Hooton Tennis Club Interview: Slowly Conquering The World

Hooton Tennis Club have enjoyed one hell of a ride in the past few months, we caught up with them to get the ins and outs.

Ben Smith

Last updated: 3rd Nov 2015.
Originally published: 2nd Nov 2015

Image: Hooton Tennis Club 

The last time we spoke to Hooton Tennis Club in February, the band said it was nice to know that travelling the world and playing shows wasn't completely out of their grasp.

Six months and one debut album later, the Liverpool four piece have made that loose thought a reality, plugging their sound around Europe, New York and currently the UK. 

The band from Merseyside hold a distinct charm, their album Highest Point In Cliff Town references playing Spyro The Dragon together, its breezy lo-fi sound is as free spirited as they come, and the slightly off-kilter song writing harks that of Pavement and Weezer.  

What's apparent when speaking to the band is that they remain firmly grounded, taking each show as if it's their last while staying true to their whimsical DIY motif in the overbearing face of pop.

They recruited former Coral man Bill Ryder-Jones to produce their debut LP, and together they're part of a wider force spearheading the Liverpool live circuit. The last show of their tour sees the band land in the city, and more precisely the Kazimier, to form one of the venue's last ever shows.

Keen to speak to Hooton Tennis Club after a whirlwind few months, we hooked up with front man Ryan to talk gigging around the globe and current musical affairs in Liverpool. 

Hey man, how's the touring been? 

It's been good mate yeah, it's been really exciting. Toured Europe, New York, and we're just doing the UK now. 

What are you travelling in, we're constantly hearing about bands being cramped up in the back of a transit?

We're in a van, it's just like a black five seater, it's pretty good. It looks pretty mean, it's got a decent sound system, loads of back catalogues from loads of bands and tonnes of CDs. 

The last time we spoke to the band, you said that the possibility of travelling the world and playing shows is where you'd ultimately like to be. Are you surprised that it's came around so fast? 

Not at all. It's all pretty fast paced, kind of overwhelming in a way. You get to see quite a bit of the city's in and around the places we've been too.

It felt as if we weren't going to have much time to see stuff but if you get up and sort yourself out in the morning. You just have to tell yourself it might only be once so you've got to make the most of it and get up and get out there. 

It's not everyday you're off around the world man. What's been the best place to visit? 

That's it yeah. Probably New York it was pretty incredible, it was exactly like being in a film. Steam coming out of the grids, yellow taxis everywhere, people selling hot dogs on the streets.

We played loads of venues, a place called Pianos, Santos Bar (watch them play there below) which is owned by Andrew WK, which was a bit weird. Rough Trade in Brooklyn  was really cool.

It was all great man it was just so sick. We played nine shows in six days, we also did some radio shows in New Jersey. 

How where you received over there for a relatively new band from the UK? 

It felt like it was quite well received surprisingly. You know because we're only just starting out and we go over there and it seemed like people were into it. They weren't like full shows but they were pretty well attended, we were amazed by the turn out. It was incredible.

You're slowly conquering the world man. 

Yeah, somehow. We managed to rake it together. 

How was Europe, did you experience any continental madness? 

Yeah man hanging out in places, getting some really great food, and seeing some beautiful cities. We stayed in this little German shack and got really drunk playing card games all night.

It was the night of that full moon, you know when the moon was red? It was amazing man, we just got completely smashed then we were playing cards and someone said the moon was going to change so we ran out.

It was in the middle of nowhere in Southern Germany with trees all around and the sky was so clear so you could see every star and were all just like WOW. 

Is this your first headline tour around the UK? 

It's our first one, we did Europe that was a headline tour this one in the UK is our first. We're selling our own merch and stuff, getting to know the fans properly and talking to people, and having a few drinks afterwards.

There's 13 days to go though so by the end of it we'll be absolutely knackered. 

And then the big curtain closer in Liverpool.. 

Yeah that's the last one this year. That's going to be a great show. Loads of mates coming down, family, friends and then like we're hoping to get Bill Ryder [Jones] to come down and play with us.

It will be one of the last shows at the Kazimier, right?

It has yeah, it's been heavily promoted as such. It's one of the last shows at the Kaz, and they've got Hooton Tennis Club playing.

You know, we know the promoter and he's helping us out with stuff. We're really excited about it and he's really excited about it. Some of the people that manage the Kaz used to live in the same house as me, we're still good friends with those guys so we see them often.

It's exciting, we've played it before, but this one will be a special one. Coming back, we've not played in Liverpool for a while.

It's such a shame to be losing a great music venue. 

It's just rubbish isn't it, rubbish. I mean what can you do? 

It's happening everywhere, but more so Liverpool at the moment it seems.

Yeah everything's just getting pushed out isn't it? It's total rubbish. It's all going to go get pushed onto the fringes, where there's nothing in the middle but banks and high rise flats. And then on the outskirts they'll be loads of decent venues but they'll all be to separate and independently run to survive.

It's just bollocks. What can you do in that situation? 

We spoke to Bill Ryder-Jones recently, who said Liverpool is a lot more progressive now. Would you agree with that at a time when you're losing an integral venue? 

It's definitely more progressive and there's more of a mix bag. People helping each other out and just going for it. It seems to happen so fast in Liverpool. It'll be sorely missed. 

Nice one Ryan!

Find the remainder of Hooton Tennis Club's tour dates and tickets for their show at Kazimier on Tuesday 8th December in the box below. 

Read: Bill Ryder Jones interview: Liverpool is a hell of a lot more progressive

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