Hard-Fi celebrated a decade in music recently, and kicked off 2014 with a career-spanning ‘Best Of’. A product of the noughties indie rock revival, they have two No.1 albums and six Top 20 singles to their name – while 2011’s LP Killer Sounds also made the Top 10.
Getting both retrospective and forward-thinking in conversation with Dan Jenko, frontman Richard Archer talks career highlights, crazy tour experiences, and the fourth album that’s well on its way.
Hi Richard. There were definite dance vibes on Killer Sounds – are you looking to continue with that sound moving forward?
“Well, we’re finding ourselves appreciating much more the dance side of music at the moment. Even pop artists like Rihanna seem to be more experimental using tritones and whatnot.
“There’s much more going on than in the guitar world. On our stuff we’ve been trying to strip a lot back. We’ve always been into bands like early Rapture, Radio 4 and LCD Soundsystem where they sound like a load of punks playing house tracks.”
Why did you choose to bring out a ‘Best Of’ album now, and do you plan to follow it up with a fourth studio album?
“The record label approached us about the idea of a ‘Best Of’, not long after Ross our guitarist had left, and it felt like a good moment to document the end of one era and the start of another.
“Also getting involved meant we had a say in what the content would be. We pushed for a physical deluxe release that would feature lots of the cool remixes, B-sides and rarities that are knocking about, as well as the singles.
“We’ve recorded the best part of a fourth album – we just need to decide what to do with it.”
You’ve had quite the career since the success of Stars of CCTV – what’s been the stand-out highlight for you?
“Playing five nights at Brixton Academy with Paul Weller, Mick Jones and Billy Bragg (with a young Professor Green also supporting) was a real highlight. There are only five acts to have done that, including Dylan and The Clash, but we were the first to do it on a debut album.
“Our first tour of America was also incredibly exciting and good fun – a rock n roll road trip.”
What’s the craziest or most eventful experience you’ve had on tour?
“The first USA tour. There’s lots that can’t be printed. Bus drivers waving hand guns around, breakdowns – mechanical and physical – lucky escapes etc…”
As a band who hit their career peak commercially in the noughties, what are your ambitions for future output?
“Just to make stuff that we’re proud of, excited by, and enjoy making.”
What new music are you really in to at the moment?
“There’s not loads unfortunately. I liked the soulful D&B vibe on the John Newman and Rudimental track. I keep finding myself liking Macklemore; love the different, more intelligent approach lyrically to rap/R&B.”
What’s the best gig you’ve played as Hard-Fi?
“The Brixton shows I mentioned were great, our last show at The Bloomsbury Ballroom was a great night also, but then maybe a bar on the outskirts of Austin, Texas? What looked like being a really s**t gig turned into one of the best, followed by incredibly strong Margaritas that led to us ballsing up an important MTV show the next day.”
What’s the most rock and roll thing you’ve ever done?
“Started a band.”
Hard-Fi: Best Of 2004-2014 is out now.