In the first of a series of Dana-blog based interviews with our favourite UK bands, we're starting off with a wee chat with Joe (vocals, guitar) and Richard (bass) from Stonehaven/Aberdeen based rocko-dudes COPY HAHO, who i met up with last night via the magical medium of MSN Messenger (loltimes). I admit it's pretty dull on my part, due to actually just asking crappy questions off the top of my head and it's pretty much saved only by the fact that Richard and Joe are very lovely, funny guys. But yeah, a little insight into the routines and activities of one of the best unsigned bands in the UK fo' sho'. 4 SHO'!
Go on, read about COPY HAHO and junk! Or don't then. Shut up!
DAN: OK, so, for any peeps who dont know Copy Haho, please start off by telling us who you guys are and where you are from. Interview time lols for all!
JOE: My name is Joe, i live at my parents house in Stonehaven. i guess we play rock music for people with short attention spans.
RICHARD: We come from Stonehaven, which is around 15 minutes south of Aberdeen. A small/medium sized town which combines elements of Twin Peaks, (Take The) High Road and American Pie-style parties. Plus nice scenery and some pretty cool kids who like grunge and stuff. We're some of those kids!
JOE: That is correct. Well, i wouldn't say we were ever all that cool.
RICHARD: I'd say we're pretty cool, just not THAT cool. We wouldn't be ignored at school reunions, say.
JOE: Yeah, cool enough not to be a bunch of dicks, but not cool enough to be in that kids edition of Vice magazine.
RICHARD: But we wouldn't be invited to weddings. I like that that kids edition of Vice was just free porn for certain demographics.
DAN: And the music? What's the music like?
RICHARD: it's pretty hard to talk about music without referencing other bands (which is boring), or sounding pretentious, or sounding dumb. So i'll go with the last one, and say it's melodic guitar pop with riffs and stuff.
DAN: Haha. awesome. Quoting the Sunday Fail.
RICHARD: Haha, i didn't mean to do that!
JOE: At the moment i'm listening to Adam Green a lot, mostly because of his lyrics and string arrangements. I also just got that new Mystery Jets album, it's really good - sounds like Talking Heads and David Bowie.
RICHARD: We didn't make the new Mystery Jets album though. Unfortunately. It would certainly make buying petrol easier if we did. It's so stupid though, i mean every time i read something about band X being called genre Y, i wince.
JOE: I guess there's only so many ways you can describe indie rock without saying 'sound a bit like Pavement'.
RICHARD: Yeah. So just put 'sounds a bit like Pavement'. It'll make everything easier.
DAN: Easy peasy. So, how do you guys write such awesome songs? Joe, do you write all the tunes or do you all get together at rehearsal and shape them all as you go, with each person putting in their own ideas?
RICHARD: A guy called McMahon writes and records it all then sends it to us. Sorry, shitty injoke. Not even a joke. Just shit.
JOE: I write all the lyrics and generally the arrangements - but everybody adds there own twist on it. i think we've all got really important roles in the band to be honest (that sounds so fucking cheesy, but who cares...) Like, if i was to try and write everything it would probably end up kinda rubbish.
DAN: I guess having your own portacabin to rehearse in has given you time to fine tune and polish this way of writing together innit?
JOE: Yeah for sure. I really value being able to spend days going through different arrangements and vocal melodies as a group. Without Johnny & Linda Will (Rikki's parents), we'd probably do a lot less in general.
DAN: Do they own the portacabin? Is it a portacabin? PORTACABIN?
RICHARD: Yeah it is. It's just where the Will brothers' keep their music equipment and some other junk like old computers. Theres electricity and slight heat, too.
JOE: The portacabin is like a womb - i was there earlier today, it was a sight to behold in the sunshine/snow.
DAN: Well, one thing i can tell from the recent live shows is that you are probably rehearsing more. My band tend to hide our sloppiness by falling about the place, but over the last year or so, you've really tightened up.
RICHARD: Well, without sounding like i'm just trying to contradict you, i don't really think we practice that much!
JOE: I'm not even sure we do rehearse that much, i think we probably spend more time working on 'the new song' or worrying about things breaking.
RICHARD: If we arrange a practice for say, Sunday, 3 hours will be spent getting everyone together/getting there/finding a lost piece of equipment, with 2 hours practising.
JOE: I guess it's hard to tell though - i've never really been in a band that's HAD to pay for a practice space.
RICHARD: Yeah. Or a band with 6 members! Six members must be tough. Half a football team.
DAN: Yeah, it's rubbish. So how often do you get together to rehearse then?
JOE: Oh my god, we should totally form a Dana/Haho football team... When everyone's in the same place... once a week? Depending on when our next show is (we might have a quicky before we leave).
