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Skinny Hobos - Skinny Hobos 2019 Newsletter Interview

08 Apr 2019 // An interview by Freecell

With a gritty, full rock sound two-piece Skinny Hobos are New Zealand’s answer to Royal Blood. Big Riffs, Big Drums! They make more noise than any two people should. They’re also undoubtedly one of the most charismatic live bands on the Kiwi rock scene. With a new recently released EP, they're a must-see! We spoke to them about how they originally formed, their influences and Lucifer:

How did you originally form as a band? Where are you guys from originally?

Skinny Hobos are Alex Elvis (vocals/guitars) and Texas Holdom (drums/vocals). We formed in Auckland in 2014 but really got stuck into gigging in 2015. Alex is originally from Canada but has been living in New Zealand on and off for the last 15 years. Tex is Kiwi, born and bred. Alex and Tex met in high school playing in competing Rockquest bands but lost touch for a number of years when Alex moved back to Canada. Fate through them back together in 2014 when unbeknownst to each other they ended up both working for the same music shop. We had a jam in the shop one night after work and Skinny Hobos was born. Amusingly, some of the songs we jammed that day remain Skinny Hobos songs to this day. Queen Street (off our debut album) and Black Key Dish (off our most recent release The Lucifer EP) were both played in our first ever jam.

Which artists have been your most influence to you as a band? And how did you come up with your style of music?

We both have a fairly diverse array of musical influences, many of which are barely related to what our band sounds like, so this is actually a fairly complicated question for us to answer. I suppose Queens of the Stone Age is probably why the band started. Alex had been playing in a more progressive, post-hardcore instrumental band but went out to see QOTSA one night and came home incredibly inspired and needing to write a bunch of groovy, simple, riff-heavy songs. Also being a big fan of Death From Above 1979 gave Alex the drive to someday start a two piece band. The style of music has evolved fairly organically though.

We have over time attempted to sound like this or sound like that, but every time we try to sound like something specific we have been unhappy with the results. The best outcome for Skinny Hobos has been just improv jamming in the practice room and seeing what happens. We record as much as we can so we can remember what we've done, and then we attempt to arrange those jams into songs. Skinny Hobos is really just the sound of Texas Holdom and Alex Elvis playing what comes naturally in the jam room.

What are your favourite venues and cities to play on tour? What's the weirdest experience you've had on tour?

This is a loaded question as our niche is that we gig pretty much constantly so by now we've played pretty much everywhere there is to play in NZ. Of course, we love playing in our hometown of Auckland because we're at home in front of our friends and family who've been with us since we started the band. We particularly miss the Kings Arms Tavern but Galatos has been a great replacement home. Wellington is always a stand out city, we love Ben and the team at Valhalla for how supportive they are of the local music community, and we've always had great experiences at San Fran as well.

We'd also like to shout out the Gov at Cabana in Napier and Ivan at Nivara Lounge in Hamilton. Most recently we played at Smash Palace in Gisborne last weekend. That was such a cool quirky venue with a bloody airplane used as a canopy in front of the outdoor stage. Honestly there are so many more, I'm afraid to leave anyone out but this answer's getting a bit long...

Where can people find your music?

Albums are available from JB Hi-Fi and heaps of other music retailers in NZ. You can also find us on all the normal online platforms, Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Google Play, Bandcamp, etc. etc. etc. Also loads of other places I don't even know about lol

Big ups on the new EP released recently! What inspired the lead tune Lucifer and what's the energy behind it?

That was a pretty cool one. We'd finished rehearsals for the day and were about to start packing up when I started just playing the riff. Sam came in and 5 minutes later the song was done. Vocals and everything. It pretty much wrote itself. We played it at 2 shows that weekend and recorded it the following week. That recording is what was released on this EP. So, I suppose the energy behind it was really just how raw, organically and quickly it came together.

How's your current tour going with Dead Favours and Coridian?

The tour is half done as we speak. We have already played an All-Ages Auckland show, Palmerston North, Wanganui, New Plymouth, Homegrown in Wellington, Hamilton, Napier and Gisborne. By the time this interview is published, we will have also played Invercargill, Dunedin and Christchurch for Groovefest (Coridian are joining us for those shows). After this interview comes out we'll have our R18 Auckland Show, Raglan, Tauranga and Whangarei shows still to come.

What advice would you give new musicians starting in the music industry?

We get asked this all the time and we always give the same answer. Firstly, what works for some people won't work for other people, so make plans, but don't be afraid to change them. You need to be flexible and keep an open mind when navigating the music industry. Secondly, take every opportunity that comes your way, big or small. The more chances you get to play, and the more people get to hear your music, the more you'll learn, the more you grow, the more exposure you'll get and the farther you'll go.

Photos courtesy of Matt Henry Photography


About Skinny Hobos

Skinny Hobos are a 2-piece Alternative Rock band from Auckland, New Zealand who make far more noise than any two people should!

The Hobos have quickly earned a reputation for being the hardest working band in town. In 2015, they played more shows than there were weeks in the year, as well as recording their debut album at Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studios with engineer Nick Poortman (Ekko Park, Jason Kerrison).

They finished off the year with a very successful co-headlined North Island tour with Wellington band Bakers Eddy, and they were also featured in the December/January issue of NZ Musician Magazine.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Skinny Hobos


Year: 2019
Type: EP
Skinny Hobos
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape

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