Newcomers to the alternative synth-rock scene this year, HVMAN have already racked up a nice collection of venue notches on their gig bedpost so far – they make even Hoxton Amp look chaste. We speak to frontman Ed about their music, their influences and their plans for this year…
Your name is interesting. It makes us think ‘HYMEN’ at first (that might be down to our filthy minds), but at second glance, it reads like ‘HUMAN’. Tell us what’s it all about…
Yeah, the name seems to be a bit of a regular talking point. My favourite interpretation I’ve heard so far has been High-5-Man. I think the word Human always sounded pretty strong to us – it’s succinct and rolls off the tongue well – then, of course, there’s the fact that it places us in immediate union with our audience – we’re all human, after all, right? The V came into it for Google purposes; you’ll find us a lot easier and that’s very important for a band in 2015.
Give us a short potted history of HVMAN – how long have you been as one, how did you meet (and the like).
I auditioned for a band, which contained Jimmy (guitar) and Louise (synths and additional vocals) around 18 months ago. Once I’d hooked up with them it became obvious that I was rubbing off on them a bit and my slightly harsher punk-rock style informed what became HVMAN – the songs got a bit darker, so did the clothes – and the attitude became a bit more ‘do or die’. At the beginning of the year we found the final piece of the puzzle through our new drummer, Edward.
How would you describe the sound of HVMAN?
I always tell people it’s like Imagine Dragons crossed with Prince. It’s always interesting what other people throw at you though – we get everything from Arcade Fire to RATM. I must admit, I value other people’s opinions on who we sound like more than my own – when you’ve been a part of the creative process of a song, it’s easy to actually lose track of how it sounds. You can get over-exposed.
Your sound tells us you’ve got an eclectic taste in music. Who are your influences?
My first musical exposure was a Queen at Live Aid tape – that meant a lot. It’s fair to say we probably all share a soft spot for Queen. The band we seem to play in the car together the most right now though is Hurts.
What other bands are you digging at the moment?
My favourite new band are Nothing But Thieves. I loved Ban All the Music, but I didn’t expect to find such musical maturity when I dug deeper on Spotify, they’re definitely worth a look. I know Louise is really feeling AWOLNATION right now – she saw Thieves supporting them the other night actually, which wraps that one nicely!
Tell us what you think of the Clean Bandit Cortana advert.
You know, as much as I cringe at it, making a living from music these days is tough. So doing the extra-curricular stuff like product endorsement is not something that should be so frowned upon these days, in my opinion. That said, please let them write us a better script if we ever want to do something like that.
If you could play at any venue, where would it be?
I’d want to headline Reading’s main stage. We don’t often get to play open air – whenever we have though, it’s always that little bit better for it.
Now, realistically (for now), which venue would you love to play this year?
I’d want to nab a support slot at Camden Koko – you get some great bands passing through there; I know Coasts are headlining soon, I’m a fan. It’d definitely be a bigger show we’ve played this year.
Festivals. Love or loathe?
Love. I used to hate, but there’s something great about sunsets and live music together…Who knows, perhaps I just stopped prioritising my personal hygiene?
What does HVMAN’s 2015 look like?
We’re being as humble as we can, playing to whoever wants to hear – establishing a foundation for the future. As much of an intense and a cathartic experience as our live show may be, we know how important it is to be accessible to our people and make sure the show’s about more than just the 30 minutes onstage. Honestly, don’t be shy after or before the gig – we want to meet you.
Finally, what exciting things have you got coming up IMMEDIATELY so that Hoxton Amp readers can salivate with excitement and put dates in their diaries?
Our next show will be this Saturday (18th April) at the Alleycat on Denmark Street. The venue is the true definition of intimate – we do love it a bit there; every new band should be looking to play there. We’re putting more and more on our YouTube as we go – I especially love fusing the musical with the visual. I never like it when musicians talk about being “all about the music” – music is one part, admittedly the largest, but still one part of a band. Our YouTube as well as our Soundcloud can be found through www.HVMAN.co.uk.