The UK currently boasts an embarrassment of riches in the currency of intellectual post-punk. Dead Slow Hoot channel the same frantic, wordy energy as the likes of Do Nothing and Talk show, infused with the more melodic vocal swing of bands like Interpol and Editors. New single ‘Gesticulating Wildly’ manifests the latter comparison in abundance, as frontman Hugo Lynch’s thoughtful songwriting paths the way for 90 seconds of labyrinthine, distorted guitar to play out the track’s climax.
We caught up with the Sheffield/London band, who will be releasing their new EP, A Kinder Kind, in June.
Let’s start at the start: Dead Slow Hoot began life as the backing band for a choir. How did you guys initially get involved in that? and, more pressingly, how did that project spawn a post-punk outfit?
Hugo: Well I can’t speak for how Sam and Luke got involved in the band for a gospel choir but for me I was looking for somewhere to establish myself and get playing in Sheffield. It was a pretty mutually beneficial situation, I didn’t really know what kind of music I wanted to be playing at the time and felt really overwhelmed auditioning for bigger bands, and the gospel choir needed a guitar player so it worked out well. We met there and after a while, I asked Sam and Luke to play some of my own songs with me, which were more like folk songs at the time. We grew together really and just started exploring musical styles together, I wouldn’t say we’re married to being a post punk band either – we try to be very exploratory with what we make and don’t like repeating ourselves.
Luke: Yeah, totally. I wouldn’t imagine post-punk to be our final port of call, maybe we’ll go full-circle back to gospel.
Recent single ‘Low Road’ is lyrically very introspective and self-effacing, whereas many of the current wave of post-punk writers tend to look outwards for their subject matter. Which lyricists do you think that you have picked up the most influence from, be it intentionally or unintentionally?
Hugo: I tend to listen mostly outside of post punk, at least for lyrics. I always find myself taking a lot of inspiration away from listening to Leonard Cohen, early St Vincent, Richard Dawson and This Is The Kit. It’s funny really, our music reflects our mutual taste and we sound best when we’re locked into a groove together, but the lyrics aren’t collaborative and I always find myself drawing on influences that seem quite different to the influences for the rest of the song.
Your new EP, A Kinder Kind, is out 4 days before lockdown is supposed to end (!!), talk us through how that week is going to look for you.
Hugo: Still figuring it out! We won’t be playing shows until later on in the summer but we’ll hopefully do something online to engage with our fans.
Luke: Yeah, who knows!
What plans do Dead Slow Hoot have for the summer?
Hugo: We’re looking forward to playing in Sheffield, Leeds, Wakefield and London in August. Watch this space for the dates!
Which artists are you the most excited to catch at a gig?
Hugo: I’ve got tickets to see Teenage Fanclub in September which is going to be amazing! I’m also really excited to see St Vincent touring her new record at some point, and our good pal Lou Terry is gonna be blowing up this summer which I’m really psyched about.
Luke: Totally, I plan to catch another Lou Terry gig soon.
Dead Slow Hoot’s A Kinder Kind EP will be out in June, check out their releases to date.