An Interview with Hooray For Earth and A Mixtape
Last year Noel Heroux released Hooray for Earth’s debut album, True Loves. It was an honest and breathtaking feat in production and style, topping my albums of 2011 list (which I failed to publish). That was the American release and on the 27th of February this year the ever reliable Memphis Industries treats UK listeners to what we have been missing out on, leading me to consider whether or not it’s fair that True Loves tops my list two years in a row.
True Loves manages to refreshingly cross musical boundaries at will, track after track and still managing to come out with a cohesive whole of searing and complex pop music. Designed to be “played loud” it is an album indebted to its surroundings, with the sounds of the New York Grand Street bus station opening and closing the album. Vocals are layered into the fabric of the album, providing an ethereal but human presence, which gives the pop sensibilities an immediately human relevance. I’ve said before that great pop music is when the listener and the creator are in a dialogue with each other, sharing emotion for that immediate moment, Heroux has recorded this empathy, those feelings and laid that bare in every groove. What I have found so timeless about the album is my ability to keep coming back to it, hearing something completely different every time; it may be designed to be played loud but it is also delicately complex.
Ahead of its UK release we caught up with Noel for a quick chat about coming to Europe and some of the processes behind True Loves.
Your album is finally getting a UK release with London’s Memphis Industries, welcome to the UK! How is everything going?
Everything’s good. I’ve been recording new music again and just keeping busy, looking ahead.
Hooray for Earth vs. 2012, what is the plan?
We’ll be visiting your hood a few times and roaming around the rest of Europe for a bit. Otherwise, I’ll just be writing and recording a new album and several other things.
You played some UK shows at the end of last year, how was that and are you looking forward to coming back?
Our first introduction to the UK was great, we’d been looking forward to it for so long. Playing in London felt a lot like New York. Also, it was kind of funny, we ended up staying in this empty flat in West Finchley where we ended up stuck for a couple days with nowhere to go and no connection to the outside world (no tv, phones, internet). We just walked into the center of town, went to the Sainsbury’s to get cheap wine and stuff. We built an “entertainment centre” out of a bass amp and all of our power transformers so we could watch the meager selection of movies Chris had stored on his laptop.
The UK isn’t too familiar with you, can you give everyone a brief history of Hooray for Earth to get us up to speed?
Hooray For Earth has been a name that I loosely connected to most of my home recording stuff for a few years. Chris and I have been playing in bands together since I was fourteen, and at some point in 2005 or 2006 the live band we’d been messing around with adopted the name. It started a bit as a joke but nobody was bothered to change it. We started playing my music out around town in Boston and surrounding area for a couple years but things quickly grew stagnant for me and I left Boston for New York in 2007 to get comfortable with myself and sort out my life. A couple of years after moving I picked up the Hooray For Earth project again and started over, which turned into what we’re doing now.
You spent six weeks writing and recording True Loves and there are a huge number of styles on the album, from contemporary pop, 80s influenced synth pop, to wall of sound guitars. How did that work when you came to putting the album together as one unit?
True Loves just happened, I have no special process that I go through or story to sum it up. That’s just exactly where I was during that summer, if I threw down a record this month it would come out differently. I’m always obsessively moving forward, I feel it’s the best thing for me. I can say one intention though, it was specifically made to be played loud. That was a production choice by me and a mixing choice by Chris Coady.
You have said before that you don’t usually like to publish lyrics but you have chosen to for this, is there a reason why?
For me, lyrics are usually a direct result of what the music makes me feel, so they tend to come afterward. I never thought about it that much. I’m obsessive over lyrics but they still come after the music, I wanted to present them the same way to everyone else.
You have a side project called Dpony, what are your plans with that and what are the other guys up to?
Dpony is a thing I’ve been doing with my boy Seth for years, he played in Hooray for a while when we were first starting and all that. He plays drums in Zambri now. Now it’s Seth, Josh, who runs a great little studio in Brooklyn, myself and our video counterpart Johnny Woods. We put out a little record in November 2011, you can check the details and download that shit for free at http://dponymovie.com/ . We’ll be doing another record or two this year.
Tell us a little bit about the mixtape, is this what you have been listening to lately?
It’s just a slew of tracks I was feeling the other night when I was drinking wine getting in the mood to put a mix together for you. It’s on the electronic side but veers off into some Dpony tracks and whatnot. Also a random Bear In Heaven cover that I did for fun a couple of years ago. I was drunk when I made that too.
00:00 – “Dreamon” by Black Pus
02:03 – “Burn A Church” by Coma Cinema
05:22 – “Slowly” by Amon Tobin
10:52 – “Lanterns” by Atlas Sound
15:08 – “Cubicle” by The Gasman
20:34 – “Sloth” by AFX
28:45 – “Untitled 06″ by AFX
30:38 – “Lessmi” by Dpony
34:30 – “Lovesick Teenagers” by Bear In Heaven (shittily covered by Hooray For Earth in 2010)
37:49 – “Home For The Holidays” by Glass Ghost
41:14 – “So Really Up” by Dpony
42:54 – “GX1 Solo” by The Tuss
47:40 – “Trampoline” by The Gasman