RICHARD: We don't really have a set practice day or anything, just depends on whether there are new songs to work out, or shows to practice for.
DAN: Once a week, well, to me, that's a lot haha. Anymore and it's overkill.
RICHARD: Yeah, i mean, it'd be different if you were a big band and had to rehearse for a 4 month tour or something. You wouldn't want to let people who have paid £12 to see you or something down. But then they've paid £4 and we're sandwiched between 15 bands, fuck it, we'll just watch Arrested Development instead of practising.
JOE: I dunno, a 4 month tour would give you enough time to tighten up. Wouldn't have to practice that much surely.
RICHARD: Sure, but you'd be practising beforehand. Like that Pavement DVD, where they hole themselves up in that warehouse... Malkmus on that computer chair... Spiral singing that shit song... Back to Pavement, fuck...
DAN: Anyway, to me, it does sound like you guys are getting it together pretty well. And Joe, your voice has gotten bigger, you carry it a lot better. Did you know this or has it just been a slow natural thing?
RICHARD: I think from my point of view the vocals have become stronger as the songs/melodies have become stronger. Which is a good thing, obviously.
JOE: Yeah i think a lot of it has to do with writing vocal melodies in the right key. There are certain notes i can't reach very well in a live setting, so i just tend to stick within my limits - then if need be push a little for recording. But then sometimes i get drunk and sound like a duck, so it doesn't always work.
RICHARD: Nah, when you play drunk you just swear between songs. Thats the only way i can normally tell!
JOE: Haha. I always think i sound like a duck when i'm talking normally. Like if you hear something back when your recording. It's weird.
RICHARD: Yeah i thought i sounded like a freak listening back to those radio things from last week.
JOE: You do sound like a freak.
DAN: The songs are definitely getting stronger, but do you just put that down to getting older and better or are you pushing yourself more?
JOE: I think the songs are getting a bit better too, but i'm not sure why. i think i've been trying not to fall into the same 'alt rock' traps as i used to. i guess musically we're maturing... (woah that sounded lame...) I'm not sure where i see us going musically though, i guess as long as we keep ourselves entertained then that's cool.
RICHARD: Yeah for sure.
JOE: I mean, i've always listened to a lot of indie rock and pop music, but i don't think i've ever had the confidence to write lyrics and vocal melodies that i'm willing to let people hear... also, i think before we didn't really have anything to write about.
DAN: Yeah, i definitely hear more confidence.
JOE: haha that sounds like i'm saying we've been through some kind of horrible ordeal, ah well, maybe we have - i mean, we did go to the Wickerman festival. Ooooooo burn. 'Burn' - get it? Wickerman? Yeah?
DAN: Ok, you've been recording recently. How did that go? Was it for an upcoming release or are these just new demo tracks for peeps to hear?
RICHARD: We recorded two new songs late last year and are recording more in april. Just for demos to send to people to try and sort out a release.
JOE: The demos are just a way of getting the songs down on 'tape' and letting people hear them - hopefully we'll get a release sorted soon, who knows though, things have a habit of not happening.
DAN: You guys got the old "no money left, sorry" chat from Jealous Records too, yeah?
JOE: Haha yeah, sure did.
RICHARD: We didn't get the no money thing, did we? I just thought that he didn't want to put it out.
JOE: Oh no, yeah, your right, it was more that he had a new job and didn't have time, i can't remember.
DAN: something about the label stopping?
JOE: Yeah that was it.
RICHARD: Not stopping, streamlining.
JOE: Hahaha, like Sony.
RICHARD: Something like 'it might stop, but if it doesn't, i'll only be able to release a few things'.
JOE: Ah well, its in the past now.
DAN: So who's this dude you've been recording with?
JOE: We recorded in December with a guy called Marc Nicol, he's a good guy. He recorded the early Needles stuff and Josephine and all that. He's got a studio in a barn kind near Stonehaven, it's pretty rustic, but in a good way.
RICHARD: We're recording the new demos with Ross at Chime, though. That'll be good. He seems like a champion.
DAN: Yeah, i saw that on his calender. Ross is the best. Quiet guy who loves drums. Rickki will have a fun time no doubt.
RICHARD: Yeah, i'm looking forward to that. I wish it was April already.
JOE: Haha yeah? Is he a drum freak? Maybe Rikki will learn a thing or two! maybe not though...
DAN: Don't know if he plays, don't think so, but he's awesome at recording them.
JOE: i'm not sure Rikki would take in the mad knowledge anyway. Who knows.
RICHARD: Eek, burn.
DAN: Be prepared though, Shettleston is like Mordor and the recording studio is essentially a junkies attic with really crap John Lennon posters.
