Interview: Fort Hope [December 2014]

By Tamsyn Wilce

We’re here on the final night of tour. What have been your highlights from the last three weeks?

Simon: The whole tour has been a highlight really.

That’s such a generic answer!

Simon: It’s not generic!
Jon: The best shows have been Newcastle, Bristol and Manchester by miles, and last night (London) was phenomenal. Those are definitely the highlights out of the cities we’ve been to.

Any particular reason?

Jon: Just the general vibe of the shows has been sweet.
Simon: The reactions of the shows have been great and all the shows have been great but those ones stand out as being like – they make you realise why you do this and why you play music. It’s been awesome.

Have you had any tour mishaps? Or any embarrassing stories?

Simon: We did go to UPRAWR in Birmingham the other night.

That’s always a treat.

Jon: Panks (merch guy) was in tears.
Simon: Panks was a broken man.

Did you do it sober, or did you get drunk?

Simon: I don’t think you can do it sober, can you?

I’ve heard of people doing it sober and it’s a whole different experience!

Simon: Those people are damn fools!
Jon: You’d last about a minute in there if you were sober.
Simon: It was a great laugh but it was a strange night, we got back to the hotel at like 4am and ordered paninis. Rock and roll!

Standard late night snack.

Simon: That’s what the bar was serving, so we had to get a panini. But other than that, there’s not been too many mishaps. We’ve been focusing on what we’re doing.

Well it could all go wrong tonight, you never know.

Simon: Thanks for that!

You’re welcome.

Jamie: Annnnd that’s the end of the interview!

Hahaha! Sorry. Has it been weird or difficult making the transition to a three piece or did it all just happen naturally?

Simon: Yeah, easily.
Jon: Technically we’re not a three piece because we have our friend Matt on guitar with us, who is a fucking legend. He managed to pick it all up really quickly. He had about two weeks to rehearse before the tour and he’s actually so good he adds to the band and makes it a lot better than what it was before. It’s made us a lot happier with how we’re playing and what we’re doing live.
Simon: It’s opened up a lot of possibilities for us as well.
Jon: I think in terms of percentages I’d say we’re about 50% better with him involved than we were before.
Jamie: Hopefully he can’t hear us saying all this, his head is big enough!
Jon: He’s just made it really easy for all of us to enjoy it and we don’t have to worry if he’s gonna fuck up or anything like that, because he’s the best so it’s been great, it’s been a real easy transition.
Jamie: Yeah it’s just been natural hasn’t it? A lot of fun.

Good! You’ve been premiering the new track ‘Plans’ on the tour as well: how’s the reaction been to it? Has everyone been enjoying it?

Jon: Yeah! It’s been great. It’s an opener for us and it’s pretty hench.
Simon: It’s a bit of a bold statement when we come in with that.
Jon: It’s a good track to open with because it’s really energetic.

Definitely. It’s a little heavier than the tracks which featured on ‘Courage’, was that planned? Was it intentional?

Simon: Haha yeah, without saying the word ‘Plans’, it was.
Jon: We weren’t really happy with the production we had before, so moving forward the production’s going to be more on our own terms, which is definitely going to be a little bit more realistic to what we are live.
Simon: A bit riffy, a bit more balls.
Jamie: Yeah exactly, we’re always a little bit heavier live, so you’ve got to get that transition across.
Simon: I just wanted to get the word “balls” into an interview.

Hahaha! Brilliant. Is ‘Plans’ a good indicator to what we can expect from your self-titled EP that comes out next year?

Jon: In some ways, yeah. I mean, the thing with Fort Hope is that we are kind of schizophrenic in how we write, because we don’t really have a genre that we want to stick to because that’s too limiting, so we just write what we want and produce it in the way that we play it live. It will be a lot more edgy and raw then anything we’ve released before, because it’ll be a lot less like, what you call ‘produced’, just because we want to capture that energy that we have live now, so yeah I guess it will be similar to ‘Plans’.

Do you think the fans will be surprised when they hear the new EP?

Simon: I hope they will be surprised, in a good way. You’d be doing something wrong if they weren’t surprised and they got what they expected. I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised with what’s going to be coming.
Jamie: They’ll love it.
Simon: Yeah basically, well we hope they’ll love it! I’m excited about it, so I really hope that comes across to them as well and they get excited about it all.

And if you could wish for three things to happen next year, what would they be?

Jamie: I’d like to do Reading and Leeds next year.
Simon: Are these personal things or band things?

Let’s do three band things and then we can get onto the personal ones! Okay? So Reading and Leeds is your first one.

Jon: Top 10 Rock album.
Jamie: We’ve already done that [laughs].
Jon: Well it’d be nice to have it again!

Top 5?

Simon: Top 2!
Jon: And a sold out headline tour.

Okay, three personal things each then – go!

Simon: Lottery.
Jamie: Oh shocking – you nicked mine!
Simon: Everyone wants to win the lottery!
Jon: I would like someone to buy me a rosewood Fender Telecaster from Japan.
Jamie: I’d just have a lifetime supply of cream soda and I’ll be happy.

Cream soda? Really? It’s not the nineties.

Jamie: Yeah, I miss cream soda.
Simon: You can buy it in the shop down the road mate.
Jamie: No you can’t, I’ve been looking.

Go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and get a butterbeer, it tastes the same.

Jamie: Does it actually?!
Simon: SWEET, I’m going.

Haha! Finally then, what has been your favourite moment of 2014?

Jon: This tour.
Simon: This tour, yeah.
Jon: 100%, it’s been phenomenal and everyone on it is lovely and all the guys in all the bands are great. We’re all different, but we all appreciate each band.
Jamie: It’s nice to be on a tour where we get on with everyone, there’s no big egos or dramas.
Simon: Drama’s not fun when you’re on tour, so yeah, this has definitely been the highlight.


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