Shaky Knees 2016: The Hip Abduction X Vinyl Mag

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Paul Simon’s Graceland album meets Bob Marley–at a dance party in 2016. Oh, and they’re both really high. That’s how David New of The Hip Abduction would describe their reggae, world music sound–or, at least how he would describe it to your grandma. With inspiration stemming from the band’s immersion outside the U.S., The Hip Abduction has a sound that epitomizes the bright, beachy days of summer and takes you to a place far away from home. We sat down with New prior to the band’s performance at Shaky Knees to discuss travel, inspiration and the experimental quality that makes their latest album–Gold Under the Glow–so intriguing.

Vinyl Mag: So how long have you guys been playing music together?

David New: 2010, 2011 is when I guess the official Hip Abduction got started. I mean I’ve been doing the solo thing for a little while. But I think 2010.

VM: So I love Gold Under the Glow, and like your other stuff it has kind of a Jamaican, reggae vibe…what’s the inspiration behind incorporating this sound into your music?

DN: Well I lived and traveled in the Bahamas and the Caribbean a lot, during college after college, I actually worked at a field station teaching sailing and marine biology for a little while and all the stations we listed to were from Havana and Jamaica and I really got into island and Caribbean music. And I traveled to Central America a little bit. So that all comes from my time spent there. And we all individually have lived outside of the country for a little while so it’s in the vein of all of our music. And all the guys.

VM: It’s a really cool sound. I feel like you guys have a unique sound, very beachy. So if you could describe Hip Abduction to someone who has never heard of you before, what would you say?

DN: Well if we’re talking to grandma it’s different then when I’d talk to someone in their 20s or something. But to grandma, I’d say Paul Simon, Graceland album meets Bob Marley at a dance party in 2016.

VM: I like it.

DN: Really high, by the way. They’re both really high.

VM: Even better. How has your writing process evolved, and what was your process like for Gold Under the Glow?

DN: Well I guess it starts when I first wrote a song, when I was like 25. But I was really into Paul Simon’s Graceland album when I was a kid. My mom listened to that. And then I studied a lot of the musicians that were on that album—South African and West Africa. And I just evolved from there. And I was in Africa for a little while, listening. And then we released a couple albums that were influenced by music outside of the country and then this album, we started to listen to more indie-pop, indie-rock, bands like St. Lucia, Vacationer, you know modern, alternative bands. Daft Punk, I’ve been really getting into synth pop and dance. And I love fucking around with old synths, like analog synth pedals and stuff. So what I’ve been listening to has influenced the more electronic sound, a little more four on the floor dance stuff, but the world is still there. We may not be playing reggae music, or West African traditional music, but it still takes someone to a special place, the island or the same place that maybe an old record would take someone, or any reggae music or West African music. World music in general.

VM: So would you say that this album was more experimental than your past?

DN: Yeah, I feel like this is our first, who we are, kind of album. Other ones were like, let’s try to replicate this old sound of the 60s, you know like a lot of bands do, trying to replicate old, trying to do what bands in the past have done. But this one was like, I wanted to move forward, and this one is us. It sounds like us, no one is really combining these sounds with these sounds, this particular feel. But there’s a lot of white dudes from southern Cali playing reggae music, or bands playing traditional West African music. So this is our own thing.

VM: So with Shaky Knees coming up, do you guys have any pre-show rituals or routines?

DN: No, we’ve got to massage the keyboard player. He’s got to get a massage. His back is killing him right now, so have to give him a little massage. We like to chill, I mean there’s no—I think a lot of people think that backstage is crazy, party and shots and all that but it’s not really like that at all. I think when you’re trying to do this for a career and day in and day out just try to take it easy. Have some organic foods and juices and feel good, get some good sleep and take maybe a shot before the show. That’s pretty much it. I mean rituals—no, no jumping upside down or any chants.

VM: Nothing crazy?

DN: No, maybe we need some though.

VM: What’s your favorite thing to perform live? Do you have any favorite covers?

DN: Yeah, right now we’re doing one of our own instrumental versions, which is a drum jam. I’ve been taking some drum lessons and we jam a little bit. And then we cover Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”, but it’s a tropical house version. So we’re rocking that on this tour and it’s one of those songs like, we have to stop playing this? Cause every tour you have to do a different cover, but I don’t want to stop playing it. So I still love it, and we’ve played it for four months now. And that gets the crowd excited.

VM: Yeah, I’m sure it will be a big hit at the festival.

DN: Yeah, we’re going on early and it’s gonna be hot in Hotlanta, but hopefully people can find some shade.

VM: You have quite a few tour dates coming up after Shaky Knees, so is there any city or venue you’re excited to play?

DN: You know, these are all new to us pretty much. We just started touring, we’re relatively new to the scene. And 2015 is our first—I was talking to the guys and we’ve done 14 new cities that I’ve never been to in my life in just a couple months. So you know we love New York City, we have a pretty big following there. We’re playing with Umphrey’s McGee a little bit, so I think it’s more about, we love the festivals, we love going to new cities and new markets. The Hamilton in D.C. is fun, but I have no answer for you, I just like them all.

VM: Well you get to see a lot of new places, so I’m sure that’s exciting.

DN: It is, yesterday we went white water rafting and mountain biking, and zip lining in Charlotte, and now we’re heading to the foothills of West Virginia, and we’re doing a hike, up to 7,000 feet I believe, so pretty excited about that. It’s nice to have days off, that’s for sure. But yeah, traveling is fun in doses, if you get enough days off.

A junior studying journalism and music business at the University of Georgia, Camren spends her time procrastinating under the discover tab on Spotify and taking pictures of her dog. After spending the summer abroad, she has a remarkable appreciation for good gelato, cheap wine and British accents. With favorites like Simon and Garfunkel, Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay and Moon Taxi, she is open to a variety of musical genres and is a connoisseur of any and all music festivals. In her spare time you can find her binge watching her latest obsession on Netflix or dreaming of ways to meet and marry John Krasinski.

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