Interview: Getting to Know Hoy

Brigitte Bardot is the awesome new chic-pop single taken from Hoy’s forthcoming debut long-player. It prompted us to find out more about the Melbourne-based group, so here they are, in their own words:

Hoy are Liam Linley, Felicity Cripps and Cecilia Dowling. We’ve been playing music together for nearly six years. We write songs and lyrics as individuals or together, and combine them in Hoy, sometimes folding two halves of different songs, or re-writing a bridge to fit the character of our band. We hang out a lot too, because we’re good friends, and it’s just as well. We recently spent 20 hours in a car together over two days. Things happen when you’re locked in a small cabin for hefty lengths of time, and you need to be able to look at each other and think – ‘yeah, you’re alright’, otherwise you’re stuffed. The band is more than just the three of us; we have another three musicians who play in our six-piece, and we also have a producer and session musicians who invisibly contribute to every replay of an Aquaslum song.

Brigitte Bardot is our current single release off our forthcoming debut album, Aquaslum. Brigitte Bardot is a tune that came together in France a few years ago. On the plane to Europe we watched, ‘Gainsbourg’, and the scenes with Brigitte Bardot, in all her feminine power, inspired the song. The song gained a film clip this year, when the Dodgy Brothers, Campbell Hynam-Smith and Tim Heath, requested our presence at the Newstead Butter Factory. We ran around in the dark for hours, the cold peaking at two degrees, nipped on whiskey to stay warm, tried to learn a coordinated dance, and wound up playing ping-pong with the wall.

Our forthcoming debut album will be known as Aquaslum, and it will contain nine tracks that make you think about lost warm places (the heart in love), cold desolate places to come (the tram stop in winter), warm happy times ahead (the pancake parlour), and harsh barren lands of old (empty video cassette covers). Aquaslum will represent the result of many years playing together, culminating in a fit of creativity, facilitated by a grant from Victoria Rocks, and pummelled into life by our excellent producer, Pip Norman (aka Countbounce). It will conjure up the vast Victorian goldfields that surrounded our recording space in a converted church, and it will give you the sense that this is only the beginning.

hoyWe spend too much time catching up with each other – downloading the face gossip. It’s usually a couple of days since we’ve seen each other so there are infinite stories to tell. These days we meet half an hour before rehearsal to get the catching-up out of the way. We spend too much time developing in-jokes. In fifty years time we’ll have so many in-jokes there won’t be room for real conversation, and no one else will have any idea what we’re on about. We also spend too much time identifying chicken/egg situations. And we spend too much time locating and attending late night pancake parlours. There is one in almost every city, but sometimes you need inside information to find it. We once nearly missed the ferry to Helsinki because we were too busy eating pancakes at the Lido in Estonia.

Melbourne is a second home for most of us, apart from one, who was born here and has still not managed to escape. Most Hoy members originate from country Victoria. We head out the highway often, to stay with respective families in beautiful places like Bermagui. So Melbourne is the hub of happenings, delivering on the arty, sporty, watery, foody side of things. There was a statistic hurled somewhere a few years ago that said more people attend classical music gigs in Melbourne than attend football. Impossible! But there are a lot of people over 60 in Melbourne, and old people are people too. The audience for all forms of art is bountiful here, maybe because the art forms are so bountiful, or does audience beget art? It’s a chicken/egg situation. Meantime, our Melbourne weeks are split between gigs, rehearsals, swimming pools, riding bikes, running on the Merri Creek, footy, netball, soccer (we’re a bunch of jocks). Melbourne is also obsessed with paraphernalia dedicated to collective nouns, and has undergone miraculous transformations since the 40s, when you couldn’t get a pizza, and everyone had to paint their cars black so they would be invisible to enemy bombers at night.

It might surprise you to learn that people always accuse us of being brothers and sisters, but we’re not related – nor are we lovers. The other surprising thing is that some famous composer or physicist (one or the other – can’t remember who), decided to learn violin at 60, and by the time he was 80 he considered himself half decent, so it turns out you actually can teach an old dog new tricks.

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Interview by Bobby Townsend