This week we had the pleasure of chatting to Andy from Hellfire Club as they filmed their latest music video in the studio. The day the band were due to record their album, was the day that the UK went into lockdown. After a tricky year, we now catch up on their exciting new projects whilst discussing politics and the UK music industry.
Who are Hellfire Club?
“Hellfire Club have been together a while, almost 5 years. We haven’t done much in that time. We used to jam together in the local scene, just messing about. One day, we were like “we could actually do this properly” and we found Frankie our singer and bass player. It turned from therapeutic jamming to seriously writing an EP, having some songs and thinking about doing gigs.
I was playing for a singer/songwriter myself, so our band was bubbling away in background. Then various projects came to an end so we then got together seriously as a band. We spent a good year writing and demoing in order to create an album. Then covid hit. The day we went into lockdown was the day we were due in the recording studio.
From that point onwards we’ve been fighting lockdowns – of course when things started opening up again the world and their mother wanted that studio – so it was difficult to re-book. We seem to have bad luck on that front. Once we found a studio, we finished album October last year. It was great. Some bands have been out doing things, you can see lots of cancelations and stunted growth. We didn’t want to commit to go out there and hit it hard until we knew we weren’t going to have a lockdown. It affected cancelling shows and try to really emerge fully.”
“Our photographer instantly fell in love with the lighting of the Hayloft Studio. He really was instantly drawn to Copperdollar Studios. This place is perfect: the lighting, and the natural light, the colours, the contrast, the beams, the wall… We ended up turning down other more expensive places for this one.”
How did you use our Hayloft Studio?
“We were filming a music video for our new single ‘Dirty Business’ which is about the corrupt business of what’s going on these days. Even though it was written a year ago, it’s quite timely with what’s going on in the government now. It’s all still true. It’s hilarious. It’s generally about corrupt Government business, the tax man, and us moaning.
We had that generic band set up at one end of the studio with some shots of the band playing a tune. The space itself is super cool, we wanted that distressed wall, dusty feel. In contrast the studio also has great lighting and beams. It creates a really interesting textured, bare space. We didn’t want a clean space like a classic rockband in a strip club.
Our photographer instantly fell in love with the lighting of the place. He really was instantly drawn to Copperdollar Studios. This place is perfect: the lighting, and the natural light, the colours, the contrast, the beams, the wall… We ended up turning down other more expensive places for this one.”
Has your work always been political?
“We’ve got a promo marketing person who listened to the demos and early tracks. They labeled us as “seditious rock.” (Seditious: inciting or causing people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.) So I suppose in some ways it’s quite political. They’re quite intelligent lyrics.
“So long! You’ve had your time now move along
Trading bullets, blood and guns
Take your diseased society
Praying to churches build on greed
Trading the pay-off with your life”
For me, a lot of what makes us different comes down to the story and what we’re actually ranting about. That goes a long way. A lot of people will relate to it. Most bands are sick of their songs by the time its recorded. But some choruses are ear worms that will keep you humming all day, giving you that buzz that sparks the memory of the lyric. When you get to work and see that the taxman’s ruined you again, it’s relatable.”
“There should be more support in providing experience and mentoring in the UK music industry. The bottom line is that there is not enough support for small bands.”
What brought Hellfire Club all together?
“Same mindset, similar taste, other life commitments were getting in the way. Those projects ended and we had space. If we just did jamming and local gigs we would have been fed up. We were in bands or played for singer songwriters that had done big shows, stadiums shows, who were signed etc. It gives you a level of insight and exposure to an industry that’s a mine-field, a dark art. We know what it takes to do something well as we’ve been around the houses, we have been signed, toured etc, so we know what it takes in our private jobs. It gave us confidence to know that we can do this. We are a little bit older, no longer that bushy tailed 18 year old who wants to release 1 thing on Spotify. We all need a moment of luck. The demos confirmed our confidence and we thought, “let’s have a go.” It is easier than 10 years ago for bands to be heard and also because of Covid people might be more desperate to see shows.”
What have the lockdowns highlighted about the music industry?
“In the first lockdown, I had never been busier. I went from being in the studio to working for bedroom musicians, doing remote session tracks for people. It kept me relatively sane. 2021 was supposed to be the timing that got you touring. They found it really hard if you’re not on a major label in terms of Covid passes, travelling. But now, it’s interesting timing as after the lockdowns, everyone wants to see gigs.
It’s so complicated with isolations, shipping etc. It’s a knock on effect. It hurts all acts, however successful. Even Adele couldn’t get her show together.
The bottom line is that there is not enough support for small bands. It’s a problem with industry in general – it’s a problem with the arts full stop. In order to support any act, you have to invest upfront, to sell records, merchandise, hire stadiums. It’s a gamble. When the future is uncertain full stop it is easy to be reluctant – you can only do so much more on your own – if you have that financial and experience backing. There should be more support in experience and mentoring. It all comes down to trust.”
How do you stand out from the crowd?
“We have a fine balance of age. Youthful excitement and energy are easier to make marketable. They are more mouldable. But you want the maturity, it goes a long way. You need more experience to know where you can have a long term career rather than 15 minutes of fame. I’ve been exploited before and everything fell apart. If I’d been offered that same deal today in my 30s I would have flushed it down the toilet. The 3 of us are that bit older, hopefully wiser, we can put a bit of make up on and there might be a market somewhere. I hope there’s a market somewhere. Faces for radio don’t they say?”
How can we support?
“From a music perspective, we want venues to be open and have people to support bands on every level. Everyone’s found it hard. Think of their crews, truck drivers… people rely on those shows. Arenas managers, to the sound guy in the Concord or Green Door Store. Those guys are generally self-employed. Musicians will have day jobs in order to try to get by. People understand that now so I hope that the Government are clearer and don’t have one rule for some and another one for others. Let people get out there and enjoy some music.
This is the year we go out and do it.“
Our studio is a brilliant location to shoot your next music video or stage your next photoshoot. Whatever your project, our bright, rustic space in the heart of Kemptown could bring your next venture to life. Be sure to contact us to hire out our studio for your next project, workshop, photoshoot, or as a filmmaking location. On our website you can see our availability and rates card.