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Hadouken! - The Way Of The Fist

Author: Carlisle Rogers
Monday, 23 June 2008
3D’s Carlisle Rogers chats with the UK’s coolest band, Hadouken! – a group that make Klaxons look like a soft-arse boy band.

It’s been a long time since somebody came up with a musical portmanteau that was even vaguely accurate. But calling Hadouken! ‘grindie’ – grime indie – is the gospel.

These Leeds-based kids have put together a fireball of an album, Music for an Accelerated Culture, consisting of grating, lo-fi guitar-laced electronic rhythms with singer James Smith spitting into the microphone in the dirtiest grime you’ve ever heard.

Bassist Daniel “Pilau” Rice and Smith first met at Leeds University, an auspicious occasion that soon bore a new label, Surface Noise Records. It wasn’t long before Smith began writing what would become Hadouken!’s first singles.

“I met James at Leeds University while I was putting together a record label of my own,” Rice says. “I put out a single for a band that Nick, our drummer, was in at the time. I approached James to see if he was up for working on the label with me and we ended up doing that for a while. When I heard this stuff he had been working on that would later be Hadouken! tracks, we decided to put the band together for the purpose of those tracks really.

“James had been making music for years, doing garage and grime stuff, so I think with Hadouken! it was a decision not to do anything specific stylistically, but to move away from that and be something that took in a lot more influences, live music as well as traditional dance music. That was just what came out.”

Rice says that Smith is the principal songwriter. “James writes most of the music on his laptop and he’ll program in everything there and we’ll transpose it to the band and play out in rehearsal rooms and tweak stuff,” Rice says. “Once we’ve tweaked all our different parts, we’ll go back to the studio and try to combine elements of the first demo that he did with stuff that we’ve worked on live. We try to get somewhere in between. I try to add a live and natural feel, since a lot of the rest of it is programmed and sequenced. The guitar is one of the few bits we will actually play live on the record. I think it’s pretty important in making it sound a lot heavier and a lot punkier and intense.

“That grindie label was thrown around last year to describe us, but I don’t know really, the last thing we want to do is invent another ridiculous name because they are already plenty. I don’t think it really matters and I don’t think anyone listening to it really cares what it is or what it needs to be called. It is something different, but I don’t think it’s anything so radical or revolutionary we need a new genre.”

Another MySpace sensation, Hadouken! learned about success very quickly, Rice says. “I think it’s definitely been massively important and the first thing we did once we had written the first few tracks was put them up on there,” he says. “Straightaway those tracks were available to anyone anywhere in the world. Right off the back of that, we had gig offers coming in and various people getting in touch saying they wanted to work with us in different ways. We’re happy for fans to come to us through that route because at the end of the day, they’ve gone to our website, heard our music and liked it. We’re happy if people discover us like that rather than through some big marketing campaign or whatever else. Things have moved pretty fast, which has been difficult in some senses as well.”

The band signed with Atlantic in March 2007, not long after forming the band in the first place and dropping their first vinyl in February. “It was pretty much six months after we put the band together,” he says. “There were a lot of friends in bands who had been in similar situations with MySpace, in that everything is going through this really quick process.

“We had a handful of tracks and a lot of stuff that ended up on the album. We had started playing shows, but I think it was because the fans were there straightaway due to MySpace. There were kids singing our tracks at the first shows. As soon as the fans are there, the labels are there. They have to be as quick as that audience. That sort of fan-base is waiting to hear an album and the labels need to be there to make that happen.”

Already writing for the next album, Rice says that while they would love to push things in another new direction, they aren’t sure what that is yet. “I think it is what every band says when they go into the next album, but I don’t have any intention of making the same album again. We are really proud of the first album, but at the same time I think we definitely all have ideas about where it could go from here and how we could move things on and develop them. Hopefully it will be something different.

“We haven’t got any specific plans for it, we’re just going to write as much as we can as soon as possible and record as soon as possible and decide what to do with it. We want to see how it goes this year with this album and how long we feel happy playing this album out. Hopefully we can get the next album out in under a year.”

WHO: Hadouken!
WHAT: Music for an Accelerated Culture through Atlantic/Warner / Play Splendour in the Grass, Belongil Fields / Play The Forum
WHEN: Out now / Sunday 3 August / Wednesday 6