Interview: Copy Haho

So, indie. It’s dead. It’s buried. It’s the tiresome name that slinks around the room trying to distract us from reading Popjustice and wanting to dance to slick synthpop – hey kids! Guitars are still ace, honest! Devoid of ideas. Devoid of FUN. Boring people use it to try and look alternative, not realising that they missed the boat by twenty years.

So, Copy Haho. Love songs with that speed along, guitars that actually having something to say about my life on account of being lifted from stuff that isn’t Belle and Sebastian. There’s a dose of urgency. There’s a load of smiles, a load of jauntiness. McClusky with the Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues replaced by Ahula-rocknrolla-dancing.

Which is to say that: they’re good. Nay, they’re brilliant. Ignore the indie wrapping and enjoy. I first saw them supporting Los Campesinos! at the Academy in Oxford and then at a sparsely populated gig at The Cellar a week or so later. Like us all they’re from a small town in the middle of nowhere. Their town is Stonehaven, Scotland. Their music is good. I waved a mobile phone recording device in front of singer Joe and had a slightly drunken chat with him. For some reason (possibly their skinny frames) I was terrified that the impending collapse of the music industry might kill them by starvation or something.

Why do you sing on the left of the stage?
No reason…I guess it stems from Stephen Malkmus always playing on one side. When we first started I really hated my singing and didn’t really enjoy it but I liked playing guitar. Richard’s [Bassist] been going AWOL recently and wandering around a lot recently…

Are you skint?
We’re getting to the point where we’re actually able to start making a little bit of money. Not a lot but enough to cover everything have some left over.

Three years ago I’d buy a load of singles every week. Now no one pays.
Everything just uses Google, blogs and megaupload instead. I won’t do it for my friends records but for other stuff…

So you get the attention but no money. Is there any way of squaring it?
No. The music industry in general is a bit over. People have started valuing the bands a bit more. On an underground level everyone’s really friendly, you get to meet people and the general public don’t get to see that. When that becomes more wildly known maybe it’ll change…I think there’s hope but I don’t know what. Someone very clever is going to come up with something.

It all relies on someone coming up with something other than Spotify revenue.
I kinda appreciate the doomed aspect of the whole thing. Because it’s probably not going to work out. No bands at our level are playing for money anyway. As long as you’ve got something else going on you can get by.

How did you convince a few labels to stick out some singles?
They all asked. I know if I could start a label there’s loads and loads of bands that I’d like to put out but I don’t have a lot of money. Not only do we want to make the records a lot of fun but it’s amazing to having something to hold. I know that when I’m fifty I’ll be proud.

A music video, yesterday.

Still in Stonehaven?
Yup. Three of us were living in Glasgow for a year and a half. But until January we’re playing shows and we can’t afford to play rent and be away all the time. You can’t pay rent and be on tour.

How did you get the Los Campesinos tour?
We’ve known each other for a while. And we have so many mutual friends like Sky Larkin so we just got invited. There’s all these bands where everyone’s friends…

I fear that if there’s no money coming in then bands won’t be able to do anything. I don’t know how any gets by.
The answer is that they’re not. It’s really hard. But you can bitch and moan all you like but ignore that artists in any field have always struggled traditionally. There’s still many more important things.

Were you all at high school together?
Yeah, we’ve all been playing in bands together for about five years. We all did different things and then formed Copy Haho.

Where are you looking forward to on this tour?
Leeds is good because we’ve got lots of friends there. The Sky Larkin guys are around. All our friends are fans, that’s how I worked.

Everyone still relies on a couple of people in town making the effort to organise things.
I think it always has been. In America there’s been things like K Records and Matador that have been kids with no money wanting to put out records. Domino started because the guy who runs it wanted to put out Sebadoh – what better reason is there?

What’s the tatoo?
That’s a cassette. The one up here is an old copperplate of a ’30s gent with mustache. It’s got a trumpet and mustache. It’s a bit sore at the moment and I can’t quite roll up my arm to show it…

Buy things from their offical shop or try and get a copy of their super brilliant 7″ “Wrong Direction” since it’s the best thing they’ve done. Although apparently it’s sold out so you might as well just get it off Hype Machine like everyone else.


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