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INTERVIEW: The Hummingbirds

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hello there! We’ve been great thank you, I hope you’ve all been fine over at VENTS!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single ‘Emma’?

Of course! Emma is a fictitious character we made up for the purposes of the song, Initially it was meant to be another girls name and Emma was just a place holder name, but it managed to stay for good! 

We wrote it about being unfaithful to a girlfriend, and writing a note, or a text to her to explain that you’ve been seeing other people, and knowing that you’re going to hurt her. 

I think we’d written a lot of heartbreak songs by that point but we wanted to try tell a story from a different perspective that we’ve never looked into. 

The music to the song was an idea we had for a while and never really finished off, I really liked the intro to ‘Little Lion Man’ by Mumford and Sons, and the way Marcus Mumford palm muted the guitar, so we tried to do that. We added the whistle a little later on after we had written the lyrics because we felt it needed a better hook than the guitar riff that was in it’s place. Our producer Alec Brits really helped us strip the song back in the verses and that helped with the dynamics of it all, especially making the chorus and the middle 8 lift. It was all foot to the floor originally in the demo stages, we feel it really breathes now and its a relief when the chorus finally kicks in!

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I don’t think a personal experience really triggered this one, there’s a lot of songs on the album that are super personal to us.. ‘Talking Of Tomorrow’, ‘Back In Liverpool’ & ‘Way Into Your Heart’. 

I’d say a few of us had been unfaithful in the past, when we were younger, so there’s certainly references to our past in the lyrics but It’s not about a certain specific relationship. 

We love writing songs people can relate to, and a lot of people have unfortunately been cheated on, and a lot of people have been unfaithful on their other half. So we hope it evokes something in the people who pay attention to the lyrics. 

How was the filming experience?

It was sweaty and repetitive! We did it ourselves, the whole thing cost us £100 and I (Mic) Edited and graded it afterwards. 

We didn’t have a window in the room and were locked in for 5 hours straight, we only had 2 GoPro cameras so we had to shoot the song 10 times to get 20 different camera angles! We were completley fed up with the song after that, I think our limit is 8 times in a row before we start to dislike a song!

We’re really happy with how it came out though, considering it was 1 day of filming and 2 days of editing and £100. We managed to do it on a budget and we hope everyone likes it.

The single comes off your new album Pieces Of You – What’s the story behind the title?

It’s the title of one of the songs off the album (of the same name). It’s a song we wrote a long time ago and never intended for it to be on the album. One day in the middle of tracking, we started to jam the song acoustically and our producers Alec & Tim were like ‘What song is this???!’ and they demanded we record it and put it on the album! 

There were many album titles floating about, I think the biggest contender was ‘Emma’ or ‘Break Your heart’. We wanted it to be a song title off the album, and not try and give it a name that was completley made up (we struggle enough naming songs. couldn’t imagine us naming a collection of songs!)

The album is a breakup album, all the songs are different stages of the break up, different view points, different times, different thoughts and we know everyone has been through a breakup, bad or good. So we feel like its a piece of everyone. You can sit down and listen to the lyrics and really connect. We’ve all felt upset, angry, happy and depressed after a break up so its a simple album title in that respect we think.

How was the recording and writing process?

It was amazing. We’ve always talked about doing an album, just never thought it would be as fun as it was. 

We rented a cottage in Hereford and took a studio down with us in the back of a van with the 5 of us and our producers/engineers Alec Brits & Tim Hoover. We spent two weeks living and breathing the album. 

We had about 13 of the songs written and chosen for the album as we went in to record, and ended up writing ‘Knocking On My Door’. ‘Love Just Aint’ For Me’ & ’Took My Heart’ in the studio and that was great, very spontaneous song writing. We managed to write and track the songs in a day, it was very quick for us and the lyrics and melodies came easy. It managed to bump 3 songs off the album as well, we feel the new ones were better and glad we made the choice to cut the songs. 

We can’t wait to get back in the studio and write and record some more songs, we’ve already got a few sketched out already, inspiration can hit us at any time and you just have to be ready. 

How did you fall in love with Americana music?

I think its different for all of us. I had an ex who’s dad used to shove Neil Young, Dylan and Crosby, Stills & Nash down my throat, It managed to stick actually, and I never fell in love straight away but It crept up on me. I love the harmonies of Crosby, Stills & Nash, the way the voices glue together really resonates with me, it’s like glue. Dylan’s lyrics and dynamics are great and we try and let that influence us as much as we can when we write. I’ve really been getting into a few newer Americana artists as well recently, The Staves being one of my favourite bands at the moment, their harmonies are brilliant, three sisters from the UK, I’ve never heard tighter harmonies before. I recommend that for anyone looking for something new to listen to! 

From the beginning you wanted to make a band under this genre or how did that come about?

I think its the mix of our 5 influences. It’s very different for each one of us, we all bring something different to a song when we come to play it and I think that really shapes us. We try and mix a lot of styles when we write and it kind of ends up sounding like us. We never intentionally sat down and said ‘ Lets sound like ….. (whatever we sound like now)’ It’s changed so much over the years and we hope a second album can be a profession from how we sound now

What are those pieces that get to inspire the lyrics on this album? 

We get a lot of inspiration from certain breakups or life experiences. There’s a lot of different parts of our lives in the album. A lot of girls have hurt us or been hurt by us and we try channel that emotion and experience into the lyrics. We always have the chords and melodies down first then sit down and pick a topic or a breakup or a scenario and then we try draw from how we felt and what we went through. 

It’s nice to play them live and be transported back to the moments when you wrote the song, or the moments that relate to certain lyrics. 

Any plans to hit the road?

YES! we did our first proper tour in Feb and it was amazing, we loved being on the road and meeting all the people all over the country who came out. We just announced some dates that you can check on our website www.wearethehummingbirds.com, they’re part of our Sept/Oct 16 Tour (original name, we know) There’s plenty more dates going to be added to that and we can’t wait to be on the road. 

What else is happening next in The Hummingbirds’ world?

Writing, Touring, singing, playing, driving, drinking, sleeping.. that’s the short version, but seriously, there’s been talks of a ‘Live EP’ for later this year and I think we’re just planning a second album, or the bones of one! 

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E1FRIxPhBw

THE HUMMINGBIRDS TOUR 2016

23rd – June – The Studio – Hartlepool

8th – July – Cornbury Festival – Cotswolds

24th – July – Riverside Festival – Oxfordshire

3rd – August – Lytham Festival – Lytham

6th – August – Liverpool Loves Festival – Liverpool

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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