Emerging Artists #3 – Hanoi Janes
April 11, 2010 by Chris Cummins
Hanoi Janes is mainly the work of one guy living in Dresden, Germany. He spent the last six months constantly recording his vision of a Spector/Wilson sound, limited on an 8-track recorder, one mic, and a stack of slightly degenerated pop nuggets in mind. In doing so he has created quirky pop, which combines the best of the C86 scene and ’60s surf garage rock.
Standard first question, how did you all get together, where you all from and why did you decide to make music together?
Well, I started Hanoi Janes on my own and for recordings I do almost everything myself. I have a couple of friends who help me record drums from time to time.
For the current live band I basically hand-picked people. Me and my bass player were in a band together before and we’re friends. For drums and keyboard I just asked people who seemed cool and they said yes. Though we barely knew each other when we started out, we’re all good friends now.
How long did it take you to decide on your sound/direction, and how did you come to the decision?
I just try to write songs I’d like to hear. The sound comes more or less by accident. It’s pretty lo-fi but honestly I try to make it sound as good as I can. I record it myself and I’m not a recording-wizard so I’m still learning how to do it properly. I tend to fuck up the sound because of my insecurity. I’m uneasy about my singing so I kinda bury it in the mix and add a lot of reverb and fuzz but I think I’m improving.
What equipment are using for recording, and is there any particular reason behind the choice?
I record everything on a digital Tascam 8-track-recorder. It’s a pretty simple device. That’s what I could afford and it’s easy to use. I’ve got 2 mics and a bunch of effect pedals. I like it simple. It’s good for recording fast and spontaneous.
What’s your average day at the moment?
Getting up early in the morning with a lot of plans and ideas, and getting nothing of that done by the end of the day.
What’s the best bit about being in a band and what’s the worst?
Best: Free drinks at shows.
Worst: Dragging tons of gear to a shitty club and playing in front of three people. Happens quite often, though.
What’s the most high profile show you’ve done and what was it like?
We opened for Wavves in Dresden back in December. It was kinda shitty. Wavves were cool, we had nice catering and I think we played a decent set but there where only like 30 people at the show , it was freezing and we had to drive back home in the middle of the night.
If you could change one thing about the music industry what would it be?
More cocktail umbrellas.
What bands/artists are you into at the moment new or old?
Right now I’m into a lot of Jonathan Richman stuff and New Zealand Pop like Toy Love or The Clean. For some new shit I’d recommend No Monster Club and Wax Idols. Go google search, pronto!
What’s the last gig you went to and what was it like?
Last gig I went was some experimental jazz-pop band from Japan. They only did instrumental songs. It was some chilled-out piano stuff but a bit boring. Last proper gig was King Kahn & BBQ in Berlin. They were awesome.
What would you like to happen for the band in 2010?
Record more. Play more gigs. Maybe do a tour. I’m not too ambitious.
What can people expect when they come to your live shows?
A slightly drunk band bugging you with their music for 30 minutes. I dunno. It sounds a lot different from the recordings I guess.
Favourite music era/scene and why?
Era: Now and the Future
Scene: The Internet
I think everything is getting better all the time. I’m optimistic. I think scenes are bullshit.
If you could get one band to reform who would it be?
That would be Rocket From The Crypt. I’d love to see these guys live.
What’s next for you guys?
I keep recording songs. We’ll see what comes. I don’t really have plans.