[INTERVIEW] with... Hidden Charms

Indie-rock four piece Hidden Charms are certainly making a name for themselves in the live music scene, with catchy tunes always embellished with driving drum beats, one cannot help but feel the energy at their shows. After performing an incredible set, we caught up with Hidden Charms at the intimate Barn On The Farm festival to talk about touring, festivals and future plans. Check out the interview below!

Hey! How are you guys today?

Vincent: Medium

Ranald: The weather’s good!

Josh: We came from Antwerp this morning, woke up there at 5 in the morning and had to drive here. We are feeling that we have been greeted really well here at Barn On The Farm, lovely food, it’s a great festival.

How’s festival season been in general so far?

Oscar: We’ve had one like every weekend or something so been busy. We’ve had a few in Europe. Now the weather’s getting nicer, it’s getting better everywhere.

Josh: We had good fun at Isle Of Wight Festival, it was the highlight probably so far.

Vincent: There’s been The Great Escape and other street festivals which I like.

Oscar: It’s nice when other bands are playing that you know as well.

Vincent: I think I now like the grass ones again now though. I’d sort of written off the grass ones.

Josh: I think festival season is just a pretty good time, a bit shambolic but fun. Touring is much harder in the winter.

Hoping to catch any other artists today?

Ranald: We will see our friends The Amazons.

Josh: We’re seeing Carole King tonight in London.

How did you guys meet and why the name Hidden Charms?

Josh: We were in a couple of different bands that merged into one. We thought it would be easier if we just merged them together. Hidden Charms comes from the song that Willie Dixon wrote for Howling Wolf and that sort of blues is what united us. We were a bit unsure of the name but I think that’s why we fell in love with it in the end.

Vincent: That one was standing out as like quite camp, whereas a lot of the other ones were trying to be quite cool. Someone said if you call yourselves that then you’re going to have to wear it.

Ranald: Lots of people think that we are a cereal brand ‘Lucky Charms’ - that’s the problem. You get a lot of Instagram posts saying like ‘Hidden Charms in Tokyo’, all the nice little delis and nooks and crannies of the place. It can be used in different ways quite a lot.

Oscar: There’s a club night in LA called Hidden Charms and they keep tagging us in it. We’ve been to LA before and played and so people are like ‘you’re back in LA’ and we’re like ‘no, it’s not us.’ 

Vincent: There’s also a German band called The Hidden Charms.

Josh: A skiffle band!

Ranald: But it doesn’t really matter really. The Hidden Charms is a terrible name...Hidden Charms is an amazing name!

Vincent: Got to go down to ‘T’ if you’re scrolling, I hate that!

You’re heading on tour with the Vryll Society in the autumn, tell us more about that.

Vincent: They’re heading on tour with us! Nah, it’s a joke. It’s a co-headline tour.

Oscar: We’re going to swap each night.

Vincent: We’ve got like two posters.

Josh: We’re all sharing a van, there are like 6 beds and there are 9 of us.

Vincent: They’re one of the first bands we met when we were on tour in Liverpool right at the beginning. So we’ve known them ages. We always hung out together and played the same kind of festivals and then one late night we were like ‘let’s just do a tour together’. Nobody does that anymore, they used to do it more.

Josh: Yes, now it’s just like headliner and support. But now doing this kind of music us bands have got to stick together as friends and musicians. You’re stronger together.

Oscar: We’re also aimed at the same people.

Josh: That’s probably the best way of doing it. It’s a roulette, to see them headline one night and then come the next night and it’s us headlining.

Vincent: We’re both going to be playing the same length sets every night. One person said that it was their favourite two bands playing.

Oscar: One person, only one person. But that’s good.

What’s the best thing about touring?

Vincent: The best thing has got to be seeing places that you would never see. We’ve been really lucky and played in Moscow, New York, Paris, LA, Warsaw, Vienna. I would never go there normally. I didn’t even go to places in England before the band. It’s good to meet other people.

