Hackney psych-punk explorers Hotdoggrrrl and the Sesame Buns released their latest album The Beginning of The End earlier this year, and the latest slice of strangeness to be carved from it, “My Cat Is So Fat”, has just been served up alongside a frantic 3D video by Hugo Kent.
John Clay caught up with the band to talk about the album, their experience of lockdown and their excellent music videos.
Thanks for giving me an opportunity to talk to you about your music. How did the launch for the album go and were there any surprises?
HDGrrrl: Hey thanks for having us. The launch was banging, and smooth. Our fans know how to have fun, they get along with the new tracks, and from the stage we love to see that. No surprises, but if it could be considered that, it was a surprise not to see many of you there, ha, ha (next time)!
Good to hear you had fun despite the effects of the pandemic. What lessons have you taken away from this strange era and is there anything you learned about yourself and your expression during the many lockdowns?
HDGrrrl: I learned about diversifying my life.
I sacrificed my whole life to gigs and during this era I started other activities like tennis, screen printing. Maybe I’ll start a course on dog grooming!
Life is too short!
That’s good to hear, as finding new experiences will no doubt impact your art as well as your appreciation of gigging. Continue to mix it up! Talking of mixing things up, ‘Moving On Swiftly’ is a highlight on your new album due your non-regressive way of fusing dub with punk. What kinds of discussions do you recall in the making of this track in particular?
HotDGrrrl: There is no real discussion, it’s more a natural process. Suddenly things fit with each other and magic happens.
We all place our influences in the soup and it’s why our music is personal and quirky. In each of our three albums there is a rock steady or ragga tune it’s a ritual … But for me the highlight is ‘Scabby Boy’. It was the first time we approached drum n bass … and it’s my fav tune off the new album!!!
‘Scabby Boy’ deserves a video, for sure. I’m sure I saw you play it live at Paper Dress Vintage in either late 2019 or early 2020 (What even is time these days)! Care to tell us of anything significant that has happened to the band since that show?
HotDGrrrl: We became a three piece band. Before we were four.
It changed the dynamic completely, and we wrote a new album.
How did this new dynamic alter the songwriting and did your cited influence of American Folk change because of the line up change in any way?
HotDGrrrl: We became a triangle that fed and bounced off each other … just new mathematics. New dynamic input. Reuben, our guitarist, is so into folk and psychedelic music that he opens up some new options for the band. We listened a lot to Grace Slick and the Great Society. This was just the right moment to approach in general.
I know of Grace Slick through The Jefferson Airplane and I must check out The Great Society based on your recommendation. We really must talk about your music videos. Who created the visuals for ‘Ice Cream’ and what was the brief?
HotDGrrrl: Matthieu Cadelo, a Hackney Wick based artist. He’s a friend of ours. He is a genius!!
The video has been inspired by an expression “Do not cast your Pearl before swine” it’s about stop wasting your time! Extremely psychedelic.
Care to tell us more about the ‘Do not cast your Pearl’ sentiment for the song?
HotDGrrrl: Originally coming from a ghosting experience.
And when someone treats you like a treat. Like a spontaneous pleasure.
Talking of treats (a visual one this time), ‘My Cat is So Fat’ is undoubtedly my favourite video featuring a cat in a Mega City 1 dystopian nightmare. How did you come up with the idea and what did filmmaker Hugo Kent bring to the table?
Hotdoggrrrl: Hugo Kent came up with the idea. He is a genius and I trust him enough to give him all the freedom he needs. He designed everything, you should ask him what he was thinking. Probably knows the obsession for my cat.
Before we wrap up, it would be good to know more about Morrisonesque album closer, ‘Magic Mug’, but I want to protect its mystique. Do you have any feelings like that about your creations, or is there no conflict there?
Hotdoggrrrl: First of all I think even if it’s too late, I guess, Jim should have been my lover. He’s just gorgeous, my cup of tea. About ‘Magic Mug’? I wrote this song for Sabrina, my friend. My stories are common and we all have been through this story.
The song has a kind of mystic sound, but behind it there is a sad story about empathy and narcissism. It is important for me that these feelings are accessible and shareable in music and confessional.
There’s a lot going on there and I hope Sabrina is happy with what you made for her. Do you feel that explaining a song has more merits than negatives? Some would argue the music ought to explain itself. Keen to hear your thoughts on this layered topic.
Hotdoggrrrl: Most of my songs are stories with a beginning, middle and end. The music carries and transcends, the words bring it to an even more accessible level. It’s a bit like soul and body working with each other.
…And is the dissection of these ideas something that gives or takes away from the experience?
HotDGrrrl: It gives. The mix of the influences fit into each other and create another formation, unique.
Understood. Last but not least, where can people find your music and when is your next show?
HotDGrrrl: We will play in London for the last show of the year for the 20th anniversary of the TAA. And we would like to meet our supporters around the UK and potentially Ireland and Scotland. So, for updates about the tour I highly suggest you follow us on our social media and keep streaming us on Bandcamp/Spotify. The links are all here.
Sounds like worthy plans. Thanks for your time and may your new life up continue to grant you musical fulfilment.
Interview by John Clay: heylink.me/Johnclayartist