JOE: Really!? That sounds ace. I'm going to document the whole thing with my shit camcorder.
DAN: That'll be a short movie. You either record music, annoy Ross for a while or you sit hugging your knees whilst crying. Theres really nothing to do.
RICHARD: I'll bring my mum's DS then.
JOE: That sounds good though, i'm well into just going at it full force until i can't play anymore due to starvation/tiredness.
DAN: Have you heard much of Ross' stuff? What are you expecting?
JOE: Hmm, well we've heard your stuff and Hyena's EP, that's about it though i think. I'm really flattered that he asked us down to be honest.
DAN: how did you enjoy your recent short tour? How did you cope with some poor fees (if you don't mind me saying) and does it put you off touring or does it just make you stronger?
JOE: I thought it was great fun! I think we all did. It totally makes a difference when you're playing a few shows with good friends, everything is so much less of a hassle. My stress levels when playing shows are a lot lower than they used to be.
RICHARD: Yeah. Thankfully the awesome promoter in Glasgow (shout out to John at Hardwork!) meant we offset the costs of the other gigs.
JOE: Yeah totally, he saved our guts.
RICHARD: And fed them.
JOE: I guess the shit fee thing does get your down, just because you sometimes feel you're being taken for a ride - but in general i guess it's not that important.
RICHARD: Yeah, i mean like everything else you know there are some people who literally can't pay you, and people who just don't. I'm sure every band gets ripped off, no matter who they are, so it's just a given that's not really the be all and end all!
JOE: i think if Hines didn't rent us his van/drive for us we'd pretty much be screwed.
DAN: Like us!
RICHARD: I guess with any sort of creative pursuit, you can't really expect to make a decent amount of money for a while, if at all!
DAN: Any bands you're too intimidated by to play with?
JOE: i'll play a show with any band, as long as their nice guys/girls. I don't think we'd be scared to play with anybody. I mean, every massive band is made up of a bunch of regular people (unless they're insane or something) - so i'd just treat it like i was making a new friend or something, i dunno?
RICHARD: Playing with Sebadoh is pretty nervewracking! It totally depends on the show really. I mean, i think it'd be hard to turn down supporting Razorlight at Wembley, for the lol factor, but it'd be easy to turn down playing with Razorlight if they were just some local band playing at some wee venue in town. Most people are nice, anyway.
DAN: How did the Sebadoh show come about?
JOE: Mr T. phoned Richard and just asked if we wanted to play i think, which is odd, but in a great way.
RICHARD: Haha yeah.
JOE: Greatly odd. That should be the name of our next release. I'm basically just over the moon that i might get to see 'Soul And Fire' live. Like, infront of my face. I might ask him to sing it on his knees... with a rose behind his ear...
RICHARD: I was pleased that Sebadoh were playing in Scotland, let alone the fact we get to see them for free, or play to a bunch of people earlier on!
DAN: I am very old. I saw Sebadoh 12 years ago! Hahaha.
JOE: Really!? I envy you greatly.
DAN: What other non-Glasgow or awesome Aberdeen bands are you liking just now?
RICHARD: PVH obviously. Without sounding like a dick, i don't think any of us really go and 'check out' new bands or anything. Like, i maybe recognise 5 or 6 names on posters.
JOE: The Jinx - or have they split up now? They were good, they sounded like Hood and stuff.
RICHARD: I think The Jinx have split up, but they were good. They sounded like an Anticon band with a Scottish Ian Curtis on vocals and every time they'd play, their songs would have completely different arangements. I think Aberdeen has a lot more hobby bands, than say Glasgow. Not in a bad way at all, there are just a lot of bands that are happy playing the odd local show here and there. There are a fair few ace bands that aren't from Glasgow - Eagleowl from Edinburgh are ace. Jesus H Foxx from Edinburgh, The Xcerts, 2/3 of them are from aberdeen.
DAN: So, Scotland rules ok? Despite the fact there are very few labels with any money and virtually no music press either. What do you make of that and having to look towards England for any real exposure? Is that difficult being based so far up north?
JOE: I like that scotland isn't like London etc. It's better not having those kind of pressures. If the music is good enough then nothing else really matters. Haha, do i sound like a hippy?
RICHARD: Yeah, i mean, compared to Wales or Ireland, Scotland is probably better. And it makes sense that the music business is based in the capital of the UK. But without sounding like one of those red faced man Armando Iannucci talks about, i think Scotland punches above it's weight musically, in terms of population/infrastructure.
JOE: There are more important things to worry about really aren't there. I mean, Scotland gave birth to Lulu.
DAN: Always so positive, i loves it. You guys personify the word 'chillax'!
RICHARD: I hate that word!
