After being captivated by their sound and on-stage presence not once, but twice, it’s an absolute pleasure to have an interview with Dead Naked Hippies on Record Weekly!
Hey guys, how are you all doing?
Hi! We’re alright thanks — as good as we can be given the current situation. It’s obviously a really challenging time for everyone.
It certainly is. How did you form as Dead Naked Hippies?
I wish there was a super interesting story, but there isn’t really, ha. We met at uni, played music together while we were there and actually lost touch for a while after we’d finished.
We’d all individually gone through a pretty shit time after uni, to be honest — we’d studied music, so the creative bubble was burst and it was off into the real world, so to speak. We got back in touch a couple of years after, and started the band with little expectation and just for fun really. Four years down the line, we’re still a thing so I guess it turned out alright!
Between you, did you always feel music was your path?
I think for me (Lucy) and (drummer) Jacob, we both picked up our instruments as young kids and it was a big part of our childhoods.
Admittedly, I was an extremely shy child — I loved to sing but the thought of performing/singing in front of people terrified me. I didn’t really perform all that much until we started this band (only when I had to at college/uni). It wasn’t easy for me and posed a huge challenge, but I was determined to overcome it.
Joe picked up the bass when he was 16, so I guess a little later, and he basically didn’t turn back… though he ended up on the guitar for DNH.
Which artists have been the biggest influences on your sound?
There isn’t necessarily a conscious effort to sound like artists that inspire us, but naturally I guess your influences manage to infiltrate your sound. I’m a huge Nine Inch Nails/Trent Reznor fan, and we all collectively love Deftones.
Discovering artists like PJ Harvey and Karen O in my teens was a game-changer for me — especially as a woman. It felt like I’d discovered other women who speak my language. I also love Thom Yorke/Radiohead.
Rather than solely being inspired by genre I’m a lover of message and the idea of reinvention; artists who are constantly pushing their own boundaries and moving into different territories.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing you play twice now — once supporting Avalanche Party and the other at Rifffest. Which gigs have been your most memorable so far?
Honestly, there are so many. I guess some for the wrong reasons and some for the right reasons — that’s the magic of live performance, the time, space and crowd, and how those things marry up (or don’t, ha!).
Our last headline show in Leeds was really special for us. We were just bowled over by the turnout and reaction, as it wasn’t expected. Truck Festival last year was special for us, too. Again, we turned up with no expectation but the crowd was so dedicated.
I mentioned to you, Lucy, that I’ve spoken to a fair few bands now who’ve been able to outline their unique and different experiences throughout this lockdown period. How have you generally coped?
Generally, we’ve coped alright. We’ve just had to adapt. I’d be lying if I said my mental health (and all of ours individually) hadn’t suffered, because I think that, in some way or other, just everyone has been affected. It hasn’t been an easy year at all, but there is comfort in knowing that everyone is in this together.
Our lives before this year had been stacked with juggling the band alongside day jobs. We’ve always played tonnes of shows, so it’s been really weird to slow down in that respect and have some time to reflect.
We’re definitely trying to take the positives and silver linings of this time. We’ve been experimenting more, testing our skills and own self-sufficiency, and I think our perspectives on what we want DNH to be and where we’re going has altered as a result of it.
We released a self-produced re-work of one of our tracks earlier this year, which was a pretty big deal for us — everything else we’ve ever released, we’ve collaborated with producers and filmmakers to put together the track and visual. This was the first time we did everything ourselves from home. It felt super liberating to share it.
Have you experienced any difficult times in the industry before this pandemic?
Yeah, absolutely. I say that because I think it’s so crucial to be transparent about these things in an industry that thrives on glorification and, I guess, that all-important ‘momentum’.
I distinctly remember a piece of advice given to us when we started out, which was something along the lines of “even if you don’t know what you’re doing/what’s happening next, just lie and pretend that you do”. That was totally fine for the first year as a band, but after x-amount of years, it gets pretty damn tiring trying to pretend you’ve got it all figured out, ha.
The reality is that it’s difficult to operate in the industry, at any level, and especially at a grass roots level. We’ve had plenty of knock-backs and barriers to overcome. I think, because of them, we’ve become resilient, stronger and more concerned about doing things on our own terms. Hoping I’m not coming across super cynical here, but I don’t want to give off that it’s all rainbows and butterflies, because it’s not!
If you could curate your own fantasy festival, who would be your three headliners?
Lets go with: Nine Inch Nails, Björk and LCD Soundsystem. That’d be pretty great.
Without probing for too much info, what’s next on the agenda for Dead Naked Hippies?
We’re focusing our energies where it counts at the moment: writing and demoing new music, and working towards a body of work.
We’ll also be releasing another self-produced track before the year is out, which we’re very excited about!