Oscar: When you have a good show it’s all worth it. If the show’s good that’s great because you drive for nine hours and then play for half an hour, so you have as much fun on stage as possible.

Vincent: And it shows that there’s such a big spread of people that are into music or are just good people that we’ve met through touring. Who’d have known that there’d be somebody that you get on really well with in Hamburg? You’d never know. There are people everywhere and it’s just quite warming to connect with people, especially at a time like now, it’s good to have that. 

What’s the best place you’ve visited so far?

Ranald: We have good gigs in places and you don’t actually see the places. We had a great gig in Warsaw but we didn’t really get to see much of Warsaw. 

Vincent: Moscow’s pretty great.

Josh: You don’t really get to see that much, it’s sad. I guess once you’ve done a tour and been through the place twenty times then you know it really well.

Oscar: New York was really good. We got to spend two days there and hang there for a bit.

Vincent: Depends whether it’s the actual gig or the night after. Sometimes a bad gig makes a really good night. New York I think for the show and for the night was the best.

Let’s talk about your most recent single release ‘Cannonball’. What’s the inspiration behind that track?

Oscar: Cannonballs!

Ranald: Musically it just started off as a sort of stompy piano thing a bit like the Scissor Sisters, but then it was kind of a bit weirder and then Oscar put this disco drum beat on it.

Oscar: I’d been listening to the Bee Gees.

Ranald: We worked with this guitar riff at the time that was quite Bowie-ish, like fame and that kind of stuff. We’d been experimenting a lot and a lot of it we haven’t put out.

Vincent: It’s about me!

Josh: It’s a song from Ranald about Vincent.

Vincent: Most of them are.

Josh: That’s what we write about, it’s what we see the most of!

Oscar: You write about what you know.

How does the songwriting process normally work with you guys?

Vincent: It varies, we write a lot of the lyrics and stuff like that together. It’s just everyone is different. Sometimes it can come from the drum beat, a riff or some line or some idea or concept of a song. It’s varied because we’ve worked with quite a few really different producers with different styles. Like they want to do everything all in one or do things completely separately. As that’s happened to us, the writing has bent to whatever the job was at the time.

Is there an album in the pipeline?

Vincent: No...

Josh: Firstly there’s going to be an EP out, we’re sorting out the logistics of that at the moment and then the album will follow at some point. We don’t have any dates set at the moment though. Stay tuned Hidden Charms fans! It’s coming.

Vincent: Stay tuned!

How would you describe your sound in three words?

Vincent: Knuckle

Oscar: Curry

Ranald: Albatross

Oscar: Ostrich is a big part of our music.

Josh: We’ve had a lot of words here..I like knuckle.

Oscar: Milktoast. It’s actually one word, it sounds like two words but it’s just in one.

Josh: A toast made of milk?

Oscar: If you don’t know what milktoast is...just a shallow person..I believe it’s actually a Shakespearian saying.

Josh: Chair.

Vincent: Spotty damp knuckle. 

Oscar: With a bit of Abba and the BeeGees on top.

What’s your festival essential?

Josh: An escape route.

Oscar: A spade to dig a hole to burrow somewhere.

Vincent: That’s the thing, we don’t really stay that long anymore. So you don’t need the essentials.

Josh: Even when we do stay for long, we’re so unprepared, always. We turn up at festivals in white converse that get destroyed in the mud. You’d think we’d be more prepared but we’re not. At Isle of Wight none of us brought a tent and then we stayed the whole weekend. 

Oscar: I think when you go to Europe though, an essential is a passport.

Josh: We didn’t need them the other day! We went to Europe and two of us forgot passports and the driver and we managed to get to Holland or Belgium or wherever it was without passports.

Oscar: It won’t happen anymore.

Josh: It was a bit difficult getting back.

Vincent: And then Boris came....

Josh: Whatever our festival essentials are, we probably have forgotten them!

Hidden Charms are playing numerous festivals this summer and you can catch them on their co-headline tour with The Vryll Society this Autumn. Check out their new single 'Cannonball'.