Interview with The Haciendas
The Haciendas are Tom, Ste, Alex and Dan, a four piece from Failsworth, Manchester. They only formed in March of 2020 at the very start of the global pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped the guys from releasing their first two singles with great success. Their first track ‘It’s Not Too Late’ was released 11th December 2020 with great reviews and their second track ‘Joker’ came out last Friday, 12th March. We caught up with the four lads to get the lowdown on the new single, how they have coped during the global pandemic and what plans they have for the future.
Hey Guys, thanks for talking to us, every band has a story of how it all began and how they met, so what is the story with The Haciendas?
Tom: I’ve always had a passion and love for music but didn’t really know it was going to lead me here. Following many bands across the UK and beyond for the last 10 years and it was a trip to Kendal Calling that woke me up and made me realise I wanted to do this myself, I wanted crowds to sing my songs back to me on stage. I came back, got the ball rolling and here we are…
Ste: I met Tom a few years back at a party and we were instant friends from our love of music, football and we knew a mix of people from both living in Failsworth. I’ve known Dan since year 3 of primary school too, maybe even earlier, and didn’t know Tom had asked him to join the band until a week before we got together so I was surprised and really happy to know we had a guitarist who not only I knew but was a wizard on it as well! ! I met Alex when we all met up for the first time, I couldn’t imagine anyone else on drums. Alex and Tom used to play for the same football team previous to this.
It’s been a challenging year to say the least, how have you all manged to stay positive, motivated and more importantly creative?
Alex: We’ve all been keeping each other entertained with writing music and coming up with new ideas and songs, as well as abuse or humour, however you wish to put it, with the rivalry between my beloved Leeds and everyone else’s keenness on the red side of Manchester. Personally I’ve been trying to keep myself fit by doing some cycling and exploring more of the areas out of Manchester.
Ste: I don’t know how I would have dealt with lockdown if it wasn’t for the band. It has been a tough year and being at practice and focussing on writing music that actually gets us excited has been the best thing lockdown has presented us. When we released our first single we actually got into the alternative chart which was crazy so that has definitely kicked us into gear as well.
What was it like to perform for MMTV Unlocked hosted by Dave Sweetmore and what venues are you looking forward to playing in the future?
Tom: MMTV was a great experience for us as a band, really got the ball rolling once people finally heard our original tunes and the reviews was great. Yeah looking back now I personally don’t think it is that great of a performance but it will always be with me forever because it is a really nice reminder of just how far we have come since then, it was the start of a what has been beautiful journey so far, it is very important to have visibility of your progress and we’re certainly heading in the right direction!
Alex: It was brilliant – first gig that I’ve done in near on 5 years since I moved to Manchester. It was great to finally be able to showcase our music and when you look back, it’s like genesis – our songs have developed massively and it’s great to look back and reflect on the first gig, realise how nervous we all were because there was no audience, which was probably worse than actually having people there!
You’ve recently brought out the video to ‘It’s Not Too Late’ and the weather conditions looked pretty cold haha, how was that experience and do you have an idea in your head when recording a track what the music video will look like?
Tom: The final outcome was amazing, great product which will be with us forever now. The idea of some snowy shots just came about when me and the videographer, Andy Rock – who is school friend of mine, was just throwing ideas about. I’m certainly more of a summer kinda guy so roll on the next couple of videos!
Ste: I don’t envy Tom for walking through the snow for 6 hours for the shots in that video but the rehearsal space we used for the group shots was absolutely freezing!!
You guys are Manchester based which would explain the name The Haciendas (the iconic nightclub in Manchester founded by Tony Wilson and owned by the band New Order which opened 1982 and closed 1997). Who came up with the name and did you have any other band names in mind?
Ste: Tom came up with the name. We did have a few names and every one of them did mean something to do with Manchester. I think we were messing around with different ways to put the word ‘republic’ into our name at one point as I love the banner at Old Trafford that says ‘Republic of Mancunia.’ It also stemmed from Karl Marx coming up with the concept of the communist manifesto historically in a pub in Salford and I like that little piece of history.
Dan: Well 3 of us was born and raised here, educated here, follow the mighty reds here, if the weather was better then it’d be perfect but you can’t have everything. Manchester should be the capital of the UK, end of. We’ve been at the fore front, pioneers of culture, heritage, football and music. I’m sure we can only contribute to that great strain of excellence that comes from this great city and that shows in the choice of our iconic name ‘The Hacienda’s’.
