Hailing mostly from the east side of Nottingham, Hardback Fiction have gone through various changes during the last few months. They have parted company with their original drummer Andy Lamb, and taken on board a new skin basher in the shape of Nigel Clarke. They have also added bassist Daryl Baxter.

This has changed their sound overnight. The original line up from which only vocalist Matt Johnson and guitarist Tim Kitson are left weren't as hard or tight-sounding as the current line-up. It always felt somehow that they were four individuals playing in separate rooms. They didn't seem to have the cohesion they have now.

I had seen them live on many occasions and, as they themselves admitted at the time, they were lacking something but no-one could put their finger on exactly what.

The changing of drummer has had a massive effect. It was not that Andy Lamb the original drummer wasn't good. He is a phenomenal drummer, but it was evident that he didn't want to progress and move on to bigger venues and everything seemed a little forced. Their sound essentially remained a pub sound while now it has become more epic and powerful.

Likewise the introduction of Daryl Baxter on bass has made them somehow sound again fuller and also in places funkier. The original group seemed to be battling against each other's sound, whereas this line up work together and are beginning to reap the benefits.

Writing and performing their own material, Hardback Fiction are starting to play bigger venues. Pennyblackmusic caught up with them at the Deerstock Festival to find out about this new look to the Hardback boys and where they are planning to go next...



PB: There has been a recent parting of the waves, hasn't there?

TK: Andy wanted to go and do his own thing which left us to recruit Nigel in his place. Daryl also joined the band a few months before Andy left.

PB: Nigel, what's your background?

NC: Well, just before joining the band I had had a long time off with having four kids. I actually taught myself to play drums and then bought a kit. I'd been in a couple of bands, one of which was a hardcore punk band which was fun.

PB: How do you think the changes in the band have affected you and how different are you from that original band?

TK: Everybody listens to one and another and there's more room now. Andy was and is a great drummer, but I think with Nigel coming in it has given us a more dynamic rockier edge to it.

MK: It has progressed into something more than it would have been.

PB: Would you say that your sound has totally changed from what it was?

MJ: Yeah, it has got a definite rock edge to it now. Whereas before it was sort of in between. There's some stuff we've left behind.

DB: Some of the things we left behind were a bit middle of the road really.

MJ: The biggest difference I feel now is that we all feed off each other more. It sounds wrong that but we do. In rehearsals and on stage there's a vibe about us now. There's such energy there.

DB: The good thing is that everybody plays their own instrument and trusts the other to do the same and we all get on doing just that. We respect each other's specialism in the context of the band. We trust each other.

TK: We trust each other to bring that positive energy to it.

PB: In what way?

NC: Just enthusiasm is enough and the skill it brings with it.I can't compare it to how it was because I wasn't in the band then, but I think we all get on really well. I always say it's like an equality. There's no one person in charge. It seems like an equal level.

MJ: Yeah, and there's such a relaxed feeling about everything from a writing point of view to rehearsals and gigging. Everything's chilled.

PB: Do you all have an input into the writing or is it a one person thing?

MJ: Generally we all have an input into it. How it works is that someone comes along with a riff or an idea, and generally it gets jammed out by the end of the night.

DB: Sometimes we'll just jam it out of nowhere. There's a couple of tracks which I'd written years ago that I brought to the band and which we've reworked. He always brought things together, but now other dynamic things happen.

It'll start of with, say, Nigel doing a crazy drum beat and it'll go from there. And I've never been in the situation where everyone plays together like that. Before someone had to say yes or no to it, but we don't do that anymore. We all collectively have a say and go, "Oh this is shit," and we all agree and move on to something else. Other times we all hit it and go, "This is amazing." We've got nearly two hours worth of tracks down now.

PB: Well, if you've got that much down can we see an album out soon?

DB: Oh, I wish we could! We are trying.

PB: Have you been in the studio lately?

TK: We went in and re-recorded 'Luminous Grey' which has moved on so much since its original conception, and then we recorded 'Vivian's Bridge' which is a monster track. It's not so much money with us, but the time to do it.

DN: We always like to finish off our sets with 'Vivian's Bridge'. It's got a kind of retro feel to it. But as Tim says we've probably got enough stuff, but it's just time to pull it all together.

I'd love to do it the way Pink Floyd did it, and just fuck off somewhere like a chateau for six months and come back with a album. Doggen, the guy who records us, is great. We can go in and record one or two tracks and he is really sympathetic to what we want to do.

It's just the time to do it. We record as a live band and don't do any of that individual recording shit, so we all have to be available. The good thing is that we know exactly what we want to do before we go in to the studio, so there's no fucking about and wasting money.

PB: Thank you.











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