INTERVIEW: Hidden Hospitals

hidden houses

While much of the city is preparing for the world’s largest music festival, there is, still, other very interesting music happening throughout Milwaukee. One case of that is Chicago band Hidden Hospitals, who are playing Cactus Club this Saturday night. We talked to the band about their background, as well as their new album, “Liars”, which comes out this year.

B&E: Introduce yourselves! Who are you?

HH: We’re Hidden Hospitals. A rock band oscillating in cult-electronica. Think Deftones meets Radiohead’s Kid A with a splash of Mutemath.

B&E: What artists influenced the band’s sound?

HH: I love finding the heavy in places most don’t (M.I.A.), and pretty in places drenched in dissonance (Cursive’s Domestica). I grew up listening to Public Enemy, Motley Crüe, and Weezer. If it’s hard to imagine such a blend, give us a spin.

B&E: You have a new record coming out this year. What can we expect from the new release?

HH: Heavily lyrical. Distortion. Happy from a lonely point of view. Major key signatures. Very loud drums, and a lot of bass. If you’ve expected anything from us, this record won’t be it. Some bands are evolving rock in an awesome way (Phantogram) but the genre is still shedding an old skin. “Liars” is rock n roll. It’s the kid in the garage with his first amp and thrift store guitar discovering a distortion pedal, but that kid was born without a nostalgia for ancient instruments. There’s nothing new or inherently interesting about an electric guitar, an amplifier, or a drum kit – to me they’re not even colors to paint with anymore. They’re the carriers of color, and “Liars” is mix of many.

B&E: Were there any changes in the process of making this album compared to previous releases?

HH: Less democracy, less second-guessing, less nostalgia. Doing more with less. We’ve only got one guitar now (previously 2), and the role of guitar has changed. Guitar used to be notes and timing for me. Marry two guitars together, contrast / compliment, and race to the finish line. It’s a much bigger instrument to me now, but I’ve enjoyed obscuring it’s massiveness on “Liars”.

B&E: You’re on tour now, and you’ve been touring relentlessly. Do you get to work out some of the songs for the new record live?

HH: For the first time ever we’re playing new material before it comes out. If you catch us on this tour, you’ll be the only ones hearing it.

B&E: Finally, what is one item that you bring on every tour that you couldn’t live without?

HH: Patience and empathy for each other. It’s easy to forget when stuck in our own heads that we’ve each left a lot on hold to be on tour together.

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