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INTERVIEW: UK rock/blues band J Lee & the Hoodoo Skulls

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

Very well thank you.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Woman”?

Woman is a track full of bluesy riffs and a sprinkling of sleaze for good measure. It’s just got a really good feel about it, it hooks you in as soon as the intro starts and won’t let you go until the end!

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

No not really… it’s basically a relationship song, as many are, but this one has a slight twist in that two people want to be together but one keeps coming up short for one reason or another. It’s not Dylan but it works!

How was the film experience?

The video was just one of those things. I remember Luke, the bass player, telling me ages ago he’d had an idea about doing a line dancing video, and I remember thinking then it was a great idea. So one night, not long after we’d had the EP back from being mastered, I was up with Dean listening to the tracks and after a couple of bottles of vino calapso I remembered Luke’s idea so we set about trawling through Youtube looking for line dancing clips. After a while, there she was, Steph and her girls! We played the track over the clip and unbelievably it fitted perfectly. About a week later we contacted Steph over in Nashville, Tennessee, explained who we were and what our idea was and she gave us the go ahead to use her video.

The single comes off your new self-titled EP – why the decision to name the EP after the band?

It’s the band’s first EP as J Lee and The Hoodoo Skulls and we wanted to cement the name and logo into people’s minds so it just seemed the natural thing to do.

How was the recording and writing process?

I’ve written with Harun (guitarist) before and we’re very compatible as writers – we seem to get each other. Initially I record all my little ideas on my phone, whether it be a riff, verse or a chorus, I then take them to Harun and along with Luke we start the process of building the whole track. Lyrics generally come last as I find it easier to put lyrics to an existing melody. We demo all the tracks at Harun’s home studio before going go to the recording studio (in this case The Chapel in Chichester) to record everything live.

Has the Black Keys had influence on this new EP?

Yes, to a certain extent – but so have many other bands as the EP has a mixture of sounds including rock, blues, gospel (especially on the track Save Me). So, we are influenced by many bands within those genres of music.

What was it like to work with Dean James Barratt and how did that relationship develop?

I first met Dean the day he was born – I was introduced to him by our mother! Previously I’ve worked with Dean on my solo stuff before The Hoodoo Skulls and he’s a very talented producer who’s opinion I always value. You’d be silly not to considering Dean’s track record with regards to the people he’s worked with.

How much did he get to influence the album?

As an influence as to where the sound and feel was coming from I already had that direction in my head, but Dean is a good person to bounce ideas off to make sure the project is still on the right track.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

The inspiration for the songs originally came from wanting to write a blues album but as things progressed, working with various people, it still kept that feel but isn’t an out and out blues record.

Any plans to hit the road?

We’re looking at early 2017.

What else is happening next in J Lee and the Hoodoo Skulls’ world?

We’re currently working on new material ready to hit the road!

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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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