Photographer: Rebecca Blissett
1. Who are you musical and non-musical influences?
John: Musical influences are a funny thing, because no matter what we would consider to be influencing us, in the end we just do what we do. My tastes as a listener are constantly evolving, but the way I play the guitar hasn’t really changed much in the past six years or so. I’d say Robin Guthrie and Kevin Shields have inspired me in that area, although I don’t actually try to play like either of them. As far as production goes, I like Ulrich Schnauss and M83, but I honestly have no clue what they do in their studios. It’s probably a lot different from what I do.
Michaela: I’m influenced by anything that makes me feel something. This could be music, literature, philosophy, world events, personal relationships.
2. Both of you have worked together for quite some time, previously in Hinterland. But The Hope Slide is a duo; how has this new dynamic changed your approach to composing and recording music?
John: Having fewer opinions to take into account makes it a lot easier to get things done. Michaela and I don’t tend to have many aesthetic disagreements.
Michaela: More music, less politics. We are able to just focus on writing, and making the songs sound how we want them to sound without having to navigate diverse opinions and preferences.
3. The name of the band, The Hope Slide, seems to be a double entendre. How did both of you settle on the name?
John: I think we both claim to have come up with it! It was actually floated as a potential title for the last Hinterland album, but it fits our current music a lot better.
Michaela: We’ve both travelled past the location of the Hope Slide disaster since childhood. Knowing that there are still human remains under all that rock, and knowing how suddenly the mountain fell on top of unsuspecting people just going about their lives, leaves a lifelong eerie impression.
Photographer: Rebecca Blissett
4. Most musicians seem to sway away from political and social statements, but not The Hope Slide. How important do you feel it is for musicians to take a stance on different political and social issues?
John: Our songs might bring up various issues, but I don’t think anyone could accuse us of suggesting what other people should think about those issues. I tend to dislike the mixing of politics and art, because I feel that one inevitably compromises the other. The imperative to deliver a message tends to limit what you can do artistically, because every aspect of the art then needs to be “on message”. Mostly, I just don’t like being told what to think.
Michaela: I think it matters that people write about what resonates with them. I think life is political, so it is hard for any kind of art not to be. But, I don’t think that artists need to be overtly political unless that is what compels their expression.
5. Accompanying your album release, you have released "The Hope Slide Remixed." Why release alternate versions of these tracks? As artists, what do you think is the importance of remixes of tracks?
John: It was just for fun, really. It’s something I would like to keep doing. Also, I’m available for remixing other people’s tracks!
Michaela: Even though the songs are about specific events, they have an open texture – they are not overtly representational. So, there is room for people to bring themselves to the songs. Having remixes done is a really interesting way to glimpse other people’s aesthetic experience, and provide listeners with different ways to experience the songs themselves.
Keep up with The Hope Slide at their MySpace and Submerged Records page. Head over to their Bandcamp page where you can preview and purchase “The Hope Slide” and both remix collections.
The Hope Slide has contributed a track, “The Survivor,” for “Rock Back for Japan,” a fundraising compilation series for disaster relief. Support the cause at this link for Patetico Recordings.
Also, check out the photography of Rebecca Blissett at her homepage.