Hello Bear are a power pop outfit from Norwich, Norfolk. Smashed Vinyl caught up with the band ahead of the release of their new EP ‘I don’t Know… It’s Good Though, Isn’t It?' that was recorded with Deaf Havana producer Lee Batiuk. The band will have their EP launch gig at The Owl Sanctuary in Norwich on 3rd November.
Can you tell Smashed Vinyl (SV) a bit about yourselves and the band?
Hello Bear consists of:
Luke Bear on lead vocals and guitar, Mary Bear guitar, Tom Bear bass and Daryl Bear on drums.
We're a four piece Powerpop / Pop Rock band from the fine city of Norwich, Norfolk, UK.
We formed before being in a band was cool.
We enjoy, coffee, cartoons, beer, stuff that rots your teeth and your mind (that isn't in reference to hard drugs).
Who are you drawn to and influenced by when making music as a band and independently?
Collectively we're all massive fans of Weezer. However, independently we all have hugely different influences.
Luke being influenced by bands such as Los Campesinos, White Stripes, Pavement and the odd bit of dirty soul.
Tom's influences usually stem from various prog-rock bands and classic rock such as Thin Lizzy.
Mary's influences rage from Dire Straits to Joni Mitchell and anything that comes in-between. Where Daryl is influenced by a mixture of Punk, Rockabilly, Garage and Ska music.
How has making this EP differed from the music you've made in the past?
Our older material is quite heavily indie based, a cross between Los Campesinos and The Pixies I guess. This is because when the band formed we started with a mixture of songs composed by Luke.
As the band grew and we started writing new songs together our influences mixed. So our sound is kind of a tech, hyperactive Weezer I suppose.
I think also, as our older material is indie we recorded with indie producers. However, with this latest E.P we worked with a fantastic producer called Lee Batiuk who mainly records metal bands. So our sound has more of a punchy heavy sound compared to the more "Lo-fi" elements of previous releases.
We seem to be in the middle of a crisis when it comes to music venues closing down and the decline in nightlife across the country. Have you found this has affected you when touring and if so how?
Venues closures, I mean venues always close. Personally, I'm not sure if there's a crisis, we've not come across a GREAT deal. But I think some of the problem now days with turn outs to gigs is there is TOO much choice. We're also finding too many venues take advantage of young bands.
Most venues know that if they offer the chance for bands to put on their own nights, bands will jump at the chance.
It means the venue / bar has entertainment that 90% of the time they don't have to pay the bands for.
With so much going on all the time in the big cities, people spread to various venues or just not bother going out, because lets face it, with EVERYONE being in a band now days, there's a lot of crap.
"Back in the day" with fewer venues meant better turn outs. So without sounding Post-Apocalyptic, maybe if more venues are closing, it may make a better scene....but hey, don't quote me on that!
How do you feel about the shift in the way people now buy music? Has streaming music changed anything for you as a band?
I think streaming is good. Instant music! It's helpful for smaller or DIY bands. For one, there's less outgoings in regards to producing physical CDS.
Streaming, I know for the band there's not much money in it. But as I say, if you're smaller or DIY you can only hope that services like this means people can access your music a lot easier, which means people will hopefully come to your shows and buy your merch, as that's where the real money comes from.
After successfully releasing your own DIY album do you have any advice for other local bands looking to release a DIY album?
Shop around when it comes to producing a physical CD.
If it's your first DIY release, I wouldn't bother with Digital Distribution. Keep to the soundclouds and bandcamps.
PLAN! PLAN! PLAN! Ensure you have a plan together, things ALWAYS go wrong. So make sure you have everything set in place at LEAST 3 months before the release.
Where can we next expect to see Hello Bear?
3rd Nov - The Own Sanctury, Norwich (Our E.P Launch gig).