American rockers Hoobastank returned to the UK for the first time in four years on a co-headline tour with Buckcherry and Adelitas Way. Dave sat down with lead vocalist Doug Robb and lead guitarist Dan Estrin ahead of their show in Nottingham. Read the review here and the interview here:
Dave: You’re coming to the end of the tour, how’s it gone?
Doug: Honestly, I’m having a great time. We go home in a couple of days. Usually, by this point, we are really excited to go home and kinda counting to it but I think all of us are kinda sad about it.
Dan: The tour has been a lot of fun, we’ve been fortunate to have had days off in really great locations, even show days have been in great locations too. People here are great and the food has been amazing!
Have you got any particular highlights?
Dan: It’s just been great, performing live again, consistently night after night is a lot of fun. I get genuinely excited to get on stage but I also get excited to get off it too as we have such a great community among all the crew where there is a strong bond between us so I love hanging out with everyone and seeing the other bands and all of that. I don’t think I could put my finger one moment though.
Doug: Yeah definitely. I think most people would assume the most exciting thing for a performer is the show, like it’s all about the show ya know but in reality, the show is just one aspect of our enjoyment. As Dan said, you get to spend time with friends and see other bands and travelling to different cities is all-encompassing as to why it’s been a lot of fun. It’s not all about the show, although the shows have been great.
How much time do you get off to travel and explore?
Dan: We had all of yesterday off while we were here so we had 24 hours off exploring here so that was cool.
Doug: Yeah and even on show days, sometimes the band doesn’t need to anything until like 5 pm so we often have that time to go and explore or we can just sit on the bus and play video games. Either way, it’s a win!
I know it’s been out for a while now but we haven’t had a chance to discuss your latest album (Push/Pull) feel a bit more of a step away from what you’ve done before, is that fair?
Dan: Yeah, I think there is a different sounding approach than in the past but also because it’s like our children we’ve watched from being like a seed, it doesn’t seem to us like as big a jump.
Was that change intentional or was it more organic?
Dan: Definitely more organic. It goes back to being like the seed, whereas someone from outside the band might not hear our music for 5 years or whatever, we are around it every single day in some way whether that’s as individuals or working on ideas as a group. For example with ‘Better Left Unsaid’ I had a demo of that in like 2013.
Doug: Yeah this album is full of ideas which are 6, 7 years old ideas wise. We really took our time over it. We also didn’t want to change too much like if we felt ‘ this song isn’t heavy enough’ or whatever whereas in the past we did or I did certainly. Sometimes I would be like, ‘it needs more guitar, or it needs more this’ but this time our producer was adamant that we let the song be what it’s going to be rather because it’s still you. You don’t have to rely on what you ‘think’ you sound like so that’s probably why it feels more diverse.
Dan: Yeah and I also feel we’ve always had that. From the first record, we’ve had people coming up to us saying ‘that’s too poppy’ etc. I mean from when ‘Crawling In The Dark’ became big we had those who we were there’s. They found us before we became ‘mainstream’ and then when ‘Running Away’ hit the radio, some people criticised it for being too melodic so I feel that’s been our entire career.
You obviously released it through Napalm which on the surface seems like a strange pairing, what’s your relationship with them like?
Doug: It’s strange under the surface too! (laughs) No, as far as band/label relationships are it’s good. I feel bands often complain about record companies being to hands-on and micro-managing but we definitely don’t get that from them and are happy for us to work to our deadlines.
Our previous album was more of a business partnership with a friend of our managers. After that, we kinda wanted to go back to a label and being honest they were the first ones there. We weren’t thinking ‘We need to get on a heavy label’, in fact when they expressed an interest, it came as a shock.
Dan: They were looking to step outside of their box and expand a bit more. But it’s been really fun working with them although the best bit about it was seeing how offended some of the metal fans got!
You’ve been going since 1994, in a market which has seen many bands fall away. what’s the secret of your longevity?
Doug: Have one really, really really huge song (Laughs). That helps a lot! Beyond that, I think, don’t read your press clippings, good or bad. Whether people say you suck or the best band in the world, fuck them. You do you. There will always be people who appreciate what you do and people who hate it so don’t listen to them and be yourself.
Dan: If you lead with the statement ‘I can’t wait until I’m famous’, then you should piss off. It should never be about that.
For those who haven’t see you before, what can we expect from your live show?
Doug: We’ve been told, literally since 1996, before we even had a record album that we were heavier than they were expecting. I think people have a certain image of us so when they see us live, they are usually like ‘oh they aren’t as soft as I thought’ and in some cases as much as they hoped! but that’s the one thing I think to expect.
And finally, is there anything we haven’t covered that you want to say to our readers?
Dan: It’s weird, I’ve noticed particularly on the run that people will tag us on Instagram and stuff whilst at the show and say they’re big fans and been waiting 15 years for this etc and then you click on their profile and they’re not following us. And I’m like FUCKING FOLLOW US’ (laughs). You’re a fan of the band, follow the band on social media. Maybe they don’t give a shit but if you’re leading with ‘that was such a great concert, I’ve waited for years’. We are in the age, you don’t have to ask us when we are playing near you, follow us and we will let you know but we do appreciate those who do.
That’s rounded us off, thank you so much for taking the time to speak us!
Dan: Thank you very much