Hookworms is a 5-member psych-punk/kraut/noiserock band from Leeds, England. Despite their very powerful sound Hookworms is not the most well-known psych-influenced bands around. But that may change very soon.
Hookworms have an aura of certain mystique about them. Indeed, during four years I’ve waited for Hookworms’ new music, I’ve started to see the band as the friend you haven’t seen in a long time but who left a lasting impression back then.
Hookworms’ music changes shapes like elements, it’s fluently beautiful and robust at the same time, it transforms between mesmerizing anthems and unstoppable kraut energy –and the icing on the cake is singer MJ‘s amazing vocals that sound like Zach De La Rocha‘s just-as-wild-but-much-more-British relative. Albums Hookworms (2011) and Pearl Mystic (2013) are particularly powerful.
After The Hum (2014) Hookworms have been making new music and done a bit of touring. They’ve also faced troubles: their studio got wrecked by a flood but luckily, with the help of their fans, they managed to rebuild it. After four years, Hookworms are back with new music. We had the chance to ask them some questions about their new album that introduces a “seismic” change to their sound, as described by their record company Domino. The band members go by their initials. My mail was replied by either JN, JW, MB, MJ, or SS.
Kolmas korva: So, how are you doing? How’s Leeds (presumably)?
Hookworms: “Hello, we’re OK. Leeds is very cold at the moment, but probably not as cold as Helsinki?”
What have you been up to after The Hum (2014)? Looking as a fan from the remote Finland it feels as if you guys have been a bit off the radar.
“After The Hum came out we did a bit of touring and some festivals. Our studio flooded on Boxing Day 2015 so we were out of action for the best part of 7 months in 2016.
A few of us released some records with our other bands (Cowtown, Family Scraps, Xam Duo), then we started writing and recording the new album which took a couple of years to make. Now the boys are back in town.”
For me, your style of combining echoing noise sounds with kraut-influenced psychedelia has always been very powerful. Can you name a few of your major influences?
“El Faro, Square Mile, M&S Service Stations, Backflip Madness, Roland synthesizers and Kanye.”
Two singles you have published so far from Microshift had new nuances in them. They sound more rhythmic, more electronic, more danceable than many of your previous songs. Negative Space is so energizing we actually used it in our Party Mixtape.
The music video of Static Resistance shows a guy living in a fast-paced rat race limbo.
Can you tell us about the creation of Microshift and the themes you want to speak about in your new music?
“Microshift was made quite differently to our last two albums. We used the studio and computer as more of an instrument, building up lots of short loops, and much of the initial writing was with synthesizers, drum machines and samplers which we’ve never done before.
Something pumping enough that you can run to it, Exercise Rock.
The intention was to make something more upbeat; body music but through the lense of a rock band. Something pumping enough that you can run to it, Exercise Rock. The lyrical themes of the record include but are not limited to: anxiety, body image, grief, relationship break-ups, opening up to others, wanting to escape the life you’ve built, and all the other things that poor mental health can entail.”
Hookworms’ new album Microshift out 2nd of February via Domino Records.