I remember once having a genet or goodlife compilation cd with a hitch song on it, that must be ages ago, what have you been doing since then?
We have been around for about 11 years now and we have always been playing since then. We released four full length albums on various labels and a shitload of 7"es. We've toured Europe about a dozen times now and we toured the US twice. Only last summer we were in South-Africa for a couple of shows. So what can I say ? We have always been around doing our thing. We did emerge from the Belgian HC scene and kind of grew out of it as the scene was mostly metal(core)-orientated back then. We felt we could appeal to a broader audience, an audience that could appreciate a HC band not playing metalcore, you know, but more noisy and melodic music. We did always embrace the DIY spirit and punk-attitude we got to know then, being a part of that scene.
We are on a Genet and on a Goodlife compilation yes, that's correct. Goodlife released our debut MCD/7" back in the days, but today we prefer never to hear it again..J
You've released songs on Divot records, the label of Fred from HAYMARKET RIOT, how did you guys get in touch? You've also released a split?
Kevin and Fred of Divot released the Monolith album in the US, which they licensed from Delboy Records out of Ghent, Belgium. We got to know them when Xavier of Delboy Records set up Haymarket's first Eurotour.Delboy then released Haymarket's Bloodshot Eyes for Europe (licensed from Divot/Thick)
They have been very good friends for quite some time now and we have toured Europe and the US with these guys. They are amazing people and an equally amazing band.
When we toured the US with Haymarket Riot, WhatElse?Records (from Bloomington, US) released a Hitch/Haymarket Riot split 7" (The Figuritas single series) so we could sell it while on tour. We hope to team up again soon.
Your latest record "We Are Electric" is absolutely fantastic. How would you describe the songs and what's new about the album compared with the former ones?
Thanks a lot. At first this is actually a live album: We recorded it live in the studio on two inch tape and afterwards we only did a few overdubs with guitars. So this record is about as honest as it can get. So there's no special effects or endless overdubbing. We decided to work like this as we wanted a sound that was very close to our live sound. The songs kind of asked for this approach. It took us about 5 days to record and mix the album. The previous album "Trails are ablaze!" was recorded in a period of three months in our own studio. So that's the main difference I guess. We wanted this record to be as organic as it could be. That's also why we recorded on analogue equipment.
You recorded in Zagreb, in how far did that differ from previous recording sessions?
The people who run the Kozmo studio in Zagreb have been our friends for years. They play in bands like Lunar and Analena and are involved in Moonlee Records aswell. So we knew their records and we knew how they worked. They have this huge two inch tape recorder which is amazing and they have all this analogue equipment which worked perfect for our music.
We wanted to work fast in an environment that we felt comfortable in. It's always nice to be there. Zagreb has become our second home. In the day we record and at night we hang out, you know. We also think that's important to go away to record; at least at that point in time.
We wanted to fully concentrate on this record and et away from daily hassles like work.
Moonlee Records has put out some brillant records in the last few months do you think there's a new wind in music after we've survived metalcore?
Of course! I think the nice thing about Moonlee is that they don't think in genres or categories. If they like it, they like it, you know. That's how we work aswell. All in Hitch listen to a lot of different musical styles like hc/punk, noise, hiphop, metal, and jazz/avant garde. I think that's the coolest thing about Hitch : I'd like to think that, through the years, we have created a sound that is our own, by working with all of these diffent influences, by getting older and being more open to a lot of different influences in music or art.
Here in Belgium, after the boom of the harcore scene in the nineties a lot of ex HC bands have been doing interesting stuff, pushing the boundaries of the genre while maintaing the right attitude. I think that's a great evolution.
Did you have other labels asking you to sign a contract? What made you opt for Moonlee?
Not really. We've always worked with people we know on a personal basis. I think that's very important. We actually help out to run our own label with a group of good friends (called Vlas Vegas Records) and our latest record is actually a co-release with Moonlee. As I said before we have been knowing these guys for ages and we though it would be a great opportunity for both to do our record as a co-release, so both labels can benefit from the distribution of the record. So that was that. There was already a connection when we were still involved with Delboy as Xavier released Lunar's debut record on his label (called There's no one)
How would you characterize the people in the band with three words each?
Mich : music, art, jawbox
Olivier : cook, loud, shipping news
Paul : hats, photography, bootsy collins
What are the quintessential features of HITCH lyrics? Is there any message you'd like to convey?
There's not really a message, no.Lyrics are mostly introspective and kind of abstract. The make sense to me on a personal level and I usually write them after we made the music. I tend to keep them pretty abstract so it easier for people to relate to. Lyrics are very important but equally important as the music.
You've got a split with AMEN RA coming up, how many songs will we get and when will the split be out?
Our song is already recorded (during the Weare electric! Sessions), it's called Slavonski Brod, and it's an instrumental song. Amen Ra still has to record their song as they we busy playing live and promoting their latest album. The split will have one song of each band and we hope it will see the light somewhere next year on Vlas Vegas Records. Keep an eye on the website for updates on this. We're very excited about this split. The Ra guys have been good friends for ages and there's a mutual interest in eachother's music.
Do you think the chemistry in a trio is more intimate than in a bigger band? Do you guys also hang out together when you're not on tour?
It's definetely more practical. I play in another band where there's 12 people in the band and I should know.J I have always had a love for threesomes I guess. (Bands like Unwound, Melvins,..) We are believers of the code of three! It's just practical in a lot of ways (touring for instance) and it has always worked for us. It would be very strange if a fourth person would join the band, I guess that would be the end of Hitch.
Olivier (drums) and me have been playing in this band for about 11 years know so we know eachother through and through and yes, there's a certain kind of chemistry when we play together I guess.
Me and Olivier hang out quite a lot, we go and see the same shows, we go to the same bars,..etc. Paul is from another city and it's harder to team up. But all in Hitch are good friends and I think that's very important. While on tour we have a blast.
How do you guys earn a living, playing in a band most of the times doesn't pay the rent?
We all have full time jobs! I am a social worker and I work with teenagers. Paul works for a record company and Olivier just go a new job learning unemployed people all kinds of technical skills. He has two kids aswell.
I still play in this other band called Galatasaray, I write for Semtex Magazine (www.semtexinc.com) and together with friends we run our little organisation called Vlas Vegas (this includes running a recordstore, a label and putting up shows and festivals).