Northern Transmissions chatted with Daniel Lee of Hooded Fang on the eve of their upcoming England tour.
NT: Your new album “Tosta Mista” is a pretty quick follow up, what’s it been nine months since your debut “Album”?
DL: Yeah. We were pretty excited; it’s just a fun record. We just wanted to put it out pretty fast. In the time that we put out the first record, we started two side projects that are more punk oriented. So we just wanted to do something more fun and a little grittier.We just finished it, and we thought we should just put it out right away. We also didn’t want people to think that we were just going to do that other sound, because we have lots of other interests that we wanted to explore.
NT: Have you guys been surprised by how much attention you’re getting in the music blogosphere?
DL: I guess so. We didn’t know it was going to happen, but we’re always striving to compound development into bigger things. Reception has been really good, especially over in England, we have a friend that has a label over there that has been getting us lots of attention for our record. We’re just thankful that people like it and we get to go around playing it. It’s definitely not something to complain about. Anything that helps us to keep on playing music, and doing what we love to do is helpful. Its funny how it works, a lot of it is industry related. There are lots of amazing bands out there that never get any
press, maybe because it’s not sent out properly or they don’t have the right team around them. It’s really dependent on a process on how the music is put out there and who’s working with you and supporting your music. We’ve been really lucky with that. It’s a weird world, the press world.
NT: The video for “Vacationnation” is pretty great. Who did it?
DL: That was done by Patrick Kyle who is a Toronto artist. He does comic books and art. He’s part of a collective called Wowee Zonk. I’m really into his comics, he has one called “Black Mass” which I drool over. I just called him out of the blue, and said “I love your shit, you wanna work together? He just came up with that awesome video, and he’s also doing the artwork for our next album. I’m really psyched, he’s a really good artist.
www.patrickkyle.com is his website.
NT: What were some of the influences on the new album?
DL: I was listening to a lot of old Joe Meek stuff. We have some friends in California in a band called Tanjia that we really love, they influence us a lot. With the punk music we’re into, we’re just trying to meld it together. It was kind of a production and recording experiment. Also we’re just trying to write songs that are immediately catchy. You know how lyrics in old love songs and doo-wop tunes are ones that anyone can relate to? I wanted to write songs like that, that you could play in a band or just with a guitar that people could sing along to, or just something that people could grab on to.
NT: Who did the artwork on your album?
DL: The initial concept was by Eric Woodhead, and then the font was done by Dougie Kerr, who’s an old time sign painter, he did our first album’s artwork. The masks were redone by Elixer who is a legendary Toronto graffiti artist. It was sort of collaboration, they all did their separate parts, and then we stuck them all together.
NT: Was starting Dash Records something you felt you had to do to get your side projects out?
DL: We’ve been self releasing our own material for a while. We’ve mainly used it for tape releases and other minor releases, but recently we’ve been ramping it up and we’re trying to make it a viable business and a good platform for artists. We’ve got a tight family, we’ve just released “Close Friends” music that we really respect and there’s a lot of collaboration going on. We’re really excited because we have a lot of releases that are really strong ranging from like dance/electro stuff to sludgy punk rock. So it’s going to be a good year.
NT: What’s happening with your side projects?
DL: We’ve just released a side project on our record label called Phedre. It’s me and April and a friend of our Doldrums. It’s more of a studio thing where we record it and have fun with it. We made one video and released it a few weeks ago and it got a crazy amount of youtube hits, it got posted on one influential blog, and it was the fastest thing to get international recognition that I’ve ever worked on. It’s kind of funny the whole scenario. You’ve got a band that amazing that has been toiling for years and nothing happens, and then there’s something else that’s not even a real band, and then suddenly
all these people around the world are into it. After a while, we just take it as it comes, we don’t really believe anything until it actually happens. You can’t get too caught up in the industry machine, even though it’s a really important part of what you do.
NT: Are you surprised that so many young bands are starting their own labels, doing the DIY thing?
DL: No, it makes a lot of sense. If you just create the motion for yourself, people see that, that you’re working hard, and that you’re in it for the right reasons, and then it grows exponentially. And now there’s a pretty good forum to be able to do that on your own, like you can send your CV’s to places, you can book your own tours. It’s all good to know how to do that stuff too, if you know all the ins and outs of the business it’s only going to help you