Local duo Hobosexual has just released their second album, handily titled II. Armed with only a guitar and a drum kit, the Seattle-based band manages to get a lot out of a little (check out the deep dark drag of “The Black Camaro Death” or the jean jacket swagger of “Sex Destroyer” for a heaping dose of “see what I mean?”) And did I mention it’s a concept album? Yeah, well, it’s complicated. On the approach of their big CD release show at Neumos on Friday, I talked with head Hobo honcho Ben Harwood about what it all means.
So... concept album huh? Yes. Did you listen to it yet?
I did! I'm detecting some obvious Bon Jovi and Skid row influences on a couple of the tracks. Not familiar with either of those bands other than by name, but it's true, we are definitely aiming to revive some serious ass rock with Hobosexual II.
The 80's were a pretty lousy time for concept albums, according to Wikipedia. Any recommended 80's concept albums you could stack alongside this one? And don't say Operation Mindcrime. Not really. The entire point of this was a retro-futuristic exploration of a feeling/idea about a certain time. The album wasn’t about making a literally defined 80's concept staple, it was more about an interpersonal exploration of an idea of a time, a memory in childhood of a time that i now look back on and envy. I remember there was a lot more mystery, personally defined senses of self among adults felt different. You know what I'm getting at? Like if you can't look everything up in 3 seconds or reference 999 pop culture feeds a second via the internet. There's a lot more of a sense of mystery, of beliefs personally held, or within a group, town, etc and all that translates to a vibe, a way of being that's not plugged into the "self" but more into that bigger picture strata of pop culture icons. Am I making any sense?
You're translating both the slowness and loudness of youth against the textures of today. I realize any adult that lived through that era probably considers a lot of it a low point compared to today's "freedoms", instant access to information, etc., but in reality it's just another, smarter level of social manipulation. And how can anyone be happy when they're so plugged in, they're not even living their own lives or within the basic creative tenants of their own minds?
It's a tough balancing act. We have it all, and yet we have nothing when it comes to these sorts of things. I realized the same thing going through a few notebooks from 1995 the other day. A lot more is said and taken away in a face to face conversation than an email [or] a text... And to me, it's not a balancing act because as soon as you fall into the current cycle we call our waking daily technologically driven lives, you lose creativity completely. [But] if you like the record, it means at minimum I was able to come back with and maybe even tap into something that we share in common. That's the exciting part for me is potential to wake something up in someone if only for a minute, maybe get them to catch that vibe.
I do like the album. The sound of your music is a lot larger this time out even though you're still just two guys. How much of that is drummer Jeff Silva and how much of that is studio magic? It's actually both. We worked a ton on creating more open space in the drums to maximize sonic punch and use of space, with Jeff deliberately going more Phil Rudd. He also slammed the holy hell out of the snare and kick. Additionally, we came up with a very careful and fairly unique approach to recording and isolating the drums without bleed from other instrumentation. This allowed us to crank any part of the kit we wanted in mixing without worry of a stray guitar in an overhead or kick drum mic etc. i wont bore you with the details on it, but it half combined the early “Mutt” Lange approach to kit isolation with a rather adjunct Phil Ek approach to the room and miking. In the end, we got maximum punch and a ridiculous amount of headroom to play with.
I have no idea what any of that means. Hey, here's a dumb question to close things out. I know you're a big Sylvester Stallone fan. What do you think his worst smelling movie is? I don't mean the worst film overall, but in which film did he play his worst smelling character? Oh, man, that's a golden question I don't have a golden answer to let me ponder that one. I can tell you that in terms of smelliness, Frank Stallone pretty much out BO'd his brother 10 days a week. I mean, just look at the guy You know he was that stinky kid in 4th grade. I was the awkward fat kid, so nobody has a better 6th sense for this observation than yours truly.
Hobosexual's CD release show is at Neumos on October 4th with special guests Fox & The Law, The Keaton Collective, and The Strange Kind.