Sons of Hippies’ Katherine Kelly on Jack Endino, fake blood, and the new album
With a unique blend of old school punk, rock, psychedelia, and everything in between, Florida based band Sons of Hippies have been playing together since 2009. Though they began as duo, in 2011 they welcomed bassist David Daly into their musical family. It was just last year that they signed a deal with Cleopatra records and are ready to release one of their most ambitious albums yet. They recently premiered the music video for “Rose,” the first single from their new album “Griffons at the Gates of Heaven,” which will be out in July. Singer Katherine Kelly gives some insight into the history of the band, recording the new album, and working with a legendary producer.
Can you tell me a bit about the new album?
KK: Sure, it’s a collection of some previously independently released material, unreleased material, and brand new tracks. There a few genres breached within it including psychedelic, space, pop, and straight rock.
You guys have been releasing music in some way, shape, or form since about 2009. Was the recording for this album any different than before?
KK: Yes, definitely. There were more hands involved in the completion of the final record. Our previous albums were all recorded, mixed, and mastered by the same producer, Tom Klimchuck, out of various spaces and studios in Florida. For the new album, we set up a studio in a big house in the woods in the state and worked continuously for days there. After that we sent the tracks to Seattle and flew to meet Jack Endino to mix the record together. Needless to say that was a phenomenal experience. And after that the record was mastered at Abbey Road Studios.
You mentioned that the new album was mixed by Jack Endino, who has worked with legendary bands like Nirvana, L7, and Mudhoney. What was it like to work with someone who has helped craft some of music’s most well known records?
KK: It was fun, exhilarating, and extremely humbling. We flew across the country and started working that night. Jumping right in and establishing that relationship helped us get over the nervousness pretty fast and we got to know each other while working the tracks. We asked a lot of questions about the legendary musicians you mentioned and he humored us with all the stories he’s probably told a million times, which was so kind. By the end of the sessions he introduced us to his favorite snack, dehydrated okra, from the organic market down the street. So yeah, we totally went shopping with Jack Endino.
Your band name may have people making assumptions about the type of music you play. How would you describe the band’s music or sound?
KK: It’s true that in the past many assumed we were a jam band or played light acoustic tunes, but recently that’s changing. In fact, our music is rock/punk based with psychedelic and space elements. Lyrically, the songs are poetic and deal with universal issues like death, love, and responsibility.
The video for “Rose” is definitely not what it seems. Was this your first music video? What was it like shooting for it?
KK: “Rose” is our second video. Our first video was for the single “Spaceship Ride” and is not nearly as explicit. Shooting “Rose” was incredible fun, but very hot. Eight hours under the afternoon sun in Florida. We made three giant tubs of fake blood and got to see our friends naked.
Where did the concept for the video come from?
KK: We had originally just brainstormed some idea where we were washing our tour bus in the summer. Because the song is upbeat and playful, we imagined a lot of slow motion bubbles and suds scenes. As soon as we developed that intro it just snowballed into washing the bus with blood and how we could fit that in. Then we decided to make it a cheeky snuff film with the girls. It just seemed right.
Summer is the time for any and all music festivals. Have you guys played any music festivals before? If not, which one do you hope to play some day?
KK: We’ve played Antiwarpt in Orlando, Midpoint Music Fest in Cincinnati, Drone Valley Fest in Asheville, NC, and are playing STPPFE Fest in DC this October. Next year we want to do all of them though: Bonnaroo, Hangout, Deluna, Bumbershoot, Wakarusa, Glastonbury, Leeds. All of them.
What was it that made you want to make and share music with other people?
KK: It’s the easiest and most direct way to connect with people using the talents we were given. We were all drawn strongly to music and musicians at an early age and had the wherewithal to recognize there was a chance to hone the passion. That and also the fact that we were all lucky enough to maintain a level of naivete and confidence to chase the dream.
Who would you name as some of your major influences?
KK: [Bassist] David [Daly] says his three main influences are Kurt Cobain, Son House, and Prince. For [drummer] Jonas [Canales] it’s Radiohead, Pearl Jam, and Pink Floyd. For me, it would be Nirvana, any punk rock from the 70s, and Emily Haines.
The tour with Nektar recently started up. How are you enjoying life on the road so far?
KK: We were skeptical, I’ll admit, about opening the shows on tour for Nektar, but it has been an incredibly positive and welcoming experience so far. Their fans embrace us which we are so grateful for and Lux, Ron, Roy, and Klaus in the band are all amazing and such great guys.
Is there a city you’re looking forward to playing in?
KK: Probably Toronto because, well, it’s in Canada.
Are there any other projects you guys are working on?
KK: We’re discussing with the label right now putting out some remixes off the new album and planning the next full length for next year. Also, we’ll release a couple more videos when we get back in August.
To see Sons of Hippies’ eclectic mix of classic punk, rock, psychedelic, and more live, make sure to catch them in Lincolnshire, IL Sunday June 29 at Viper Alley, where they’ll open for Prog-rock greats Nektar. Tickets for the show are on sale now. To watch Sons of Hippies latest video for their new single “Rose” and to pre-order their upcoming album, which is set to release July 16, visit their official website. Make sure to also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.