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Q & A: DESTROYING THE SYSTEM: HOOTIN TALKS POLITICS,




PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF FOR US WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH YOU AND YOUR MUSIC AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.


I (Hootin, i.e. Nick Houghton) am a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from the west coast of Canada. I’ve been in the world of music for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories was as a 6 year old playing Cotton Eyed Joe on the violin in a traveling show. In my teens I took up the drums, playing in every jazz band, orchestra and musical in the B.C. area, eventually enrolling at the local conservatory, where I got to work closely with jazz icons like Paul Horn and Misha Piatigorsky. After University I played with the funk rock band The Party On The High Street, performing constantly all over the world for six years, releasing 5 albums, one of which was recorded at Bear Creek studios with Ryan Hadlock, a Grammy nominee for his work with the Lumineers. While with The Party on High Street we partnered with a pair of actors and helped write a musical titled The Saints of British Rock. This is my first venture as a solo artist, after 6 years on the road with TPOHS and the subsequent hiatus from music during which I lived in Los Angeles I’ve returned back to my home in Canada, where in 2021 I released my first full length album “Exit Conditions" and followed it up with a single Wake Up Call in January of 2022 and a second in May of 2022 titled The New Queen.


TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM OR SINGLE?


In May of this year (2022) I released a single called The New Queen. It was mostly recorded in my home studio and produced by Braeden Rangno of Vancouver. The New Queen is a fictive narrative about the unfair state of politics today. How despite the claims of representational governments, so often they are anything but. The lyrics tell a ‘tongue and cheek’ story about taking the place of the queen of England and destroying the system from within. Not only am I quite proud of the lyrics and their message, I feel I was successfully able to create a driving yet introspective musicality that matches the tone and timbre to give the message more power.


WHAT INSPIRED THE SINGLE?


I don’t know if there was anything in particular that inspired The New Queen. This is my first venture into a political track; I think in this day and age it's pretty hard to not have the state of the world on your mind.


WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?


It's pretty hard to pick just one album that has had a large impact on me. I think the Untitled album by Wintersleep has had the biggest impact on my musical style. I’m a drummer by trade and the drums on that album are incredible. It’s not that they are technically impressive or awe inspiring… The drummer uses his instrument in such a unique way. He creates landscapes that give the rest of each track a new element of artistry. So often drums are used as a bedrock from which the music is built on top. A really inspiring drummer finds a way to be more than that without taking too much spotlight.


DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOUR BAND OR ANOTHER ARTIST?


I’m still a big fan of the music video we filmed with my old band The Party on High Street for our song Pallette for the Party.I won’t even attempt to describe it. Just go watch it, hahah:




WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU’RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?


Gardening. I’ve got a really excellent veggie garden this year. I may just be out there eating snap peas by the hand full


DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?


Absolutely, every time. For the first track or two my hands always feel like they are submerged in jello. I usually crack jokes or tell silly stories between songs. I find it warms the crowd to you but more importantly helps me relax.


HOW DID YOU START MAKING MUSIC?


Being a solo artist means there wasn’t much to it. I got started on this project after 4-ish years of staying away from music entirely. I had been in a funk band called The Party on High Street for years. It was fantastic but we toured so much, it was exhausting and I think I just burnt out. After a few years or working a day job, adopting a couple great dogs and just recuperating I slowly started building a home studio and started working on finding my own sound.


HOW DO YOU WRITE?


There are certain parts of my history I can’t really get away from, one of them is that I’m a drummer by trade. Listening to music, my ears always first gravitate towards what the drummer and bass player are doing. I usually write by following that same model. I’ll head down to the studio and find a good drum and bass groove that’s interesting. From there I’ll flush it out into a structure. Then I’ll add layers on top, synths, guitars… whatever seems appropriate. Finally, I’ll do the vocals. I like this pattern because it really feels like I’m building it up from the bottom, like a pyramid. It also allows me time to get a really good sense of the mood of the track so that by the time I’m writing the lyrics my gut already has a strong sense of what the track is about.


WHAT INSPIRES YOU?


For now, enjoyment. I pursue this project because it’s fun. I write music that is fun to work on and fun to listen to (at least it is for me). Maybe that’ll change in the future, but for now I’m just focused on enjoying what I’m doing.


WHAT IS NEXT?


For now my goal is to continue to build up my catalog. I’m really enjoying releasing singles every 3-4 months. Within the next year or two I hope to do another full album but that is down the line. One day, when I’m ready I’ll take all this music I’m working on live but for now I’m just enjoying the creative process.

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