In January of this year I travelled over to Camden to meet up with a young band who are causing a storm on the London unsigned circuit. House Party Massacre are busy leaving a path of destruction in their wake. I met up with John, seb, dom and Phil (who likes the Beatles) and spoke to them about everything from getting to the Emergenza Festival Semi-Final, to their views on the X-Factor, Groupies and their experiences on the London Music Scene.
Keep an eye and an ear out, as House Party Massacre will be tearing up a venue, near you….Soon!
BF: What’s been the highlight of your time gigging?
HPM: The Adrenaline. The first gig was like…..Yes. You know the Zenith bar in Islington? The English CBGB’s they call it. Well we have like a little residency there.
BF: Ok how often?
HPM: Whenever we want really. Every couple of months.
BF: Ok so you’re actually making money out of gigging?
HPM: When we play there… If we bring a decent following we can make like two hundred quid. That’s from Merchandise as well. Otherwise we just play venues to get out there.
BF: I know as a Promoter for years that on the London circuit, it’s really hard for bands to bring fans. I’ve put on a 13 piece Reggae band and they brought one person. It’s like come on surely you must all have at least five friends…
HPM: We have the same five friends that’s the problem…..
When you’re first starting out, friends at school really want to come and see you. The people that don’t care will fade away, but the people that actually like you will stick around and bring more people.
BF: There’s also obviously over exposure if you play a venue too much
HPM: Yeah we try and leave it a few months between playing the same venue
BF: I suppose you need to go as far around as possible building up followings in different locations.
HPM: yeah we do, but with Zenith Bar. We like the place, Its cozy, there’s a lot of character there. I suppose it’s like when a club plays at home. That’s what it’s like there for us.
BF: So do you find that you get more supporters come down to you there?
HPM: yeah definitely. It tends to be when we’re playing a new Venue maybe ten percent less, because people don’t really know it.
BF: Also people don’t really want to travel unless they have to do they?
HPM: Sometimes we play really awkward places that nobody wants to travel to. Like Bridge House 2 in Canning Town. It is actually an industrial estate, with a scrap heap next to it.
We’ve played there a few times…..
BF: OK what about studio time?
HPM: We’ve recorded our first EP hich we did with a guy who at the time was recording mainly as a hobby. The productions ok for what we were paying him. That was last February…
BF: Any plans to record an album?
HPM: Oh yeah we have. We have a Sound Engineer who’s been doing the sound at our Zenith gigs recently and he’s been talking to us about it a lot. He goes to college studying Sound Engineering and he has like Industry class stuff at his disposal and it’s free as well so yeah….
BF: So what are your musical influences?
HPM: (John – Lead Singer) Nirvana and Joy Division for me…
(Dom – Bass Player) Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers
(Seb – Drummer) Probably System of a Down and probably Nirvana as well
(Phil – Rhythm Guitar) I’d have to say Nirvana. Second one, I don’t know I’d have to say something like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Clash, one of those bands….
BF: THE BEATLES YUK. Right Phil go and sit over there…..
HPM: LOL…. (Phil) I love the Beatles I don’t care
BF: OK some stupid questions now. Firstly what else do you guys like to do other than music?
HPM: (John) I’m a martial arts fanatic. (Phil, Seb, Dom) Computer games, TV, film a lot, comics…
BF: What about groupies? Any groupies?
HPM: Yeah one or two. We don’t wanna name any names but one or two. Their last girlfriends are people we met at gigs LOL
BF: So anything you wanna plug? Anything coming up?
HPM: Yeah Emergenza Battle of the Bands. We’re in the semi finals. We played the first round at the Vic in Dalston and we’re playing Dingwall’s down the road. If we make it through here we go on to the final…
BF: Then obviously you go away to Germany?
HPM: yeah yeah. The semi final is based upon audience so we’re just gonna try and sell as many tickets as we can.
BF: So what else is in store?
HPM: We have a new EP coming out, but it doesn’t have a name yet…
BF: The No name EP….
HPM: That should be the name. We have finished all the songs except the last one. We’re gonna start recording now like I said. And I’m thinking once we’ve gone through the whole recording process we should have that one finished. Then that should be out by summer and then we’re doing a little tour in the summer which we’re looking forward to. We’re going up to
Cheshire to play a little festival.
BF: How do you feel about that? You’re going a bit off the home turf
HPM: Well if we get through the Emegenza festival we’ll be going abroad for that. We’d be going international. We’ll probably do a couple of UK tours if we can and then the next step will be going across the channel and trying to break over in America.
BF: have you had any radio play?
HPM: Just independent radio stations it’s all about promotion you know. It’s like the radio interview we did in New Cross, on Goldsmiths radio station, that was cool.
BF: Tell us a bit more about that
HPM: Well we did an interview, then after John and Rock performed an acoustic session. It came out pretty well though. Then there was this thing we did called Soundtracks. We went from New Cross up to Dalston just playing a couple of acoustic tracks on a train. It was like they had festival representatives. It was like a little festival.
BF: What’s your worse gig?
HPM: Bridgehouse… Oh no there was this place we went North to play. Where was it (pause) Enfield! We had to play so low it was terrible. The sound was the worst thing. We don’t mind if its good sound and nobody turns up, it’s basically a good practice. There’s been bad ones but that was terrible. Normally the worst thing that can happen is not many people turn up. Like Dublin Castle we played, it’s a good venue with good sound but no one turned up. People are sort of standing round the outskirts and you’re staring at an empty floor
BF: I suppose that’s a bit of a buzz killer
HPM: It’s just like practice really but that’s it
BF: How many followers do you think that you’ve got then….
