With their new EP We Will Fight You just released, and another, These Walls Will Shout, available at their upcoming shows, we threw a few questions to Jack Hooker from Wellington-based duo The Shocking and Stunning.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to since the release of your last release? How long has your new EP We Will Fight You been in the works?
Our last EP 17th Century Disco Horse was released in September last year. Over that Summer we toured New Zealand, played some festivals and then headed over to Australia for a three week tour. We’ve taken a lot of this year out, partially because of everything else we had on, but mostly because it was a good time to work on new material and get a new set together.
We recorded some new tracks in May, which have gone unused. The EP as it is now has been coming together since about August.
How long did these songs take to come together? Was it a quick process or did you tool around with them for awhile?
The pieces themselves came together really quickly, mostly in a single jam or two. Sometimes its months between new tracks appearing, other times it happens straight away.
What’s it like when you’re writing new music? Who does it generally start with?
We write all of our music through jamming and refining. We setup, record the practice and go from there. Every so often something comes up that we think is worthwhile, and we’ll turn it into a piece. Sometime we have a preconceived idea of what we would like to do, but it usually doesn’t work out like that. It’s better just seeing what evolves.
Can you talk us through your recording setup? For the nerds out there, what sort of equipment are you using? Does this differ from your live setup?
We do all of the recording, mixing and mastering ourselves, with some help from friends along the way. We always start with the drums. For this EP we recorded drums with Joel Cosgrove (from Big Rick)’s setup/expertise. Once the drums are down, Jack begins overlaying his parts, and starts to get a mix going. The gear used is a mixture of synths (mix of hardware/software, higher-end gear and cheap distorted keyboards), found-sounds for textures, etc.
The studio setup is basically a more involved version of what we could do live. The live setup is live drums plus synth/sampler, where the studio setup becomes the live drums plus often dozens of layers of synths/textures.
You’re releasing another EP, These Walls Will Shout, in collaboration with The Attic. Can you tell us more about the idea behind that and why you settled on releasing it on cassette only?
We’ve been friends with The Attic pretty much since they began. We played their first Attic Rattle show in 2011, and then played their the year after that, and we’ve kept in contact with them since.
The Attic started doing limited-run cassette releases a few months ago, and got in touch with us about doing a limited live cassette. The A side is a live recording from the two Attic shows we did; the B side is a new piece which takes up the entire side. At about 30 minutes its the longest thing we’ve done yet. Doing a limited cassette means we can do something a little different/niche. The B side is designed as something people listen to throughout, rather than streaming for 30 seconds while browsing Facebook.
You’ve got a real distinctive sound and the EP length seems to compliment that. Was that intentional or would you eventually like to release something full-length?
We’ve done four EP’s now (six including the Attic release, and the New Light score we did last year). It’s been great doing the EP’s as we’ve been able to do something a bit different every time, then package it in a 20 minute release. After doing so many EP’s and trying out different things we’re ready to do a proper full-length, possibly even next year.
You recently collaborated with Tourettes too. Do you have any plans to reach outside the camp again and work with other artists?
For sure. We’ve also worked with Name UL, who has sampled ‘Danger!!’ on a track for his upcoming EP (releasing December 2nd). We’re keen to continue doing collaborations, which we’ll take as they come. We never thought about our sound working with rappers, nor that our sound could work for a nature documentary, but both have happened in the last year and they’ve both worked out well.
You’ve toured a bunch over the past couple of years. Any bands you wanna namecheck?
We’ve played with a lot of great local bands; The All Seeing Hand, Beastwars, Sunken Seas, Space Bats, Attack!, HDSPNS, Bad Blocks… too many to mention. Spermaids are an awesome Australian band who happen to be heading over here early next year.
What’s the next move for you guys?
We’re heading around the country for a few shows over the next couple weeks, then we’ll be doing a festival or two over summer. Next year we have plans for an album. We are also leading up to a European tour with Sunken Seas later in the year.
The Shocking and Stunning Tour Dates
Friday November 29 – Queens, Dunedin
The Attic Cassette Release w/ SpaceBats, Attack!
Saturday December 7 – Whammy Bar, Auckland
Muzai Christmas Show
Friday December 13 – Garrett Street, Wellington
Garrett Street House Party