Interview: Hyde & Beast “Everything is quite DIY around here, people do things for themselves”
We’re fast approaching summer, which means one, well two, things: cider and festivals. For us North East natives, festivals are fast becoming a rarity, despite us arguably producing some real little gems in the last decade, one of these being Hyde & Beast. Northern Lights’ Adam Delicate spoke to band members Dave Hyde and Neil Bassett, literally Hyde and the Beast, to talk about festivals, the North East and the band’s plans.
First up, we talked about the news that the band will be headlining Evolution Emerging in Newcastle on Saturday May 23: “It’s an honour to go on last because there’s generally more people there you know,” Dave joked.
Before Neil added: “It’s nice as well because they have something like 400 bands that apply for it to be in with a chance of getting it. We never applied, we were asked if we wanted to headline it which is always nice.”
Hyde & Beast will be joined by other local headliners such as Lisbon and Shields across nine venues in the city, highlighting the magnitude of it to the local music scene.
“Yeah it’s been important to us, we played there two years ago and I think it helped us a lot, especially locally,” Dave explained.
While on the topic of festivals, we spoke about the demise of Sunderland’s music showpiece, Split, and the impact it could have on the local industry:
“I’m not sure if there’s much of an industry here to be honest,” Hyde admitted. “We stopped Split purely because of the business side of things. We never set out to make money from it, although it would have been nice for all of us to get a little piece of the pie eventually. It’s the people here [in Sunderland] you know, I don’t think they wanted it so much.
“In Newcastle, it seems to work fine. You’ll get like thousands of people at Evolution Emerging maybe even more. I just think it’s here, it’s quite a depressed city (laughs) I mean don’t get me wrong it’s great, I love it here, I’m not trying to slag it off. I just don’t think it [Split] could ever have properly worked here for some reason,” Dave, formerly of the Futureheads, conceded.
“Yeah it’s tough. There does seem to be a general apathy regarding things but I don’t think it will have an effect on the North East music scene as such,” Neil admitted.
“Everything is quite DIY around here, people do things for themselves, we record and mix ourselves. It isn’t a big industry, you know, people will just keep plodding along and do things for themselves.”
Despite this the band seem determined to keep everything locally-sourced. “In saying that, we try to keep everything North-East-centric like the Futureheads always did, they never moved off to London or anything like that. “Lots of people will do it but we’ve got everything we need up here,” the former Golden Virgins drummer explained. “We’ve got places we can record, write and rehearse music. All of our photographs and videos have been done in the North East. Our T-shirts are designed and printed here. It’s everything, the only thing that is not totally North East is the guy who masters our albums lives in London but he’s a Sunderland expat so even he’s from here. And that’s as far away from Sunderland as we get. You know and I think the North East music industry will plod on as always because it’s everyone doing it for themselves as they want to do it.”
“There’s a healthy amount of stuff going on you know, it’s like a lot of things we’re [the North East] left last,” Hyde quipped.
Finally, we talked about what the band’s plans for the rest of the year are. The past year has been a busy one with the band releasing an album, their own brand of beer and their song Keep Moving being chosen as the song to front Prostate Cancer UK’s national Men United campaign, so what’s next?
“We’ve just finished a four-song EP and that’s been sent off this week to be mastered and mixed,” Dave revealed. “So we’ll be releasing that hopefully in the next few months for the summer. And then try and do as many festivals as we can really. It kind of shuts down really, people don’t go on tour in the summer time obviously but we’ll be doing shows for the EP. And then record the third album straight away so just keep busy really.”
Neil finished by joking that they might branch into reggae, I’ll leave that one to everyone’s imagination. Thanks to Dave and Neil for talking to us, all the best to them with the rest of the year. Tickets for Evolution Emerging can be bought here for just £5: http://evolutionemerging.com/tickets