Interview: Hundred Days

Hundred DaysMission Exodus, burlesque dancers, Sons of Anarchy, James Bond and Stu’s mum’s music tastes… Nipping in to disrupt their rehearsal at Orchard Studios, Arran Dutton of The Fix caught up with Yeovil rock outfit Hundred Days to find out about their music video and free downloads on offer from Okay, Hundred Days, how would you describe your music to those who aren’t aware of what you do? Si: Classic rock influence with a bit of metal in there as well. Ryan: Yeah, definitely Rock. Stu: All of our favourite things. Who influences you and which artists do you respect within the industry? Stu: I think our contemporary bands are perhaps The Answer, in some ways Foo Fighter-y kind of stuff. Bands like Airborne, who have got like that classic edge. But then there are lots of other bands you could draw on. Ryan: You can draw on a lot of classics. Best way I’ve heard us described is crossed between Led Zeppelin and with the modern Foo Fighters sound. We keep it as straight and no nonsense rock as possible. In 2011 you brought out your most recent album ‘Mission Exodus’, what was the reaction like? Si: Yeah, it was really good. The reaction from people who have picked it up and listened to it has been overwhelmingly positive. There have been some really good reviews, plenty of stuff online about it. Of course it wasn’t to everybody’s taste but that’s to be expected. Stu: You can’t please people all the time can you? Ryan: Four out of five would say it was excellent, the best album they’ve ever heard, and then the fifth one would absolutely slate it. There’s no middle of the road review. Stu: You want some people to hate it. If no one hates it then it’s not quite as special for those who really like it. Ryan: That’s an interesting take. Stu: Well, you know, when you’re younger you draw lines. I don’t personally, but you’ll get indie guys who hate you if you like metal, but you start to appreciate a wider influence as you grow older. Ryan: Basically, if your mum likes it it’s time to rethink. Si: As long as your folks don’t understand what you’re doing it’s fine. Stu: My mum never listens to the album, as much as she tries to insinuate that she has [mimics] “Oh yes, dear, I have” – No you fucking ain’t. Gets through half a track and then switches it off? Stu: Yeah – “it’s too loud and slightly offensive” – you sing about something serious and she thinks it’s a bit too course. What has been the highlight for you since the album came out? Si: We’ve done a couple of short tours that we put together ourselves after the release. We also wrote a couple of new songs; just starting to drip-feed the new stuff out there. We’re looking to grow our fan base and awareness so we’ve been working with some PR companies which has been really helpful for us. You’ve been involved with Animal Farm haven’t you? Si: They recorded three of the tracks off ‘Mission Exodus’ for us and gave us a little bit of help with the production and gave us a few pointers within the industry. Ryan: They’re sort of gurus. You email them and they come back with useful information. Si: They’re kind of like mentors. Stu: We did have a fantastic laugh with them. Proper taking the piss! We ended up with this really great atmosphere there. Ryan: If you’ve got the wrong sense of humour you shouldn’t work with them! On the day we met him the producer just walked into the room, didn’t say a word, stuck his middle finger up at us and just walked out again. [Laughs] Si: We keep in touch with them regularly. You said about touring, what sort of areas did you cover? Ryan: It was the South, Bristol to London. Places like Portsmouth on the way. We did two five date mini tours. The London stuff was good. Si: We got some good photos, got some good reactions, sold a few CDs. Stu: BMAD was probably my favourite gig. Si: That was great fun. Ryan: Yeah, Paington bike festival. Stu: Bikers make a difference. They raised an amazing amount of money and there were so many people there who were like a tailor made audience. We’re a dirty rock band and we go in there and play the stuff they wanna hear and there’s like a horde of them with long hair and leather jackets. They got well into it! It sounds like you might fit in well to the TV series Sons Of Anarchy Stu: Well, if we get a call… It’s a good show. Stu: We’ll get on that [Laughs] Why not? You might make it in for the last series… Anyway, you played with Pineapple Thief last week. How did that go? Ryan: It was really good. Pineapple Thief are going on a European tour and this was the first date [The Quicksilver Mail, Yeovil]. We’re friends with them. Our first gig with Hundred Days, Bruce came and opened up with some acoustic slots for us. It was great to have someone with a label, an endorser, someone who gets sent instruments to play. It’s really nice to have him do that. Si: Yeah, Bruce has been really supportive to us throughout. If you look through some of the artwork in the album sleeves you can see he’s actually wearing a Hundred Days t-shirt as well. Stu: Wahey! [Laughs] Excellent. So you’ve got a new video out now haven’t you? Si: We have. It’s out now on our website and on YouTube. It’s for “Whatever Happened To You?” off ‘Mission Exodus’, that quirky song in the middle that’s not like any of the other stuff. Stu: A little bit of jazz… If it’s not like any of the other songs, why did you decide to make a video for that one? Ryan: It got such a good response. Stu: You couldn’t take the piss in quite the same way as we did with that song. It sounds the way it did because we take the piss out of people like Rod Stewart who made albums like ‘The Great American Songbook’. Ryan: People that used to be rock stars and now just release Christmas albums… Si: It’s a song that everyone switches on to. Ryan: The last one we did had really heavy content so we thought we’d do a bit more of a light-hearted one. So we thought we’d do a low budget, cheap video for the silly one and we’re still planning a big follow up for the video for the ‘Mission Exodus’ title track, but ideas got flowing and the silly video became a full on big production. Stu: So the real answer to the question is because it’s a laugh… Si: You can check out ‘The Making Of…’ online as well. Check it out (Details below). Stu: We essentially turned the Labour Club in Yeovil into a film studio. They had all this equipment out. It was