HPM: On Facebook? Facebook doesn’t represent us properly. But people who we can pull to a gig. If we have a good months worth of promotion, we’ve brought like 50 people before to a couple of gigs. A lot of bands on the circuit turn up with just three people and we bring a decent amount of people especially at Zenith. But if we do like Battle of the Bands we have our own people that we’ve brought and all of a sudden EVERYONE goes mad for us, not just them and we get through. Sometimes these things are based upon pure audience count which is important but I think it’s obviously the music which is most important. Sometimes at Battle of the Bands they do it where they ask people to put their hands up to vote for the winning band….
BF: WHAT? I’ve never heard of that, that’s ridiculous…
HPM: Yeah one time a band got through on text messages because you can vote by text ten times for each band which is just ridiculous
BF: Have you done any video’s?
HPM: We’ve done one over a year ago. It’s called ‘Act Like an Angel’. Its very amature though. It’s quite punky. It does look like a Punk video. Have you heard of Vice Squad?
BF: Vice Squad. Yeah Beki Bondage…
HPM: The guy who did our video did a video for them as well, which is really cool.
BF: So what else has the future got lined up for you guys?
HPM: Well new EP, Emergenza, the tour, recording, after that it’s just plugging ain’t it, trying to get better you know. You know it’s weird some people have ambition to make it big and get in the charts and for us its purely if we’re able to make a living off it, we’ll be happy with it.
(John) I want to get to a point where I listen to our songs and one of them be my favourite song. I’d really like that. It’s hard to like your own stuff because you’re kind of a perfectionist.
BF: I was lead singer in a band and I really hated my own voice. I fucking hated my own voice. And when it’s recorded and I hear myself talk, how does it feel hearing yourself recorded?
HPM: (John) I hate it as well
BF: Is that built into us?
HPM: Jimi Hendrix hated his voice as well. It sounds different to you when you play it back
BF: So how did you guys meet?
HPM: We’ve been best friends for years. (Dom) well me and John, his mum and my mum are both from Madeira and so they’ve always known each other and we’ve just been best friends since we was one. There’s pictures of us together when we were babies and stuff. The rest of the band we met at secondary school.
BF: And what led you to Rock N Roll?
HPM: (Seb) I used to play Chello in year four. (John) In year five and year six all I used to listen to was you know the ‘Now that that’s What I call music’ things. You know all that bullshit (laughts). And then my brother started giving me some of his music like Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana. I was listening to Nevermind . And that got me really into it. I thought I’ve gotta do this…
BF: Yeah Nevermind will do that. Nevermind will change your life…
HPM: (John) And that was it
(Phil) My brother brought me up on good music and then teenage years hit and you start getting into Punk and shit, and Rock N Roll and that was it. You think why not? I can do that, I’ve got something to say.
(Seb) I hate mainstream. I hate it with a passion
BF: Ok what do you think is wrong with the music industry?
HPM: It’s just people paying for lyricists to write their songs. It’s like everyone can do it, it’s that sort of thing. It’s like Rebecca Black is just some girls who’s got a rich family. But she got big off being shit, which is the weird thing. People have fuelled that fire and it’s gone viral.
BF: What do you think of things like the X-Factor and Britain’s got Talent?
HPM: It’s destroying music. It’s just money really. It’s so manufactured and so uncontroversial and not real. You do get some people on there with talent. It’s an easy ride but you have to really work hard to get respect after doing that. But a lot of the time it’s not actually people with any talent that’s on there, it’s just people that look the part. I think people like Myleene Klass, she used to be in that band Hear’Say. When they broke up she still carried on getting big without even being involved in music anymore.
BF: Yeah she has still managed to stay famous without doing absolutely anything. Do you think it’s harder for bands now since we’ve had all these glorified Karaoke acts?
HPM: Yeah. Though the internet has been a godsend to music and the indie music scene. There is kind of a growing following but at the same time the industry just says no. It’s like Jimi Hendrix tried opening his own studio and got paid nothing for it. Yeah he opened his own studio, it was called the Ladybird studio and he got paid no money. He tried to have it as his own place and get stoned with people, his own environment if you will. If you’re in the right place at the right time a scout might just turn up and say ‘I like you’ and sign you. It’s that kind of thing it just depends on where you are. It’s all to do with opinions as well, it’s like Marmite, you either love it or hate. Music is subjective…
BF: You could have someone go in that loves a dreadful band. But if you’ve got the music industry behind you, you can do anything, as the X-Factor shows you…
HPM: Pop music goes against all logic really. I can’t believe I used to like it. When I listen to it now I just think how bad it is. I think now though that rock isn’t really in the mainstream now though…
BF: I read somewhere the other day that for the first time in five years Pop music had outsold rock music
HPM: Theres more branches of stuff now, you’ve got Deathcore and all that stuff, and Screamo and all this stuff. All these different branches of genres.
BF: How do you define yourselves? You’ve all got different influences and they’re all going to meld a bit aren’t they….
HPM: Sometimes it doesn’t work. It’s just experimental. Sometimes we disagree on stuff but just sort it out.
BF: Do you have a lot of bickering between you guys?
HPM: Not really between us….
BF: Ha ha ha tell us more….
HPM: It’s just little disagreements we all have slightly different ideas on what makes good music so there will always be small dissagreements.
BF: Yeah I suppose if you can disagree and still be mates. It’s a good thing. A bands a bit like a family isn’t it?
HPM: What we all agree on is that the band is more important than any individual problem…
BF: One last question. How do you guys see yourself in five years
HPM: (Seb) A speedball (laughs). (John) Playing Download festival or something. Playing the main stage. (Dom) I just wanna be out there, it isn’t so much about people knowing us but appreciating us. (Phil)Err I really don’t know, the futures unwritten
Words: Steve Kleenex