Need To Know: Hooray For Earth
By Max Berlinger
I like that it’s super positive and since your single “Surrounded by Your Friends” also seems positive, it seems your band exudes that energy.
I definitely like positive feelings. The world is a terrifying place and people are terrifying. At the same time, it depends on how you look at things and who you're talking to. Everyone has the ability to interact with each other positively if they decide to do so. That’s a recurring theme for me. “Surrounded By Your Friends” is about positive things and it’s definitely about being surrounded by your friends, but that song was originally conceived about a funeral. In the end you are surrounded by your friends, you know? But there are good feelings and positive feelings. Being psyched is a theme for me.
You named your EP Momo because you like peaches?
Peaches are the most attractive fruit to me -- both visually and for their taste. Momo is the Japanese word for peach. That is one thing but it mainly came from a nonsensical language I have with some friends. There are a whole lot of words we use that aren’t actual words. Momo is a broken down version of one of those words.
I'm really interested in the remixes of your tracks. I feel like all your songs have been remixed by big names such as Lemonade and Twin Shadow. Are they your friends or did you commission them to remix your songs?
Lemonade we didn’t know at all. They were friend of friends of friends. Someone told us to get a Lemonade remix and I was like, “Fuck yes, let’s do it!” With Twin Shadow I'm very close with George, who basically is Twin Shadow. We actually worked together a long time ago at a deli making sandwiches for college kids. I’ve been listening to that record a lot, especially the first track, “Tyrant Destroyed.” It’s heartbreaking. We were actually working on something together a few months ago and asked them to do a remix because no one had remixed “Surrounded By Your Friends” yet. He agreed but was really busy but no one had touched that track. He knocked it out of the park. He played a saxophone solo! Come on! The Chairlift remix I love. I didn’t know them personally either but it was very minor degree of separation and we became friendly. They did an awesome job. The song remained in a similar song structure but they totally ripped it apart and made it a different vibe and changed the chords.
Are you back in New York or are you still on tour?
I got back on Monday night. It’s great. I was going bonkers.
How many cities did you go to?
I think it was maybe 18. Nah...that's too many. We probably played 15 or 16 shows. It was quite a trek. We'd never gone that far before. Our first couple tours were more compact. But on this tour our first show was in Kentucky, so we had to drive from New York to Kentucky, which was 15 hours. That was the first show and then we went down to Texas and played Austin for a little festival in Frisco. Then we drove through Frisco to San Diego, which is another ridiculous drive and then all the way up to Seattle. The last three shows were really far—first Salt Lake City and then Omaha. We drove home from Omaha, which was another 20 hours. It was crazy. It was a long time and a lot of driving.
Are you home for a while and going to play some shows in New York?
We're home indefinitely. We're making plans but nothing solid. I am home for a while as far as I know. We have a few CMJ shows and we have a residency at Pianos all through November, which is awesome. All the people that we got to play with is ridiculous. I made this huge list of bands and almost everyone was able to do it. I am definitely looking forward to it.
They have a really dangerous happy hour margarita.
Two of those and you are set for life.
I'll have to remember that! I never used to spend much time there but our manager is doing some booking there so I'll be there a lot, popping in and out. That might have to be my new happy hour spot.
Do you have creative involvement with your music videos? Do you write the script or does the director?
The director on “Surrounded By Your Friends,” Johnny Woods, I had noticed a couple of years ago and when I re-started the Hooray For Earth project, I decided to pursue him. Before we did the EP I found his stuff and I talked to Josh Eschelon, who I did the EP with, and coincidentally he was one of his best friends from Philly. I ended up sending a demo version of the song and he really liked it. He wrote the whole thing based on my demo recordings. I had one percent input on it. I didn’t need to say anything. He sent me the idea and I was like, “Oh my god, great, let’s just do it.” He went crazy on it. He found someone to make all the puppets and be the puppets in the video. He created this awesome, imaginary world that I very vaguely described to him. There is the forest part, the city part and the space part. It's the perfect vibe for the song as far as I’m concerned.
I love that video!
It’s awesome. Did you see the video for the later track “Form?”
Yeah, I did.
I made the bare bones of the video with the flashing lights and the silhouette in front of my TV. I really liked it but it wasn’t totally done. I showed it to Johnny Woods and I brought my basic video over and we hooked up these gadgets and had it going through a VHS machine. We basically live video jammed with a bunch of knobs and cassettes. It turned into a flash monster of a visual experience. Again, I thought it went awesome with the song. I am kind of a Warped Records junkie too. If you put loud, flashy music in front of me I totally zone out. That was my tribute to Warped Records. The “Get Home” video is Johnny Woods again. I basically said nothing. I love having input on the video, but I’ve just been lucky that Woods is someone I completely trust.
Where would you ideally like to hear your music? In a movie? In a restaurant?
If I heard it at a bar I might be embarrassed, but if I heard it a huge rock club I might be able to get down to it there. As always, I think it’s a typical response that people would want to hear their music in the right context of a movie…if it’s used properly. Not at the party scene of a frat house, but more in the rolling credit sequences or the intro. I am definitely into that.
For upcoming tour dates and information of Hooray For Earth’s residency at Pianos in New York visit: hoorayforearth.net
-- COURTNEY NICHOLS