Your Friendly Neighbourhood Hoodlum Shouts

Column: Features   |   Date Published: Wednesday, 11 May 16   |   Author: Karolina Firman   |   1 year, 1 month ago

     "This tour has been like trying to herd cats."

Growing up in Canberra, starting a band, getting some airplay and taking it on the road are no easy feats. But that’s what Canberra-born, now Melbourne band HOODLUM SHOUTS are doing – plugging away at their music and doing their own thing in the Australian music landscape since 2008. With a sound that sits somewhere on the spectrum between grunge and alt-country, they released their debut LP Young Man Old Man in 2012, and are on the cusp of releasing their sophomore effort, Heat Island, on May 20. According to the band’s drummer, Josh Leyshon, “this tour has been like trying to herd cats.” While the boys were zipping around the country launching their new LP, I caught up with Josh to talk about their sound, the new LP, their true hometown and everything in between.

First thing’s first – where did the name ‘Hoodlum Shouts’ come from? Turns out they got it from their own song ‘Hoodlum Settlers’, in the hopes that “it would get confused with Hilltop Hoods and we’d be on all the triple j festivals.” Nice one, fellas. Unfortunately, Josh can’t admit that that idea has entirely worked out. “Back to the drawing board!” he says.

And let’s just get this one out of the way: are Hoodlum Shouts a Canberra or a Melbourne band? “We’ve been split between the two cities for most of our time,” says Josh. “We all come from Canberra, but three-quarters of us are in Melbourne now. We’re not in the business of comparing cities. Canberra pumps out great music and art for a small city – the TV Colours album ruled. Melbourne is a bloody wonderful city that has a deep music and arts culture. People there really fight to keep it happening. It must ruin a lot of lives, bank accounts, relationships and livers.”

Like a growing number of Aussie bands, Hoodlum Shouts were discovered on triple j Unearthed. I asked Josh what it was like to be picked up by the national radio broadcaster, and if the love is still there for small local bands. “Triple j have been very kind to play our songs over the years. It was a nice bit of luck to have them pick up on it all the way back then,” Josh reflects. “To be honest, I’ve got no idea how things have changed on that level. We’ve been fairly sheltered and have been running quietly in the background between the last album and this one. We are part of a small industry, or rather, community – a very small cog, in fact. So we don’t have the experience to comment on industry-level changes that don’t really effect us directly.”

Discussing Heat Island, I asked Josh about the themes behind the new album. “It’s an album of love letters to the earth. Every song is an allegory about our future – our pale, red dot – especially the love songs,” he says. “That’s not true, only partly. The illustration was done by the immensely talented Indigo O’Rourke – it really suited the themes on some songs.”

And what about their songwriting process? “Usually, it’s been the lot of us in a room together, just thrashing it out until something happens. This new approach seemed to work really well. I think Sam [Leyshon, vocalist] had more time to think about ideas and not have to scream over the rest of us to be heard. It was a more collaborative effort with lyrics also – I wrote a few and so did Mike, and it came together very naturally.”

Josh also speaks fondly of collaborating with their producer on the new album. “It was an absolute joy to work with engineer and producer Mike Deslandes,” he says. “Mike had a real interest in recording us and he understands what we are on about. He was very much the fifth member in this project.”

Overall, it sounds like everything is turning up peaches and cream for the Canbourne/Melberra boys. “The studio was a great experience and we’re really looking forward to the shows.” Well, it sounds like Josh is not so much looking forward to managing the band on tour, including his brother Sam, the band’s vocalist. “I’m starting a new business called Sam Leyshon Management, solely to manage my brother. It’ll help the whole family.”

Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, Hoodlum Shouts have had to cancel the rest of their tour. The new album, Heat Island, will be released on Friday May 20 on Poison Records.



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