Interview with Lou Hills of Wild Palms

Posted by Bianca on Friday Feb 4, 2011 Under Interviews

Wild Palms promo for Daron's interview

Interview time again. This week it’s Lou Hills, lead singer of the rather fine and dandy five piece Wild Palms. The band’s just off on tour across the UK in support of Cold War Kids then back out on the road again in March in time for the release of their debut album, the appropriately named ‘Until Spring’.

Gig Junkies: Hello Wild Palms, how you doin’?

Lou: Busy, busy.

Gig Junkies: Obligatory opening question time, how would you describe the band’s sound to anyone who’s new to you?

Lou: That’s always a hard question to answer and one that we all struggle with. A lot of people hear a lot of different stuff in our music so we get quite varied comparisons. I think we all really like to leave it up to the listener really, it’s interesting to hear what people get from it objectively without you inferring you think your music’s about or where it’s coming from. But we’re all fans of Sonic Youth, Radiohead, Burial, TV on the Radio etc etc if that’s anything to go by.

Gig Junkies: Not Leona Lewis? You do surprise me. Really liked your cover of Bjork’s Human Behaviour you did a while back, any plans for any more covers and if so what do you fancy tackling next?

Lou: No, no plans to do another one anytime soon, that idea just came out of nowhere really. It seems an age ago since we recorded that, I’ve just literally listened to it because you reminded me of it: it is good isn’t it? We had fun doing it I seem to remember. There’s a lot to be learnt from doing covers, it gets you thinking in a different way; or doing alternative versions or remixes of your own songs it really opens your eyes (ears, whatever) to other options and possibilities within your own music.

Gig Junkies: If you could play any venue or festival in the world which one would you choose…and why?

Lou: I think Glastonbury is pretty high on everyone’s list isn’t it? That would be a nice date to have in your diary. I went to Bestival about 4 years ago and had an amazing time, so I’d like to play there, I like the vibe. I think we’d all like to play somewhere like the Barbican as well, somewhere with amazing acoustics and real character.

Gig Junkies: Which other bands do you really rate at the moment (why does no one ever answer N-Dubz…oh…that’s why) and is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with?

Lou: I’m not really sure about any emerging bands, I don’t really pay too much attention but I’ve always been a big admirer of Electricity in our Homes, and seeing Factory Floor is something else. I really got into Caribou’s latest album and The National’s ‘High Violet’ (both been around for yonks but…). Obviously wouldn’t mind collaborating with Bjork…

Gig Junkies: I’ll put in a good word for you. I normally see her down the local kebab shop…she’s addicted to Chicken Tikka on Naan. Anyway, as a relatively new band how have you found the business side of what you do, getting gigs, landing a deal, building a fan base etc?

Lou: We’ve tried to keep the business side completely separate from the creative side but its nigh on impossible, you have to try though, you have to try and keep the studio and creating music sacred and unaffected by external pressures or motivation. The hardest thing about being in a band is not creating music, that’s the passion, what you do it for, but the rest of it: saying that we are in a very privileged position: to be able to make a record and release it something that we are very grateful of, as well as the people who enjoy our music and support it.

Gig Junkies: Your album’s out in a few weeks time. What’s your favourite track and what makes it stand out for you?

Lou: LHC stands out for me because of how it grew. It started in my sister’s bedroom playing around on her keyboard, that’s where the piano part came from, and then I brought it into the studio and it just took on its own life: sometimes songs have a mind of their own and can kind of dictate what they want and need. When we speak about LHC I think we all feel it was something that we didn’t expect to come from us…even though we wrote and played all the parts (apart from strings) it seems blurry, which is nice.

Gig Junkies: Blurry is good. I find a nice bottle of Chateau Neuf Du Pape does the trick. Touring or recording…what do you prefer? Any sick and sordid stories from ‘the road’ that you’d like to share with us…we won’t tell anyone…promise.

Lou: They’ve both got their pros and cons but we are definitely a recording band. We all love being in the studio creating music and recording it, the whole process is a real life-injecting, getting your creativity firing over a long-period of time is essential; the intensity of making a record can be at times negative as well as positive but regardless, nothing beats it I don’t think. Some gigs are incredible and you feed off them in a much more intense way and are exhilarating but short-lived.

Gig Junkies: No sick or sordid stories then eh? I’ll have to make do with this week’s Heat Magazine…premier league footballer caught in bed with local WI group. Oh Wayne, will you never learn. Finally, what are you most looking forward to this year and where would you like the band to be in 12months time…up to your knees in bling and hip hop honey’s or playing a cool house party somewhere in Amsterdam?

Lou: At a cool party in Amsterdam up to my knees in Hip Hop bling…

Gig Junkies: Oh now that’s just having your space cake and eating it eh…save a place for me…

Words by Daron Billings, email Daron.

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