Hope of the States became, tragically enough, famous in the beginning of this year through the death of their guitarist James Lawrence. They eventually managed to overcome their difficulties and have now got a new single â€œThe Red, The White, The Black, The Blueâ€ out on May 24 and a debut album out in June through Sony. They're also touring around the UK right now and itâ€™s a good chance to check them out live. Paul Wilson, bassist of the band, is on the phone to give Gigwise all the details.
G: Your debut album â€œThe Lost Riotsâ€ finally sees the light on June 7. Describe the feelings and the difficulties that youâ€™ve faced getting it released.
Paul: Well weâ€™ve been around quite a while and the songs on the album were written before we recorded it so theyâ€™ve been around quite a while and this was our little baby that weâ€™re giving to the world. It took a long time to coming together and recording it, so hopefully people recognise what went into making it.
G: You lost your friend and guitarist of the band early this yearâ€¦ Has his death influenced in any way the direction of the album?
Paul: The entire album was recorded before he died, so nothing on it is about him or influenced by him, none of the songs are about him. But weâ€™ve written since then a few songs that are not particularly wonderful songs or anythingâ€¦ we are not the happiest bunch of people anywayâ€¦
G: Would you say that this might affect your following work then?
Paul: Yeah definitely it will influence certain aspects of it.
G: They have called you the new Godspeed You! Black Emperor because of your instrumental and epic melodies. Who would you cite as your inspirations?
Paul: Godspeed and Sigur Ros I suppose but also Tom Waits and things like that... I mean we all have totally different tastes in music and the influence from six different people goes into the inspiration for one song.
G: Thatâ€™s why you chose to work with Sigur Rosâ€™ producer Ken Thomas?
Paul: Yeahâ€¦ we really liked the last two Sigur Ros albums and we just got on with him really well since the first time we met him and he was really encouraging about it, he had this collaborative thing in some way. We definitely thought that the fact that he had worked with Sigur Ros would be helpful to our sound. Still in theory he could have done something completely different from them, from their quiet andâ€¦ I donâ€™t know what the word isâ€¦ tactful Sound?
G: Youâ€™re also headlining a UK tour and have a festival-packed summer. How different is it to playing in big venues?
Paul: Wellâ€¦ I donâ€™t think it makes any difference. If the place is packed out, no matter where you play then itâ€™s always goodâ€¦ itâ€™s when you have one man and his dog standing in the corner that perhaps itâ€™s more nerve wracking. Whereas when the place is really busy; itâ€™s recognition really and itâ€™s instant gratification that these people are here to see the band because theyâ€™ve listened to your album.
G: Still, there are certain kinds of music that match to a small or big venue Iâ€™d say, for example, that your music suits a small venue better because it has this atmospheric feelingâ€¦
Paul: Yeah.... well when we started out it logistically it was really difficult for us because we were six people on a tiny stage and we canâ€™t hear each other, it was quite difficultâ€¦ so in that respect I would say that big venues are better. But I suppose that, on the other hand, the video projections that we use are more appropriate to smaller places. Itâ€™s difficult to choose reallyâ€¦
G: Now that you mentioned your live visuals (which are made by Type 2 Error, the duo who are also responsible for the videos of the band), what is the relationship between your music and film and art?
Paul: With type 2 Error itâ€™s a total a partnership, we have a few ideas, but whatever weâ€™re thinking at the time they incorporate it either into a video, live or for a single or whatever. I think definitely thereâ€™s a big sort of filmy influence and I think our music lends itself really well to film as well.
G: Okâ€¦ last question. Can you describe to me with a few words the movie that would visualise your music?
Paul: I think it definitely would be very grand and not overboard or bloated, because the dynamics in the music are very emotional, especially if it was linked to a film.
Check out their latest video for 'The Red, The White, The Black, The Blue':
The band's official tour dates are:
Oxford Zodiac (May 16)
Nottingham Rescue Rooms (17)
Leicester Charlotte (18)
Birmingham Academy 2 (19)
Glasgow King Tuts (21)
Sheffield Leadmill (22)
Liverpool Academy 2 (23)
Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms (25)
London Scala (26)