In our latest Band Spotlight, we speak to Max Lilley of Hull alternative rock powerhouse, Bloodhound.
Hey dude, how are you doing?
Very well thank you!
Talk us through Bloodhound’s mission statement?
I think as a band, we aim to try and advance our sound as much as possible and make it as interesting to our listeners as we can. We’re always introducing new techniques, writing methods and sounds into our music. We set out to make a name for ourselves and we want to make sure modern grunge and rock music gets the recognition it deserves in this rather pop-infested industry.
What do you think of Hull’s rock scene?
Hull’s rock scene is fantastic, there are a whole host of great bands out there. We find it’s really easy to get on with other bands because everyone is just so nice. Out of any of the places I’ve lived, Hull probably has the strongest rock scene purely because of the quality of the music the bands are producing on this scene. There’s a real sense of drive to make every new bit of material better than what has come before and people get on board with that and help no matter what. It’s a great community.
What keeps you passionate outside of music, think specific people and places?
I sometimes watch and listen to interviews with musicians, authors, presenters, and producers because I find that what they have to say is so incredibly interesting and insightful that it spurs me to go away and use their methods and advice in my own practice and utilise it to fit my situation. I’m not sure about places, the few times a year that I’m sat on a train for a few hours, I tend to have a couple of brainwaves that blossom into some other ridiculous idea but it’s mainly people. Particularly people like Stew Baxter, Mark Page and Dan Mawer who’ve given me more advice about the industry than I could have ever asked for. One of my lecturer’s at university last year, Rowan Oliver, should get a mention as well as he steered me in the right direction when I was organising our first UK tour. People outside of the music umbrella like my family and friends and even sometimes random people that come up to us in the street and say how much they enjoy our music keep me motivated to keep writing and performing.
What are your goals for the rest of the year?
For the rest of this year, we aim to get this new single out into the world and keep the content on the horizon until Christmas really when we have some bigger news to announce. We’re gonna get a video out for this single, change it up a bit and put an acoustic tune out, then get the b-side up on streaming platforms so we’ve always got something else on the way. We’ve got a load of plans for more shows too, both in the new year and before the end of the year, and we want to try and make the single release weekend especially memorable with a few surprises. We want to start this wave of new material with a bang.
Talk us through the direct inspirations and motivations behind your new material?
This is probably going to be a long-winded answer haha. I guess when we started out I was pretty much listening just to whatever rock or alternative music I could get my hands on. My main influences were the grunge greats Nirvana and Feeder along with rock legends like Foo Fighters. As I started to develop my writing I got more involved with bands like Royal Blood and Queens of The Stone Age and began looking more at the song instead how big I could make the guitars sound. This year especially I’ve been listening to a whole load of different stuff including artists like Kendrick Lamar, Everything Everything, Ben Howard, HONNE, Massive Attack, Sigur Ros and Elbow. When I have been listening to it I have been focussing on what I love about the song and thinking about ways in which I can incorporate that into our material.
When I was listening to IDLES earlier this year, I was thinking about how Joe Talbot uses repeated lyrics as a way of expressing emotions and messages without over complicating the song with more words. That spurred me to reduce the number of words I used in my lyrics which eventually led to me writing the pre-chorus/chorus for this song and using the music to advance the song instead. There was an interview I read with Matt Burr from The Black Delta Movement as well where he was talking about their debut record and how when he revisited some of the songs on that record, he focussed on how he could reduce the time and make the album as snappy as possible. I put that into use on two songs that we’d tried to prepare for our live shows, ‘Try’ and ‘Worn Down’ which were both previously 6-minutes long each, but had failed. I revisited both of the songs and focussed on how I could make it more enticing to the listener. After that, they both became 3-4 minute songs and go down very well in our live set.
I’ll stop blabbering in a minute haha. It was Royal Blood and False Advertising that taught me that a rock song wasn’t just about a big riff. After tirelessly listening to both of them on repeat, I started to focus more on constructing a good melody that was catchy. I think a hole that we got stuck in as a band was how could we make our parts more interesting to make it fun to play. We immediately thought the answer was to make the parts more technical when in fact we only recently realised that simplifying our parts to make the song better meant we could have more fun on stage without fretting about getting it wrong. That doesn’t mean we don’t put the odd riff or breakdown in a stupid time signature but we do it less. The only other thing I that influenced me was ‘Cloud 9’ by Jamiroquai which was one of the first songs that I noticed they’d changed the last chorus to bring the listener back in instead of repeating the same chords. We’ve done this with a few of our tunes now and find that we’re enjoying playing the end more than the beginning haha. That’s honestly it on this question, I promise. Thanks for having me!