It’s hardly a secret that Brighton is home to some of the best musical talent we’ve seen in recent years. The city is bursting from the seams with talent, and it’s fast becoming an indie haven for talented musicians to play to crowds who are seeking some under the radar goodness. One of the most exciting up and coming bands coming from this sea-side music scene is House of Hats, grass roots folk band with an anthology of gorgeous tracks. the girls are caught up with Noddy to talk about mums, Brighton, girls in folk and The Police.
Hey Noddy, how are you?
I am very well thank you.
You’re part of Brighton’s House of Hats – what’s the music scene in Brighton like at the moment?
It’s booming! There are some really great acts coming through in Brighton and it’s really exciting.
If you had to choose a certain food to describe your music, what would it be and why?
I think I would have to say something like an Apple Pie with a side of chocolate. They are both very comforting foods with simplicity and honesty.
How long have you been playing the guitar?
Roughly around 5 years.
When did you combine it with singing?
The reason I picked up the guitar was to aid my songwriting and expand my understanding of music, so I combined it instantly. I have always been a singer first and foremost but I needed to take my creativity to the next level and the guitar was perfect.
Who’s the most influential lady in your eyes?
Honestly… My mum. It may seem like a typical answer but she really is. She has lived an unbelievable life so far, filled with so many tests and dangers and yet she still remains happy and strong and so positive on every outlook on life. She has never let me down and her support through my musical endeavours has allowed me to continue and follow this path I have set. I couldn’t really do it without her. I was going through the influential ladies in the public eye, but I want to give you the honest answer.
You’re a dab hand at a vast range of genres, especially after your time with Will and the People who played a mix of reggae, pop, grunge and ska. What’s your favourite genre, and you have to pick only one!?
I love roots music. I started off as a singer of the blues and my heart still sort of belongs there. Folk has always been a part of my life throughout my childhood, although if I have to pick one it would have to be reggae. It’s so uplifting and sticking on a bit of Bob Marley is always a great idea – it makes every bad feeling go away. Having the chance of exploring reggae with Will and the People was an incredible experience.
You’ve supported the likes of The Police and The Script: how was that experience?
The opportunity came when I was touring with Will and the People and it was mind blowing. The Script are such lovely guys and we had a lot of fun playing the shows with them, they’re brilliant live. I managed to find this spot above the stage when we were playing The Roundhouse in London to watch The Script and the atmosphere was electric. The Police gig was at the Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park and it was one of our first big shows. Being on the same bill as The Police was incredible, it was their last show together so I was experiencing so many emotions. That was one I will never forget!
So, House of Hats is a very grass roots sorta band: you guys make your own artwork all the way to creating your own musical masterpieces. How liberating is it to be doing it DIY?
It’s brilliant because we can really focus on what’s true in the music, and not have too many distractions with other peoples opinions as to “what we should be doing”. I think the DIY approach is essential when beginning a journey like this. It allows the music, artwork and other creative lines to be real and at the end of the day listeners want something real that they can relate to, not something that is false.
Can it sometimes be a lonely process doing so much yourselves?
I haven’t felt lonely at all, it’s so rewarding doing things yourself. Although it’s a very tough process and can take that bit longer to get the right gigs and people on your side but it’s always worth it when something big comes our way. We have been fortunate to have some really great people in the music industry to guide us throughout the harder times.
You’re the only woman in the band, can that sometimes be hard?
Not at all, the boys are family to me and very understanding if I need some space (which i never do) but never the less it’s a great balance.
What’s your take on girls in folk at the moment? Do you think there’s been a rise at all or has it been constant?
In my opinion I think it’s been constant. Girls singing and playing folk has always been so strong with the likes of Joan Baez and Emmylou Harris back in the 70’s and the beautiful thing about this music is that these women are still going strong. As our live shows are increasing, I am discovering so many beautiful girl folk singers that are bringing the genre to the forefront, but then folk never really goes away.
What attracted you to writing and performing folk music?
I am hugely influenced by the singer and songwriter Bob Dylan, even as a younger girl, so it was always there. The moment it came together was when I sat down with the boys and we all sang together and it just worked. The sound that we were creating with our voices, supported by picked guitars and gentle piano parts, just felt so right and it opened up so many ideas.
Have you got any gigs coming up?
We have. We hold a residency in Brighton called the Harvest Sessions where we host our favourite singer-songwriters and other artists who we have had the pleasure of working with. It’s a great night. We also have some support slots coming up with Paper Aeroplanes and a few gigs in churches which I’m very excited about. They are part of The Live and Unamplified festival in London. It’s so beautiful singing in churches with acoustics.
What’s the most iconic folk track we all should listen to, in your opinion?
It would have to be Bob Dylan ‘One More Cup Of Coffee’.