U.K. indie punk rockers Hard-Fi played Montreal’s Le National on Tuesday, April 4, which was their first Canadian date on their current tour.
A few hours before show, guitarist Ross Philips said that the band was really looking forward to playing here, although they had never been here before. “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect to be honest, because we’ve never been here before. [But so far,] it’s been cool. There’s been lots of people at the shows and stuff. It’s been busy [and] the crowds [have] been good,” Phillips revealed.
What can fans expect at a typical Hard-Fi show? Philips described a performance by the foursome as one where they “strip it back from the album quite a lot. [We] turn the guitars up and stuff. It’s a more punk rock show [to] get the crowd going and a bit of a party,” he said.
The album that Philips is referring to is the group’s debut record, Stars of CCTV, which he said was written about the things that he and his fellow band members, vocalist Richard Archer, bassist Kai Stephens and drummer Steve Kemp, are close to, and are relevant to speak about. “We sing about what we know. [The album] is the kind of life we lived before now,” Philips explained.
Originating from Staines, a little town in west London that had no music scene and very little else to do except go drinking at the local pub at the end of the week, Philips said that Hard-Fi “sing about wanting to get out of this mundane sort of town life. There’s nothing there. There’s no venue for bands to play. It’s not like a ghetto or nothing like that, [but] it’s just a nine-to-five work place [where you] go out the weekend, get drunk at the same pub, and that’s it, you know what I mean? Which is cool if you like that but, we wanted more than that,” he said.
Hard-Fi also tackle more serious issues in a way that they hope people can relate to, but that also brings a unique standpoint to the foreground. Lyrics talk about unwanted pregnancy, suicide, and the materialism and consumerism of western culture; the latter topic explored in their recent single, “Cash Machine.” The song “Middle Eastern Holiday,” is inspired by the Iraq War, but takes things from “the perspective of a soldier,” instead of what it’s like to be watching, detached and unmoved from the outside. Seeing the faces of “20 year old blokes [on the telly and realizing], it could be me; it could be any of us out there,” Philips said.
When asked how he would define Hard-Fi’s sound, Philips said that because they listen to so many different things and their influences are so vast, that it’s really hard to pinpoint one particular category. Instead, they say they sound like Hard-Fi. “That’s what we call it cause it doesn’t sound like nothing else. We invented a new genre,” laughed Philips.
With respect to their new genre, the band definitely hopes that as many people as possible will get to experience their music. To make sure Hard-Fi is heard from far and wide, the band is ready to hit any and all international markets required so that they don’t have to go back and find “real” jobs. Philips admitted, “This is like a f*cking dream come true. Making music is all I’ve ever wanted to do, [so] I hope to be still making music 10 years down the line, whether we’re a big band or still doing what we’re doing [now].”
No matter what the future holds, “We’re going to give it everything we’ve got,” Philips concluded.
For more information on Hard-Fi visit www.hard-fi.com