Having the opportunity to catch them several times live at Liverpool Sound City, Larry managed to grab the members of Liverpool outfit The Hummingbirds (not to be confused with the 80s Sydney band of the same name) to talk about their shows, performing for the Queen, The Beatles, their music and much more...
Let’s talk about what you’ve been up to the last couple of days. You were saying you had never busked before and you busked for the Queen!
Yeah, so it’s a good start to busk for the Queen. We didn’t know it was busking until an hour before, we thought it was going to be a full stage with amps and lights and we got a call just saying it’s completely acoustic, just take your guitars and just play. We always talked about busking though, we thought it’d be a cool thing to do with harmonies and acoustic guitars, we’re good live, it’s not like we’re a studio band. We couldn’t cancel, we couldn’t cancel on the Queen so we just decided to do it, and we’ve been busking all weekend basically.
Well you played the opening party a month ago and at the industry party Wednesday night, so you definitely are sort of ambassadors, official or otherwise!
It’s a big festival, so it’s great that they actually picked us to do the opening party in London and the party in Liverpool. The roof-top show today was a one-off so that was brilliant.
How did that gig come about? Had you done that before?
No, no one has ever done it before and it’s not going to happen again they said, so that was pretty special.
The crowd loved it.
It’s something new and different, than just going around and doing gigs. So this weekend we basically started new stuff like busking and doing the rooftop gig.
And obviously we fly our banner, we’ve got cards and give out our CDs. We’ve had a lot of acknowledgements, like the online following has just gone up over the past week, like people were sitting in Nando’s were tweeting saying, ‘there’s a band on the roof’ and they saw the sign and tweeted about us. The social network side of being a band has been such a good thing to get into.
Have you got your heads around that yet? (Social Networking)
We’re still getting around it, but we’re happy with it.
We’re trying to get onto the new stuff that’s happening. Like Twitter obviously isn’t new but it was new for us when we formed the band. After the Wayne Rooney tweet, it has been our main following, we have six thousand followers on there now. The amount of support from people saying they’ve bought our EP, or we just seen you on the street, it’s great.
The amount of followers is going up, the amount of tweets is going up, the sales of EPs are going up and the amount of people that have heard our music over the past two days is probably more than ever.
The festival brings the musical world to Liverpool, you get to play for a lot of people you wouldn't normally have the chance to...
We just met an Australian guy busking and we an American guy and German people as well, they were asking when we were next playing.
Everyone is approaching us asking when we’re going to play for them and to have interviews.
We’ve played the same set about 15 times in the past two days, and everything has gotten way tighter... especially our harmonies.
What’s been the highlight so far of the shows you’ve done?
I’d say today on the roof.
For me, I’d say the whole busking experience, it’s something I’ve never done myself. It’s something brand new.
I think last night was amazing, because the room was empty...
And I came back and the room was full...
Yeah you said that on the night - that it can just change like that, it was just unbelievable, the amount of people that were in the room for us, it was just great. Especially as it was people we didn’t know because it wasn’t our usual crowd, because you can’t just get in, you’ve got to have a wristband. So it was a lot of city people who had paid and came to see us. We wanted to go and meet people, but by the time we finished we couldn’t meet everyone.
You just released your second EP, did you record it at home in Liverpool?
Yeah we did we used White Wood studios, which is on the docks, and we did the first EP there. We just feel comfortable there, it feels at home when we’re in the studio. It’s in the same building as our gear so there’s not much lugging the gear around. We just go upstairs and record and go back down stairs to put our gear away. We went for it live this time, it was basically all live except the vocals and electric guitar over the top.
Was it a quick process putting the record together?
Six days, that’s just to mix. I think seven days mixing and mastering. And we're already booked again for our third EP in July, it should be out in September but we’re not setting any dates just because we haven’t written all the songs yet. We’ve recorded one song and written three. It’s just a process, the way we look at it, we kind of think could this song have made it on the last EP, would it have beat other songs and if it has then it deserves to be on the EP but if it’s a weak song we’d rather have four than five tracks. Four great tracks rather than five where everyone will skip the last one. You want to try and keep it different from the last EP.
What do you think is next for you guys? You have the new EP out and physical copies will be available soon. Is there touring planned around the UK?
We did a minor UK tour last year, just to see how we’d do on the road as a band.
We’ll obviously get the third EP recorded and also see where we’re at after this weekend. The weekend was a complete shock for us, we had the rooftop gig and we thought, let’s just get these gigs over and done with. And last night we were just exhausted and thought what a day. It was a turning point. We didn’t know how much the city knew about us, until we played last night and people came down to see us, we feel privileged.
After this weekend we’ve got a few meetings with some people, there’s a few people over this weekend who have been interested about the band, what we’re doing and how we are as people. We’ve realised if you’re in a band, obviously your music is your main selling point but people don’t want to work with idiots and arrogant people as well.
You start realising what it’s all about, getting up early and going to meetings. Obviously when you’re an established band you can just turn up at sound checks and have other people set up your gear and that sort of thing but it’s just lugging our gear around, you’ve got to put in to get back and it’s just investments in our lives.
I think we’ll look back and think that was the best time of our lives when we were touring.
It gives you plenty to sing about!
Yeah that’s it, more concepts for the third EP. We’ve run out of girls and now we’ll write songs about touring [laughs].
It’s really been exciting getting to see you guys perform four times now over the last couple of days. I’ve been very much enjoying it, pretty sure I know all the words to most of your songs now!
Had to heard of those before you came over?
No, haven’t heard the tracks down in Australia yet. Have you had much movement down there that you know of?
Yeah a little bit. We got played on the radio apparently... I’ve got cousins there that told us they heard our songs on the radio.
Well I’ll definitely recognise it that when I hear it now! When you were on the rooftop I wasn’t sure at first if it was the radio or not! It was good of you to play a Beatles song too.
We weren't going to do that actually - we were halfway through another song and thought, ah why not... We got some early reviews where we threw in a Beatles cover and people were saying how predictable and cliched it was to do it. But this was one time where it just felt right. It was the whole point of the gig. It's a nod to the past isn't it? Sound City mightn't be here if it hadn't been for the The Beatles.
Learn more about the band here: http://www.wearethehummingbirds.com/