Eleftheria Ioannidou

15:51 11th May 2004

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 “The Red, The White, The Black, The Blue” out on May 24 and a debut album out in June through Sony. They're also touring around the UK right now and it’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 “The Lost Riots” finally sees the light on June 7. Describe the feelings and the difficulties that you’ve faced getting it released.
Paul: Well we’ve been around quite a while and the songs on the album were written before we recorded it so they’ve been around quite a while and this was our little baby that we’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 year… 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 we’ve written since then a few songs that are not particularly wonderful songs or anything… we are not the happiest bunch of people anyway…

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: That’s why you chose to work with Sigur Ros’ producer Ken Thomas?
Paul: Yeah… 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 and… I don’t know what the word is… tactful Sound?

G: You’re also headlining a UK tour and have a festival-packed summer. How different is it to playing in big venues?
Paul: Well… I don’t think it makes any difference. If the place is packed out, no matter where you play then it’s always good… it’s when you have one man and his dog standing in the corner that perhaps it’s more nerve wracking. Whereas when the place is really busy; it’s recognition really and it’s instant gratification that these people are here to see the band because they’ve listened to your album.

G: Still, there are certain kinds of music that match to a small or big venue I’d say, for example, that your music suits a small venue better because it has this atmospheric feeling…
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 can’t hear each other, it was quite difficult… 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. It’s difficult to choose really…

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 it’s a total a partnership, we have a few ideas, but whatever we’re thinking at the time they incorporate it either into a video, live or for a single or whatever. I think definitely there’s a big sort of filmy influence and I think our music lends itself really well to film as well.

G: Ok… 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':

Windows Stream â€¢ Hi | • Mid | • Lo

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)