Six years in the making, south-coast rockers Hypophora are about to unleash a debut album that tracks the various sounds and influences that have honed the band as we now know it.
It’s coming up to a year since we introduced you to the band’s 90s guitar throwback sound and, with debut album Douse due for release one month today (21 September), we decided it was high time for a catch-up.
The quartet first began when vocalist Katie McConnell and Karum Cooper (guitar and yelling – their words) formed a band back in 2012 and played a few pubs, weddings and birthdays. But Hypophora kicked into hyperdrive when they joined Truro College and added Lewis Pilcher (bass) and James Farmer (drums) to the mix, began recording songs and playing gigs across the south-west.
Debut album Douse sounds like being an assortment of styles and approaches from across the Hypophora lifecycle. As Katie explains: “We see this album as being an assorted collection of everything Hypophora have done, from its inception all the way up to the modern days. Maybe the listeners – except those who know us personally – won’t be able to discern which songs were written in which ‘era,’ so to speak, but it’s a really nice way to say ‘THIS IS US’ and show a wide variety of our material that is exactly the sort of thing you’d expect to see from a live show.
“That being said, there are some songs on there that haven’t been heard, which will hopefully make for some exciting surprises and reactions! We’ve been sitting on this album for a while now. It was a lot of fun recording these tracks and I’m hoping people will enjoy hearing them as much as we’ve enjoyed the whole process of writing, recording and performing them.”
The most recent taster of what’s to come on the new album is latest single Spires, which was released back in June. A gradually building opening verse ends on a big wail from Katie, then a smash of guitars that drop into another winding verse of great vocals. Huge high-pitched vocals “Home is where the heart is” are followed by more intense repeats of “This place is mine” over heavy guitars, before dropping into a meandering guitar lick then explodes into a big rocky blast to finish. Check it out in the video below.
We asked the band what their favourite track from the album, and which ones they’re most loo. Lewis told us: “It’s rather hard to pick one favourite as I like them all for very different reasons, though ultimately I’m a big fan of the lead single Spires. I feel it really showcases all of our different musical stylings and dynamics really well all in one song!”
While Katie adds: “I think overall my favourite song from the album is Chemical X. It has such a nice riff (well done Lewis) and it builds so satisfyingly – the vocals were so much fun to record layer upon layer. A close second is Smiling (Numb) due to the raw feel of it.
“I’m most looking forward to people discovering the hidden album track gems which no one’s heard before – To Hear; Listen and Cars Run on Friendship for example.”
And Karum agrees with this last point: “My favourite is Cars Run On Friendship. Easily the most ‘progressive’ song on the record because of that outro. It’s got the weirdest selection of musical influences running through it, so much fun to play as well!”
We also got the band’s insight into creating their debut album, so for anyone looking to do the same, read on… The band told us: “Being in such close proximity for extended periods of time can sometimes be difficult, but ultimately it’s a very family-feeling bonding experience. Working together to achieve a goal and vision is a very rewarding feeling, and when you start hearing these ideas that may have started in very rudimentary forms in a bedroom (or something similar) now sounding massive, it’s a really great feeling.
“It can be difficult to know what to do when members view songs from drastically different viewpoints and have conflicting ideas, but as a band I think we’re very accommodating and try to aim for a ‘meet-in-the-middle’ viewpoint so that everyone’s happy.
“Putting each piece of a song together to make your vision for each track become reality is so rewarding. You often stumble across ideas or sounds that completely change what you originally wanted to do and that’s a really fun part of the whole experience. Our biggest struggle I think was time – we had 12 days to record this album, which is actually not that long for the amount we wanted to do and all of the extra layers and finishing touches we wanted to add on! Katie actually had to send the backing vocals for one track over email to Peter Miles (our producer) after we’d left because we ran out of time in the studio, but I think we did a pretty good job considering the time restraints.”
There’s plenty coming up for Hypophora, with a series of festivals including Burn It Down Festival in Torquay, Turbulence Festival in Plymouth and Venomfest in Bristol alongside big names like Mallory Knox, Dream State, Hawthorne Heights, Hacktivist and many more. They’ll also be playing some album release gigs at the end of next month and into October, taking in Manchester, London, Truro, Torquay, Bristol as well as new cities to them, including Southampton, Frome and Bath, with the likes of our boys in Chapter & Verse. More info on all their upcoming gigs is here.