3