Interview: Hint Hint

Hint Hint
interview by Sebastian Ulloa

In 2002 Seattle’s Hint Hint recorded their “Sex is Everything” EP on Cold Crush records. Despite the at times lukewarm and almost disparaging reception with the press, the fans have not yet gotten their fill of dark and dancey sex laden punk. After nearly two years and some apparent turmoil since their first recording, Suicide Squeeze released their full length album “Young Days”. They make their hopeful return armed with a new approach, new bassist, and a shitload of keyboards.

I noticed Peter’s role in the live show changed. He’s no longer playing the keyboard on stage. How and why did that change?
Dean Hudson: We went to the east coast last summer. Because we’re kind of jackasses, we left a box of pedals, chords, and everything else in DC when we played there. So we couldn’t use his keyboard at all from there throughout the rest of the tour. I think he kind of liked it. The keyboard is just like right in front of him, and he just always knocks it over and shit like that. It just worked out pretty well. And Leona’s good, she can play a lot of the parts by herself. So it just kind of worked out better and the show had a little bit more energy. It just felt better. It was easier. That’s another thing, you’ve got all this crap on stage already. At one point, we had two keyboards for Leona and one for Pete, and guitar and everything else. That’s just a lot of stuff. I think in some cases it’s just better to keep it simple.

How did the addition of your bassist [Gabe Carter] come about?
Well, for a brief moment I kind of quit the band. They said they were playing with a different person. We later sort of worked out our differences and got back together. Gabe was the person that they were playing with. He’s awesome. He’s a friend of Jasons. They had played together before. Jason played bass in Gabe’s old band for a while on a tour. So they’re friends from that. He wanted to play bass with us so it ended up all working out. It’s cool because we hadn’t had it before, and I had always thought that we didn’t necessarily need that. We’ve got the low tones on the keyboards and whatever else. However it’s cooler because it allows me, at least as a guitar player, to go more crazy. I don’t have to hold it down as much. I can do more noisy or improvisational type stuff and not have to worry about keeping the lock step beat or whatever.

Would you mind elaborating on the circumstances of why you quit?
We just had different things going on. Well, I don’t know? I don’t really want to get into it too much. It was just like we had a lot of different stuff going on in all our lives.

Was it that the band lost some priority at the time?
There was a little bit of that. It was just a mix of a whole bunch of stuff. We had… I don’t know, we just had different issues that happened over the course of being a band for a while, and we worked them out. It’s like, I don’t really want to…

That’s ok, don’t worry about going into it.
Yeah, it’s just like anyone that you’re that close with for that long. It’s like being in a relationship. It’s like dating someone, but you’re dating four or five people. So, it gets complicated sometimes. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Of course, I’m glad it worked out because I’m really liking it and the way it’s going right now. I think I’m really happy with the way everything turned out.

There is a lot of new, mostly keyboard, instrumentation on the new full-length. How did you guys work all that out?
We’re really fortunate. Almost all of the keyboard stuff is Leona. The stuff that’s not Leona is just little tiny filler parts that are just more for texture. But she really did all the main keyboard parts. Even when there’s multiple keyboard parts, she did almost all of that. We were fortunate in that our friend that recorded us had this cool studio that’s kind of like a warehouse space out between downtown Seattle and Ballard. One of the people he shares the space with is an older dude who just collects keyboards and pianos and stuff. We had a Mellotron which is really amazing. There was a nice grand piano there. There was a Wurlitzer there. We just had all these cool things to play around with. One of the things that I was interested in doing was getting less of a hand synthesizer sort of sound and going more with organic sounds. So like the piano and the Wurlitzer and all that stuff, it just sounds more real, more visceral, and and kind of rich. I was super excited that we got a chance to play around with some of that stuff instead of just like a couple of synthesizers.

Your first EP on Cold Crush was their very first release. What’s the relationship with them?
We’re friends with Derek [Fudesco, co-owner of Cold Crush Records]. I’ve known Derek off and on for a long time just being around Seattle. And Jason’s known him for a while also. We played a show with them I think,and they saw us. Derek was excited about us and it just kind of worked out that way. Yeah, he was like ‘I’m working on this label with my friend Steve [Aoki] who does DimMak, I want to put out your record.’ I thought, ‘Well, we’re recording already so this could just all work out.’

So you had already begun recording, which as I understand it was two months after your first show, before you knew how it was going to be put out?
Basically, we played our first show around April or May and then we just recorded a couple months after that. We had been playing probably a total of six months when we recorded.

Did the band have a lot of options before deciding to have Suicide Squeeze put out the new record?
We had a couple of options. David [Dickenson, owner of Suicide Squeeze Records] is really cool. He’s super amazing. He’s been a big fan of ours. He just talked to us and we were stoked on it. We had a couple of other options but he lives in Seattle and he’s a big fan. He was really excited about us and it just seemed right.

How has the new bassist and new instrumentation affected the song writing?
The song writing process is always in flux. It’s something that’s always changing as everyone matures and has different interests. It’s definitely different writing with a bass and writing with a fifth person. We’re pretty collective about all that stuff. We always have been so that’s the same. Now we’ve got this extra person, this extra personality, this extra taste. We all have pretty different tastes anyway, so it’s always a process. We’re always mixing and matching. We’ve kind of been more careful about the writing process than we used to be. In the past, like for the first EP, we just busted those songs out because we had a show. Actually, we didn’t really have anything written except for like one or two songs up to like a month before our first show.

Sometimes that’s the best way. What’s the saying “necessity is the mother of invention?”
Well, it’s definitely more punk. I don’t know if it’s the best way. You definitely get a whole different feeling with how you approach things. It’s got more of that immediate punk rock feel. I think when you do it that way, and you just bust the shit out you’re just like, ‘Ok, two chords, woo! Let’s go!’

So you spent a long time writing the material on the full-length?
We pretty much wrote the rest of the record since then. We’ve been writing it bit by bit since then. Actually, we went down the west coast about a year ago. It was the second time we went down the west coast sometime around last March. We had already had four or five songs that are on the record that were in some form or another of what we were playing by then.

Would you say that you have a new sound, or that you expanded on the old sound with the different instruments and new member?
We definitely matured and expanded our sound. I couldn’t say one or the other really. I guess we approached things differently. Everything’s sonically different. We don’t have to have a low left hand part on Leona’s keyboard, where she’s essentially playing a bass line, because we have a bass line. So we can actually have a connection with the rhythm section, with the drums and bass. It allows Leona to do more melodic stuff, which she’s really good at. It also lets me not have to lock so much on the beat to hold everything together. It just kind of frees everything up a little bit, and makes everything different for sure.

How much touring are you guys going to do in support of the release of the new record?
We just went down the west coast. We played with Hella and the Red Light Sting who are super awesome. I think we’re going to go down the west coast again at the end of May. We’re trying to work out the east coast soon. It’s hard for us because we have jobs. We either need to have something where we’re not going to be completely broke when we get back if we do the whole country. Or figure out a way to maybe fly out or do something. It’s almost cheaper if you’re going to lose a lot of money in a lot of places to fly out and just do like a week on the east coast. It depends. I know we’re going to do the whole country in not too long. We’re still figuring it out.

How’s your luck been money wise, as far as tours go thus far?
We’ve been lucky. We’ve pretty much broken even on tour. We were very fortunate to have gone out with Pretty Girls Makes Graves twice in the beginning. We were doing the west coast with them and they do really well on the west coast. Playing all ages shows, the kids are stoked on them, and they were stoked on us. We sold a lot of merchandise which was great. We ended up breaking even after we fucking fixed our dilapidated van just enough to get us home.