really quite clever. I learnt a lot from watching these guys do stuff, rolling cameras around… Ryan: Yeah, we’re a local band and we walk in and find a film set with camera on rails and huge lighting rig… Who produced it? Si: The director was Graham Trott, who lives near Yeovil. He’s a photographer and filmmaker. We got in touch with him after a gig we did at The Foresters in Yeovil a while ago. Somebody said we had to go and chat to their mate who would do us a great video, so we did and it turns out he was actually quite good. Stu: We had an audience setting in this because it’s on a stage, and we had friends turn up on the day having just been called, which was great because we [laughs], well, we realised we didn’t have enough people about an hour before and a few turned up. Of course, we had a couple of lovely ladies, but I don’t want to say too much if you haven’t seen it already… Hundred DaysThat’s a good way to promote it right there – Lovely ladies, get across to the website… Stu: Yeah, it won’t disappoint you. Even if you turn the sound right the way down because it’s not like the rest of our stuff for some reason, you’d still enjoy it [laughs] Si: Oddly, the same thing happened as with the reviews; we released a sneak preview to get a bit of attention on it and people clicked the dislike button on YouTube the first time they saw it. We had five comments saying how it was ‘excellent’ and then one that hated it. Ryan: We had a burlesque dancer in front of us while we were playing and they said we were using it as a sex ad… Stu: For them as a business or for us? Like, “check out the Hundred Days girls, OH YEAH!… These girls will be on tour with us!” [laughs] Let haters hate – That’s what I say. You’re working on new material at the moment for the follow up to ‘Mission Exodus’ and you’ve got a track to download on the website. Can you tell us more? Si: Yeah, “Monster In Me” is available to download from the website now. That’s our little experiment to kick off the production for the new album. Ryan: It’s not going to be on the album, just something in between. We did it here [Orchard Studios], the last album we wrote songs, gigged them, recorded them over a year and then had them on the album. We wanted to see what would happen if we just went into the studio without a song. We just wrote a song in the studio to experiment. Si: Deep Purple style. Ryan: Exactly. We slept in here overnight. I slept with the drums. Went to bed about 4 in the morning and then got up and recorded the rest. When do you expect the new album to surface? Ryan: It’s gonna be 2014. As Hundred Days this will be our fourth release. Including our previous band with a different name [X Teller] it’ll be our fifth or sixth. So we’ve been through this process. Stu: If you include EPs it’s been more like seven or eight. Ryan: This time we are going to do it differently as we are going to write the whole album before we start recording anything. We’ll do demos so we have the album down, but then when it’s finished we’ll record it properly in one big chunk. We’re still mid promoting ‘Mission Exodus’ so by the time its run its course the new one should be ready. Si: We’re gonna be releasing little things each month including acoustic versions of a track or the odd re-hash, we’re looking at doing a re-release of one of the tracks of our EP ‘Rise’ in the coming weeks as well. Stu: It’s gonna be “Just A Mission” which was our nod to James Bond songs… Ryan: We wanted to write a Bond theme but in our style rather than being too Hollywood. Stu: Last year was the big anniversary for Bond, so we thought we’d do a re-release, but bigger and more awesome. So now you’ve got Sons Of Anarchy on your list as well as the next James Bond movie? Ryan: [Laughs] The Bond franchise would be good… Have you got any gigs lined up around the South West in the next few months? Si: The Foresters in Yeovil on 16th March, but other than that we haven’t planned any big shows because we’re concentrating on the writing. What we’re going to be looking at doing is one show every three months or so in Yeovil or around the area. Ryan: We’re gonna keep recording, keep giving free stuff away, and do live gigs every now and then and build it up because then they’re packed. You can only play so many gigs in your hometown. Stu: You don’t want to be overexposed. Ryan: Exactly, if you do it once every now and again then everybody comes to that one gig. Si: I think that was the problem with Tabernacle Junction in Yeovil, they kept playing the same bands every other week and eventually no one turned up because they saw bands the week before. If we do one every three months then we can test new material and have a better turnout. Ryan: We’ve got a few summer festivals lined up, but we’ve been asked not to give details because it’s not allowed to get out. I’ll give you a clue though – it’s not Glastonbury. [Laughs] Stu: I just wanna play High Voltage. That’s my thing. One last question then, and sorry, but I’m going to divert attention away from the band; which local artists would you recommend? Si: Bandwise there’s a couple of great young bands like Makeshift People, who support us, we like them. Ryan: They’re annoyingly talented for their age. They’ve been supporting us for ages, we’ve been playing with them for like two or three years and it came to the last gig and the landlord complained because they were too young at the bar. We were like “how old were you when you first started supporting us then?” Si: Yeah right, they must have been like fourteen. Ryan: But yeah, they’re really good. Not to disrespect, but at the other end of the age spectrum there’s Smoking Gun, we play with them quite a lot and they do a lot of their own original writing now. Solo, you’ve got Runaway, Tim Reese. Both really good. There’s also Laz Clemence, the old boy, who’s in the video. And what did he say about the ladies in the video? Stu: Oh, he enjoyed them most of all. It was a case of us saying, “I think we’ve got it Laz”, but he’d be like, “Are you sure? I think we should do another take…” [Laughs] If you watch the video you’ll see why! Right, I think we should leave it there on another plug for the video. Thanks for your time, Hundred Days! To find out more about Hundred Days visit their official website – you can find free downloads, gig listings, social networking details and that video there now!