[Shelby Loasby| News Sub Editor]
Sheer madness, utter chaos and contagious energy. These are the only words that can describe the four-piece hardcore punk band, Hooligan Collective.
Back in December, BlueMoon was lucky enough to attend Hatfield Rocks! to see Hooligan Collective supporting Zoax and headliners Baby Godzilla. We were able to sit down with the ‘Hooligans’ and get the full scoop on the band; their origins, their inspirations and their plans for the future.
Meet the band
The band is formed of four third-year students from the University of Hertfordshire, all from different backgrounds and studying different things. Lead vocalist, Sam Taylor from Norwich, is studying to become a paramedic; Lead guitarist, Dael from CambridgeSHIRE (emphasis on the shire), is studying Primary Education; Drummer, Greg Pain from Cornwall, is studying Events Management with French; and Bassist, Greg Burns (or Greg 0.2) from Surrey is the only one actually studying music.
The band came together through the Alternative Music Society in 2012. Dael and Taylor were interested in starting a band and were on the hunt for a drummer when they found Greg Pain. After a lot of arguments with several members of the society over who would have the rights to the only drummer, Pain finally joined Taylor and Dael. Finding a bassist, however, was a whole other issue.
The band explained that the first guy they tried, just didn’t work out and only attended a few sessions. The next guy, ‘Jimmy’, went to one practice, and even then he “showed up hungover as f***” and was definitely not what the band was looking for. Pain went on to say that two months later he was sitting in Telford Court and heard a couple of people jamming on a bass guitar. He later tracked the guys down and found Greg 0.2. The band was finally complete.
The next obvious question – how did they get their name? They explained that they were throwing one-word things around for a while like Screens and “other random stuff”, when Taylor eventually blurted out ‘Hooligan Collective.’ They agreed that it worked well as a conflicting and oxymoronic phrase; a bunch of ‘hooligan idiots acting together in an organised group.’ Definitely works well for a hardcore band.
And why were they a hardcore punk band? Dael and Taylor knew they wanted to play heavy music, whereas Pain was more interested in something quite punky, and Greg 0.2 simply wanted to play in a band. So when the two genres of heavy hardcore and punk met, it was the perfect mix for everyone.
At this point Pain also added that none of the band are actually playing the instruments they are best at. “Every band I’ve been in, I’ve been the worse drummer. Greg 0.2 is like grade eight drums!” he said, “and Dael did grade seven singing so is probably the best vocalist!”
Well boys, if it works that way then don’t complain! It’s clear they are all talented musicians. They don’t, however, own enough gear and instruments of their own and often have to beg, borrow and steal in order to perform their gigs.
The ins and outs
We went on to ask about how the band works, how they write their songs and how they perform. Dael explained that he writes the riffs first: “They come to me in dreams, visions, if you will.” Then Greg 0.2 will write a bassline to accompany it, and Pain will then write the drums on top of that (and then change it. And then change it again – the perfectionist of a drummer). Once the music has been written, Taylor consults his bank of lyrics that have been compiled over the years and chooses a song that suits.
In terms of influences, Hooligan Collective are heavily associated with Gallows. They have the same ideas of the “atmospheric and hardcore stuff” and have even admitted to almost copying one of their songs (we’ll keep that between us). Pain also added that they like to listen to a lot of music that has nothing to do with their genre, especially on the way to gigs. Songs in their playlist include; The Front Box and a Canadian Jewish rapper called Abdominal. He also made it very clear that Avril Lavinge would never appear amongst any of their music because she “is a stain on the face of humanity” – to put it lightly.
The musical career
The performance at The Attic in The Forum was one of many gigs that Hooligan Collective have played. Most have been small scale appearances but they have featured at places across Hertfordshire, Essex, London and even in a friend’s living room – which the band described as pure chaos, with around fifty people crammed into a small room, all going mental.
The band also have a split EP with the hosts of the living room festival, ‘Supernothing’, who are also Uni of Herters. They were asked by a sound engineering student if he could record both of the bands, so they did three tracks each.
“We were really up for it,” said Pain, “They sounded a lot better in recording than us to be fair. I think we had too much going on at once.” Dael however chirped in; “Nah. I just think their songs are better.” Dael also explained that before they knew how to record songs properly for reference, they used his old phone’s video camera pointed at a bottle of Fanta- they called these recordings the Fanta Fruit Twist sessions.
Their songs range from rants about benefit frauds and the American influence over music, to bombing Hatfield and ‘the magic three – Pizza, Beer and Weed.’ As you can see, some songs are serious and others are more tongue-in-cheek. They have also covered a few songs in their time like; Thriller, Kaiser Chiefs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme tune (although they couldn’t finish it without laughing) and their personal favourite, Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas”.
There is also a music video in the midst for the band’s song “This One Time”, which sees the band rocking budget superhero costumes and Taylor dressed as a cardboard robot. The director of the video, Larry Walters, has worked with a lot of bands similar to Hooligan Collective like The Hell and Lower than Atlantis. Pain explained that Walters was bored on Twitter one day and said he wanted to do a video for someone. They were the first people to reply and managed to score a music video for free, which was recorded in the same room that The Hell had performed. “It was quote cool for us,” Dael said. “It was a place of UK hardcore history.”
Hooligan Collective also recently went to social media war with another band from the Oxford area; Thatchers Love Child. Dael was angered by the fact that the band’s name didn’t have an apostrophe in ‘Thatchers’ and explained that without proper punctuation, the name didn’t make any sense. Dael commented on the band’s Facebook page one day saying: “If you had an apostrophe in your name, someone might book you.” The war then started. Thatchers Love Child started messaging Dael over facebook, getting their family members to ‘friend’ him and hurled abuse at Hooligan Collective; calling them ‘plastics, keyboard warriors and cyber soldiers.’ The war has since calmed down, but it is important to know that Hardcore bands don’t let these things go easily!
Hooligan Collective are of course a university band, which means that it will be very difficult for them to continue once they graduate. However, the band have expressed that they would love to carry on gigging together but can’t see themselves ‘making it big’ any time soon. In the meantime, however, they will continue to perform and write music and promote themselves to a growing audience. They hope to be hosting a house party festival, like Supernothing’s living room festival, at some point in the summer. You won’t want to miss it, so watch this space!
Don’t forget to like the boys’ Facebook page and find them on Twitter @HooliganHCpunk!