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Hidden Charms

Listening for the first time to Hidden Charms' single Dreaming Of Another Girl/Long Way Down, released last July, was one of the best "music things" that happened to me last Summer. Pure 60's approach and feel, but at the same time sounding so fresh and up to date, the two songs -produced by 60's legend Shel Talmy - famed for his work with The Who and The Kinks- really made my days (and nights...).. The band, consisting of  Vincent (Vinny) Davies (vocals, bass, guitar), Ranald Macdonald (vocals, keys, guitar, bass) Josh Lewis (guitar, bass), and Oscar Robertson (drums), formed in London just two years ago, however they have already and worthly managed to make a considerable fuss over their name. They have already travelled to the US, recorded some tracks along with Nick Waterhouse and also played some cool gigs, while getting back in Europe they performed for the humble and inglorious... Reading Festival. :). Nothing can be explained and regarded as incidental in their story though, because Hidden Charms' charm is not hidden at all. It's actually everywhere, the guys are astonishing! That's all from us, here's a nice cool interview we had with Ranald, we would like to deeply thank him and wish the best for him and the band!

 

The Basement: How did it all start for the Hidden Charms? How did you guys meet and decide to start a band ?
We are essentially two bands that merged together, there were a few bands playing similar stuff in London at that time and we were all had a few good tunes but if we realized came together we’d have a solid set so that’s what we did.

The Basement: How did you come up with your name ?
The name came about while we were working with Kevin Augunas and Nick Waterhouse. We were called something else that was already taken so we went through loads of names using blues songs and phrases and when Hidden Charms came up we thought it was a bit soft but we were eventually convinced that if we could pull off a soft name then we’d be doing something right. I guess we’re just a bit soft anyway!

The Basement: How would your describe your band to someone that has never listened to you before ?
Our good friends from Liverpool are in a band called Sankofa which means “reach back and get it” in a Ghanian language. Basically meaning looking backwards to go forwards which I think is a brilliant way of thinking so we’ll nick that for now, they won’t mind.

The Basement: We are already in love with your single Dreaming Of Another Girl/Long Way Down. When should we expect your debut LP ?
We’re trying to progress in our own way on not pay to much attention to what industry people say. Everyone thinks you should do this or be more like that but it’s important to shut that rubbish out and go your own way. If people like what we’ve done before than hopefully they’ll like what we do next.

The Basement: Will the legendary Shel Talmy be responsible for the production again ? How did this collaboration commence at first place ? What’s it been like working with him ?
Working with Shel was nothing less than a dream come true. I don’t know if newer stuff will be done with him because obviously it doesn’t always make sense to go to America every time you record. Shel was and is an inspiration and now a friend for life.

 

 

 
The Basement: You had a series of live shows in the US. How was the whole thing, was it a good experience ?
Playing in America is one of those things you always dreamt of doing and it really is a thrill to do it. It can be surreal to be standing on stage with your mates that you’ve played in pubs, fish markets and barnyards with to be in New York with a room full of people getting off to your music. It’s one of those high five the lord moments.
 
The Basement: Have you noticed any differences between the US and the UK crowds ?
They love English people in the states, when you say you’re from London they cheer you more than when you say you’re name! In Middlesbrough maybe they aren’t so impressed by that, you might get a slap.

The Basement: So, you had already visited the US for some recordings and a series of gigs. How did this happen, I mean it’s not very usual a new British band recording on the other side of the ocean...
It’s not very usual and you could say stupid but having a manager from the states helps, also somehow it’s cheaper to record in LA than to record in London. These are strange times.

The Basement: And there you met and collaborate with another legend, that is Nick Waterhouse. How did that happen ?
We were working in Sound City with Kevin Augunas at the same time Nick Waterhouse was making his record, we would watch him through the glass. Eventually we did a track together and it really worked, so we ran with it.

The Basement: There’s a 60’s regeneration trend in music over the last 4-5 years. Do you feel a part of it ?
I don’t know if it’s a 60’s thing or just a quality thing. The quality of songwriting was great in those days and I think after a while of not so good writing people are wanting a bit more from a song again. I hope that we can give people a bit more.

The Basement: Would you agree that Allah Las somehow started the whole thing with their masterpiece debut back in 2012 ?
That is a brilliant album but I think really there were people doing it before that, like The Growlers and before that The White Stripes, even before that Oasis, Nirvana. “The whole thing” in my mind being quality song writing.

The Basement: And in the UK, it’s the Temples and Paul Orwell most recently. Do you like their music ?
Of Course, artists like that are really important because after them comes a stream of people influenced by them. To have quality artists influencing young people learning to play is the only way good music can survive.

The Basement: What is your ultimate dream as a band ?
To make a record that stands the test of time ! 
 
The Basement: What do you enjoy doing apart of playing music ?
Josh and Vinnie play football sometimes, well just once actually, as part of jake Buggs charity football match. We were only allowed two people so we put them forward. When oscars not playing the drums he's blowing his saxophone, but that's still music I suppose! we all like drinking and spending time in England's pubs. I also do some painting sometimes. 

The Basement: All four of you are in your 20's. How does it feel to be famous at this age ? How do you imagine yourselves in about five years from now ?
I think we're a long way off being famous!  that's not really something we've got experience of but I would imagine it could be a bit annoying if it got in the way of normal life. In five years I imagine one of us would probably be married, Oscar probably. Id hope to be living in a cabin in the woods somewhere remote. 

 

The Basement: We have a thing with lists here in The Basement. Would you like to share with us your ten favourite bands/artists of all time ?

Elvis Presley 
Bob Dylan 
The Beatles 
The White Stripes 
The Kinks 
The Rolling Stones 
Little Richard 
Muddy Waters 
David Bowie 
Leonard Cohen

Thank you Ranald, thank you Hidden Charms!

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