JOE: Hey c'mon, 'chillax' is a nice word.
RICHARD: Every time i hear it i see that guy from Scrubs' smug face. That never-nude.
DAN: I think that's the first time i've ever said it.
JOE: I think i'm pro 'chillax'. I think i'm even more pro 'STOKED' though. Stoked is probably my favorite word right now.
DAN: I want to ask fun questions, but i'm ill and not so much fun right now. Fave Youtube videos then. Go!
JOE: There's meant to be an awesome video of a woman accidentally swallowing a microphone at some wedding. Oh my God, oh my God, look at this... http://youtube.com/watch?v=gSZHo_hh83g
RICHARD: So i've been watching Lily Allen and Kate Nash videos. And also, Ellen Page video interviews, she's really funny. I've noticed that she does that thing where, she'll call someone a 'silly Steven' or 'racist Richard' etc. Christ, i sound really lonely with my youtubing. GIRLZ.
DAN: Do you have a girlfriend, Richard?
RICHARD: No i'm afraid we're all stereotypical losers...
JOE: I don't have a girlfriend, i haven't had one in about 2 years, it's sad. Rikki just got a new one! What a lad!
RICHARD: ...Listening to Dino Jr and watching videos of girls on youtube, thats
Richard. Not any girls though!
DAN: Aw. Plenty of time.
RICHARD: Exactly. I pick girls that are around my age too, so at least it's more realistic than Monroe, say. The dead don't say no, though...
JOE: Girlfriends can be fucking annoying though, really, i mean, lets be honest.
RICHARD: Yeah. I just want to be married and be done with it. I can't be bothered with the exciting stuff at the start, then the arguments. Old couples look the happiest.
JOE: Old couples look like they can't be bothered finding anyone else.
DAN: This has gone ultra-sad.
RICHARD: I don't think i really go out much, so i can't really complain about meeting people. Joe coming round to play Guitar Hero does not qualify as socialising. Or a date. Unfortunately.
DAN: So, you don't have many friends outwith the band?
JOE: Haha, yeah i pretty much don't have any other friends. Like, in the world.
RICHARD: I think it's good though. Not what you just said, that's dead sad. Thanks a bunch. *deleted from facebook*, *myspace*, *last.fm* *...bebo?*
DAN: Richard, what are you gibbering on about?
JOE: Ignore Richard, for your own good.
DAN: Do you guys fight much?
JOE: I don't think we fight, but i usually end up sounding like a dick when i'm trying to suggest an idea. I think i just tend to sound like a dick in general. Maybe that's why i don't have a girlfriend haha.
RICHARD: I think it works quite well in that, Joe and i probably check the myspace etc. the most. So we both normally know about most things. So it's not just one person standing up at practice and reading the minutes.
JOE: Yeah for sure - i hate repeating news 3 times. It hurts.
DAN: The other dudes aren't online much?
RICHARD: I'm not sure if they have computers/internets in their flat. They do in Stonehaven. And with the whole being friends thing, most things kind of just come up. Like, 'hear about that Sebadoh show?!' rather than sending out an email saying 'point of business no.3 - Sebadoh show'.
JOE: Yeah i think sometimes i get pretty annoying due to the fact i only ever think or talk about music stuff.
DAN: Have you heard the new Silver Jews album yet?
RICHARD: I don't want to talk about the new silver jews album yet. Only listened to it twice. Both times i felt disappointed!
JOE: Not given it a good listen yet though. I'm waiting for a sunny day, i'll give it a good walk. I'm looking forward to loving it.
RICHARD: I think i probably do like it though. I've not disliked a Silver Jews song, let alone an album, yet.
JOE: I can't get out of this Adam Green rut i'm in though. It's starting to scare me. *Puts Adam Green on*
DAN: Oh yeah Joe, i really love the lyric "im the shit on your shoes, youre the shit on mine" from 'You Are My Coalmine'. Is that just a random thing or is it about anything?
JOE: Thanks, i just like that it has the word 'shit' in it. But yeah, that line is about relationships in general (how cliched).
DAN: Its the sound of the 'shit-shoes-shit-mine' bit thats great. If that makes any sense.
RICHARD: Yeah, *gets into english tutorial mode* *nods head and pretends he's done the reading*
JOE: Its meant to be a bit of a 'your fucked with or without them' kind of deal. It's pretty emo.
RICHARD: Imagine finding someone like that though? A femme fatale. I'd hate that.
DAN: Any final words to blether on our blog?
JOE: Prostitute fingers, mexican waitress, militant families, bursting with jews. Those are my final words - i'll have them on my headstone.
RICHARD: Wow, i've received a new email from 'Betty Davis'. She's always getting in touch.