Band Spotlight: …And The Hangnails [2017]

In our next band spotlight, we chat to Martyn Fillingham [guitars / vocals] and Steve Rudd [drums] of …And The Hangnails. S] All right lads! How’s it going? Martyn] It’s […]

In our next band spotlight, we chat to Martyn Fillingham [guitars / vocals] and Steve Rudd [drums] of …And The Hangnails.

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S] All right lads! How’s it going?

Martyn] It’s going good thank you! I just got back from a little trip to California, handed in my dissertation and I’m psyched to release this new album and play a load of gigs around the UK!

Steve] Yeah good man, exciting couple of months ahead.

S] What are the main inspirations running through ‘DOG’?

Martyn] The main theme throughout DOG is a sense of disenfranchisement. Disappointment. Boredom. ‘Dog’ is a word we often use instead of shit. There’s also a lot of juxtaposition within the record. Like really sad lyrics over really happy sounds. Which I think is really darkly accurate of how we, or at least I, was feeling at the time. Kinda happy on the outside – bored on the inside. Having a sense of humour about having a bit of a shit time.

Also, these songs all came together quite quickly over the course of about two months so this record really captures where we were at in the aftermath of RUT. A bit disappointed by the realities of the music industry but somehow able to write some of the best stuff we’ve ever done whilst still feeling somewhat detached from any expectations.

Steve] Disillusionment with everything for me.

S] How does it move …Hangnails away from any comfort zone?

Martyn] I think the fact that this is our first full studio album, it’s a move towards a more (though not entirely) hi-fi sound. Which is a slight move away from our preference for lo-fi, distorted, noisy recordings. Though we still recorded all the music over the course of 2 days, so it’s still very much what we sound like when we get in a room together and play loud – it’s just that someone with really good mics was there too this time, for all of it.

Steve] Recording everything properly for this album was definitely out of our comfort zone. Even though we were in a proper studio which is well out of our comfort zone we still wanted to do every song in three takes and as quickly as possible.

Just to keep the rawness of the tracks and we kept asking for it to sound nastier in the mixing process! Ha!
Also the fact we are working with a label for the first time is definitely out of our comfort zone as we are so used to doing everything ourselves. Help is great, but it also motivates us to do more.

S] What’ve been some of the biggest challenges in building the record?

M] Choosing which songs to keep and which to drop was tricky. We dropped 4 or 5 songs off of this album, which we recorded within that 2 day session. It was a hard decision but we wanted to keep this record really concise. We write A LOT and I find it hard not to include everything. I think every song we finish has value and says something. But when it comes to crafting a really strong album you have to consider what makes the album stronger and what waters it down. And I suppose if someone really wants to hear what didn’t make the cut then maybe then can buy me a beer and I’ll show them sometime.

S] What’ve been some of the biggest challenges in building the record?

Martyn] Writing it was the easy bit. Recording was pretty painless. Mixing and mastering had its challenges.
I think the biggest challenges has just been pulling everything together and making sure everything is ready and in the right place at the right time! A lot of people have been involved in helping us make and push this record. Making sure everyone is synced I think has been the biggest challenge, just because we are so used to working independently.

S] What’s motivating the band outside of music right now, think people, places and things?

M] I’ve been living in London the last two years now. That’s definitely changed the pace of my life, and how I experience the world and subsequently has influence my on writing. I think everything in your life influences your art. It also means that Steve and I are both travelling more, which also has an impact on how you see the world. England definitely seems smaller to me now that I travel the length of it every other week.

Working with Young Thugs records has also really motivated us. It’s easy for anyone to think what they do is mint, but when other people put their time, effort and money into something you’re doing then you know it’s time to step up your game and give it some proper effort.

Also, attending art school and living with and being around artists everyday also influences and inspires me no end – in regards to music but also the bigger picture for what can be done with art.

Steve] Nothing for me, unfortunately it’s just the music that motivates me.

S] How has your attitude to success within the music industry changed over the years?

Martyn] I still definitely think that you should always define success for yourself. Set yourself short term goals as well as long term goals and work towards achieving them. If the goal is to write a song you like, and you do it, you’ve succeeded, and no one can take that away from you. You shouldn’t constantly compare what you’re doing to that of others. Creating something is gift enough, the rest is extra.

On a larger scale, in regards to industry level success, it’s still kind of the same. It’s just a little bit more real and a bit more constant now. It’s still always a load of short term goals, like, let’s book a few more gigs in cities we’ve never been to today. Let’s invite a few more bloggers and magazines to review our gigs/recordings today. Let’s find a few more people who work in radio tomorrow. Let’s come up with some artwork or an event that we’ve never considered doing. How can we do something new or different? It’s always those small ideas, and how to make them happen, it’s just a little bit more “all the time” now. And I think I’m okay with that! Though, it does take a little bit of your attention away from writing, which is not cool. But so long as we prioritise writing I think we’ll be alright.

S] Still the same. Success to me is writing a songs we both like.

Steve] If that goes well then it is recording the song to the best of it’s potential. Then if that goes well it’s playing it live to the best of it’s potential. If all the above comes together we have fun gigs. Success is measured in fun for me.

Dom Smith

About Dom Smith

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