Liverpool 5-piece, The Hummingbirds are ready to release their first EP, ‘Out Of The Rain’ on November 6 via their own label, Gladstone Recording Co. We checked them out, to find what the buzz is all about.
EP: What’s The Hummingbirds’ story?
TH: Our story isn’t too complex! We’re five childhood friends who like to make music together, and some people like that music and come to visit us at shows! It all came very naturally to us, to write together, play together and be together all the time. I think its very rare these days to find people you enjoy making music with as much as we enjoy it. We’ve all played in different bands for the last few years but this feels different than the rest! We are all from Liverpool, born and raised there, played music from early teens and all knew each other through either school or college.
EP: Liverpool and Manchester are synonymous with good bands and good music – what do you think the secret is? Something in the water?
TH: I don’t know about Manchester…. But Liverpool for sure. (Just kidding) both cities have had huge successes with bands, The Beatles, Oasis, The Smiths, The La’s to name a few, I can’t speak for Manchester, but Liverpool has such a diverse culture, with the Irish influence and the docks being a gateway to America, we always kind of kept ahead of the rest of the country in the 50s and 60s and I feel that kept us ahead. I can’t speak for today because now it’s so easy to access music online, and make your own that the UK as a whole is producing some really good bands, I think.
EP: How would you describe your style?
TH: It’s our own take on an Americana style I would say, It’s not an exact imitation, you have to leave room for some originality or the ‘Liverpool’ sound to fit in! We are all influenced by a lot of great American artists, The Eagles, Neil Young, Dylan, John Mayer to name a few that It does show in our songwriting, but then there are the obvious English influences like The Beatles and The Hollies.
EP: You’re working on your debut album, ‘Pieces of You’, due out early next year. What’s the songwriting process like for you guys? Do you all chip in or is it one or two of you who write all your songs?
TH: Sometimes it can be a group effort definitely, but most of the time it’s between our guitarist Mic, singer Jay and rhythm guitarist Matty. It’s usually chords first, or a riff, then we will sit down and try get a basic melody and some lyrics, usually verses first, but a lot of the time that order can change, if we start to play in a room together at once, we can just write a song completely in 10 minutes, then record a phone demo, Jay will take it away try and write some lyrics and when he brings it back we will mess with the lyrics till we’re happy! Then another phone demo, listen again and probably add harmonies on top and start to cut the track up and mix it around it’s never really too strained.
EP: Leading on from that, with 5 in the band, are you a democracy, or do you feel that someone has to lead from the top? And if so who?
TH: I think we all would have different points on that, I feel that you do need someone to lead from the top, but that someone changes due to the task…if it’s logistics its Ryan, If it’s music it’s Mic, if it’s time keeping it’s none of us! If it’s admin stuff it’s Jay.
EP: What’s your take on the current state of the music industry?
TH: We’re living in a tough age of the music industry, X Factor is glamorising it, chewing people up and spitting them out (a lot of the winners just get dropped after a year) Streaming is killing the royalties for songwriters (but if you don’t go on the streaming sites people can’t discover your music… catch 22) There are so many people playing music now as it’s become more accessible and cheaper to get into, that it’s really hard to be found, sometimes it feels like you’re swimming against the current. But that is also incentive to work harder and be better than everyone else around you. It’s such a competitive industry these days.
EP: What’s your advice for anyone wanting to get into music? How would they go about it?
TH: Just pick an instrument, get a really cheap one, try it out and see if you can hack it! There’s plenty of free reading online, YouTube for videos and tutorials and even Skype lessons! There’s never been a better time to get into music, especially at a young age.
EP: If you could do it all again, what would you do differently, if anything, and why?
TH: I think that we’re at the point we are at for a reason, and for that, I’d say no, maybe some questionable outfit choices or haircuts but other than that, it’s been a good journey.
EP: What’s next for The Hummingbirds?
TH: Our next EP release, ‘Out Of The Rain’ is out November 6th and is available to pre order now from iTunes. Next year is the album ‘Pieces of You’, so we’re just planning to tour around then and hopefully be on the road as much as possible!
EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
TH: That’s a good question actually, something about the musical composition of the tunes maybe? Why does this D7 chord appear at the end of ‘Out Of The Rain’, maybe, or something about song form? But that doesn’t make for interesting reading!
Catch The Hummingbirds live on November 13 at Telford’s Warehouse, Chester, November 28th at The O2 Academy in Liverpool, and December 8th at London’s Barfly. Check them out online on their website, Facebook, and Twitter.