Today’s Featured Artist – INTERVIEW – Hootin

Tell us about:

Your latest single you have released:

My latest release is a single titled The New Queen which I released on May 6th of this year. I have always had a difficult time describing my style. The best term I can come up with is “Expressive Alternative”. What I mean by that is I want each of my songs to have a concrete idea behind them. My goal when writing and recording a track is to have that idea expressed through both the lyrics AND the instrumentation. The New Queen is a fictional narrative about the unfair state of politics today. How despite the claims of representational governments, so often they are anything but. The lyrics tell a ‘tongue and cheek’ story about taking the place of the queen of England and destroying the system from within. Not only am I quite proud of the lyrics and their message, I feel I was successfully able to create a driving yet introspective musicality that matches the tone and timbre to give the message more power.

Your first single and how you felt when it was released:

The first major thing I released wasn’t actually a single but an album called Exit Conditions. This was really the start of this “Hootin” music adventure. Before that I had always been in bands, usually the drummer. It was always a lot of fun but when collaborating you can kind of hide behind your group. This album was the first time I’d really exposed my self like this. Let people really judge something that I had put my heart into. Something that I thought really represented me and my style. It’s intimidating; there is nothing or no one else to hide behind. I’m very proud of it, I had a lot of help from a lot of great musicians putting it together and I got a lot of support from friends, family and the Vancouver music community. 

Your favourite song that you have created that is an album track:

I am really proud of the first track off my recent album “Exit Conditions” titled Wisdom. It is about the exchange that we all make: the time we have left on earth, for the experience we gain. It’s a sort of transaction we all make throughout our lives, but affects each of us differently. I want each listener to reflect on their own transactions: how it shaped them. The instrumentation underneath is driving yet jagged, much like the ups and downs of life; I think it really did what I set out to do, get an idea across.

Your favourite song to play live:

Though I think my style is far, far from country or anything like it, Chris Stapelton has this amazing song called “You should probably leave”, he recently put out a super commercialized version that’s super lame, but in his live performances years ago he would do a much more organic and heartfelt version. I LOVE performing it. It’s easy to sing, easy to remember all the lyrics, its passionate and there is an easy to visualize narrative. I love everything about it. 

Your most emotional track:

I think that title probably goes to “Say What You Will”, the final track from Exit Conditions

The best lyric you have ever written:

From track 6 (Babs) on Exit Conditions: “Some people put their finger up to see which way the wind is blowing, but forget to open the f*cking window first.”

Describe the feeling you get when you walk on stage to do a show:

Nerves, I’m always nervous and it never gets easier. I naturally have a terrible memory so I’m always terrified I’ll forget how one of my songs goes, or some important lyric. Between each song there is always this rollercoaster of emotion where I briefly feel elated that I managed to get through the last song unscathed, then there is a brief period of relaxation where I engage the crowd, then shear terror right before starting the next track that I’ll forget how to play it. I think it’ll put me in an early grave hahaha.

The hardest track to play live:

I’m not performing at the moment. I’m mostly focused on writing and recording so a lot of my new music hasn’t been played live but I would wager that Wisdom, the first track from Exit Conditions will probably be the hardest. It’s rhythmically very syncopated. Singing while playing a syncopated guitar part is always tricky. 

Essential items you always take on tour with you?

Allergy meds. I have terrible hay fever and I’ve performed at hundreds of music festivals. Festival planners love to put hay down on areas they think are going to get saturated with rain. I’m allergic to hay so it can make for a miserable weekend if I don’t have a solid supply of antihistamines. Even thinking about hay makes me sneeze. 

Describe your fans in three words:

Compassionate, loyal, friends

A song by another artist or band you wish you had written:

Old Friends by Pinegrove

What we can look forward to from your band this year:

There is a lot of new music coming this year. I am releasing a new single every 3-4 months. I’m really excited about the next one which should be in September but I won’t give away any details just yet!

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