Kurt Williams of Hollywoodfun Downstairs
By Cameron Reid
Ahead of their show at Biddy Mulligans this coming Thursday, August 18th, Cameron Reid caught up with Hollywoodfun Downstairs guitarist and vocalist Kurt Williams to talk about the Wellington band's upcoming tour with Phone Sex Robots, the New Zealand music scene and touring through Europe.
What was the catalyst for starting Hollywoodfun Downstairs? To be straight up - to get off our faces in Royal Oak, London. But then it kind of grew into something more serious.
You’re recently back from touring Europe, and have just finished recording your next album, what made you guys want to hit the road again? Yeah, Europe was a blast, 65 shows which has sorted us out mentally and physically. You and I had the idea around Hamtown Smakdown that we would like to do a bit of a North Island tour. Plus it's good to play to friends and family.
I forgot about that! Tell us about the new album, Tetris. What was it like to write and record the follow up album to Reactions and when do you think we will see a release date for Tetris? To us, this album Tetris is something we have been working on really hard - putting the yards in and working out the style we are comfortable with, without giving anything away. Tetris was recorded with James Goldsmith at Blue Barn, 12 tracks in 4 days. James knows us and likes to push us which is awesome. We are about to hand the tracks over to Chris Common in El Paso, who we met when playing with Le Butcherettes in Brussels. I'm not really going to say much about the sound or shape other than… you’ll see!
What is your writing process typically, and do you guys write while you’re touring at all, or is it all done in the practice room? We made a track called ‘Reverse Ahoy’ in an old bomb shelter in Osijek in Croatia - now the collective there is so awesome, Danja and Darko are like family now. The majority of the writing is done in my bedroom to start with, then I forward the noise to Joe and Grant at practise.
How many tours have you done through New Zealand, and is there a town or city or venue that you look forward to playing the most? Heck - we have done a few tours around NZ. Our favourite is definitely Mount Maunganui. Great crowd and people.
Same question, but swap New Zealand for Europe: How many tours have you done through Europe, and is there a country, town, city or venue that you look forward to playing the most? UK/Europe we have played 90 shows in two tours so picking a favourite from that is hard, they all rock. Paris in November will be a blast and also playing the Leeds PieRace festival where our good friends Riggots will be playing, check them out!
What are your feelings about the New Zealand music scene at the moment, and what things could we learn from Europe/UK? I’m so far out of touch I wouldn't know, to be honest. Down here bands like Starving Millions are great, they just toured Aussie for the second time. Press Gang is something very special in NZ, like Austin in Tauranga.
I see noise-punk and post-punk being used as descriptors for your band, which I don’t entirely agree with. Personally, I think you guys fit in far more with the post-hardcore sound of the 2000’s, with bands like Blood Brothers, This Night Creeps, and Some Girls. Do you think that’s a fair comparison, or have I totally missed the mark there? You are spot on. The Blood Brothers, man. What can I say?
What bands are you listening to at the moment? Head Wound City - Deafheaven - Birds in Row - Bad Breeding - Touché Amore.
What’s your favourite Hollywoodfun Downstairs song to play live?
Which other NZ bands should we be listening to? Broods’ first album. I don’t know why but that dream element gets me when lying down in the van on the highways.
You can curate a show anywhere in the world with any three bands, dead or alive, and there’s only one thing to drink…who/where/what are we quaffing?!
The Blood Brothers, Pet Shop Boys, Blur. Tokoroa Football Club with Tequila!