Interview: Jack Foley
HARD-Fi are the product of their suburban West London environment;
the sound of twenty-something gun-slingers on the minimum wage.
It's the sound of a band weaned on the heady concrete glamour
of The Clash, The Specials, Curtis Mayfield, and Happy Mondays.
In love and in debt - the raw materials required to soundtrack
a life of box-fresh Adidas, Berwick Street vinyl, and the black
New single, Tied Up Too Tight, is set to follow the
success of Hard-Fi’s debut single, Cash Machine.
In an exclusive interview with IndieLondon's Jack Foley, the
band's lead singer, Rich Archer, talks about
their story so far, the forthcoming debut album and their plans
for the future.
Q. Hello there, it's proving to be an exciting year for
Hard-Fi, what with new singles, an album on the way, and a host
of tour dates coming up. How does it feel your end?
A. It's all a bit surreal right now - this time six months
ago we were scratching around trying to record and release our
own record - and now everything's gone a little crazy, but crazy
good. We just can't wait to get out on the road.
Q. New single, Tied Up Too Tight, is another corker,
how did you feel to have Zane Lowe describe it as 'the hottest
record in the world'?
A. It was really great, though to be honest he has a
'hottest record in the world' every week - it's all a bit unreal
though, until someone living in, say, Birmingham has gone out
and bought it cos it's their 'hottest record in the world'.
Q. The track is described as being about the desire to
escape the mundanity of hometown boredom? Is that aimed at Staines
in particular? I grew up in the same area, living in Stanwell
Moor and regularly venturing out into Staines with trepidation!
A. You're from the manor!! It was written about Staines
but it applies to any satellite town of any city anywhere in the
Q. And yet you set up your own Cherry Tree recording
studios on an industrial estate there? How often are you there?
And do you get many other bands in? How easy was it to set up?
And what prompted you to do it?
A. Having no rehearsal studios in the area, it made more
sense to rent our own room and we ended up recording some demo's
with borrowed equipment and they sounded really really great.
In the end we've recorded our entire album there.
Q. Staines' proximity to Heathrow probably played a big
factor in securing 'access' to Heathrow's runway for the Cash
Machine video. What inspired you to do that? And what was
it like filming a video with planes landing overhead? Did you
get into much trouble afterwards?
A. We couldn't afford to film an expensive video but
we wanted to make an impression; Heathrow is on our doorstep so
we had a good idea of what we could get away with. It was difficult
hearing the tape machine playing the track when you have a 747
30ft overhead. No trouble as yet.
Q. What do you think of Heathrow's
expansion plans? Is it something that you view as beginning to
get out of control?
A. There was a public inquiry into T5. When they gave
it the go-ahead all the materials were in site within days - slightly
Q. Let's talk about the forthcoming album a little bit.
You mention that, like the band itself, it is the product of its
west London environment and of being in love and in debt. Care
A. We just talk about where we come from and what effects
us and that's being in debt and in love (amongst other things)
in West London - but that could be anywhere in the country...
Q. What are your favourite tracks and why?
A. Stars of CCTV and Unnecessary Trouble
- the way they came together; for instance, Stars Of CCTV
is the original demo version. We used it cos it had a quality
that felt just right.
Q. How much of Stars of CCTV will be incorporated?
A. Only a few people got hold of Stars, so we're
gonna re-release it with five or six new tracks as a full length
Q. The original Stars of CCTV itself is apparently now
going on Ebay for about £50 a pop. Does that bring an enormous
sense of satisfaction? How easy was it to get made?
A. We made the album ourselves and we just begged and
borrowed to get it made, but I think that's what gives it its
sound. When we licensed the album we carried on the way we started.
It's not about big studios, just will power.
Q. How was South by Southwest recently? And how has the
reaction to you in America been thus far? Is it somewhere you
would like to crack?
A. It was a great trip and even before we went we had
emails and calls flying in from the USA. It's been kind of surreal
when your sat in Staines.
Q. What have been your favourite gigs so far? Any extra
special memories or anecdotes you'd care to share?
A. There's been some real special shows. Recently, at
Frog in London, our first show after licensing to Atlantic, the
whole of Staines was there and it went off, lots of 'too cool
for school london' types looked on in disbelief...
Q. The rest of the year looks like being a busy one
with live performances, which are you most looking forward to?
A. All of them really.
Q. What is the grand plan for Hard-Fi? What would you
like to achieve/bring to the music scene? A. We are not
ashamed to say we want success; it's not about money, it's about
people respecting you for what you've sweated blood and sacrificed
Also we wanna see the world - aside from doing that in Hard-fi,
the only other way we could afford to do that would be by joining
the Armed Forces.
Q. Thank you and good luck for the future.
Related stories: Read
the album review