There has always been so much talent that has come out of Manchester and it still continues to thrive, what do you think it is about Manchester that makes it so iconic for music and what Manchester bands have inspired you growing up?
Dan: We have a majestic music scene in Manchester and some massive icons have stepped up from that scene and it would be wrong of us to say that we hadn’t been influenced because Manchester is everywhere, its more than a city, it’s a way of life. You can’t go anywhere and not hear Oasis, The Stone Roses, The Smiths, The Buzzcocks, James, Courteeners, Joy Division, the list goes on… We have all in some way or another been influenced by some of these artists and more. However we all have our own influences from different genres and styles and I feel that it’s become a nice little twist in our sound and something you don’t hear from other bands.
Ste: For me in particular I enjoy punk and metal. The great thing about Manchester is its diversity and the number of places you can grow if you’re into a particular genre. Definitely have to credit Buzzcocks for my love of catchy pop-like punk songs that then got me into bands like Green Day. I cannot wait to be allowed back into Satan’s Hollow again!
Tom, you were running a music blog before starting the band, how was that experience and what is it now like being on the other side?
Tom: I suppose this was also a big part of transforming into a musician, I was speaking to all these upcoming artists and seeing their hunger and I know of my own desire and passion for anything I try my hand at. I love music and that’s why I started writing about it, to be more involved with it each day, I went on to interview some bands which I actually went to watch around the country, I spoke to The Lathums on their release of Fight On and managed to do a Q&A with The Slow Readers Club. Looking back I was over the moon when I landed them articles and now being on the other side of it I just make sure I reply to everyone and I give my time up for these people. Without them it’s impossible for your journey to gain momentum, keep your feet on the ground and don’t get above your station. Jon McClure from Reverend and the Makers is one of the nicest men in music, he interacts with his fans, loves his hometown and the people in it and not to mention he has played a gig in my living room. He acknowledged EVERY single person in the room and took time to speak with everyone, he is such a gent. If only more people in this industry (even the world in general!) was like Jon, the world would be a much better place.
How do you guys normally come up with a track, do you have a process of how you write and come up with melodies or do they just come to you and you share ideas as they happen?
Ste: A lot of the time, Tom actually sends audio clips of things off the top of his head, whether that be vocal lines or him doing a Jack Black impression of how he’d like the guitars to go. We take them and make a bit of a structure; Dan adds his knowledge of theory on top so we can change little bits here and there to keep the song interesting and then Alex and I put little bits in ourselves.
Tom: Seeing little ideas from my voice notes come to life is the most enjoyable thing about all this. It starts off with a 40 second voice note of me spouting jibberish and beat boxing. Before you know it I have wrote meaningful lyrics to the melody, Dan being the musical genius he is transforms it, Ste slaps some funk on it and then Alex places in the final piece of the puzzle. The way it all comes together is still so satisfying and the work we have put in collectively is there for all to see, I love working together with these guys and long may it continue.
Last Monday, marked International Women’s Day, what female artists do you think are killing it on the scene right now and what females in your life inspire you and why?
Ste: I absolutely love a band from California called The Interrupters! They’re a good mix of that west coast punk and ska sound similar to Rancid and the lead singer, Amy Interrupter has a great voice, as well as great messages in the lyrics. My mum has had a big impact on my music taste growing up. When she found out I was listening to punk she dug out her CDs and records of bands like Blondie, GBH, Generation X and of course Buzzcocks. She has always loved that I play music and has always encouraged me to do what makes you happy.
Everyone is missing live gigs so much, what was the last band/artist you saw live and what songs would we be surprised to see in your playlist?
Alex: So here comes my embarrassing moment – the last artist I saw live was the Spice Girls! Well I was born in the 90s so I can justify going to see them. Thankfully they are not in my playlist but I am quite varied in my music taste – this year I’m currently loving the new Royal Blood tunes, but equally as much I love London Grammar’s new songs as well!
Tom: So I think I went to one of the last big gigs in the UK, I went to see Stereophonics at the Manchester Arena on 13th March 2020, not long after I got back from a messy trip in February with my mate Rhys where we followed half of Manchester over to Amsterdam for Liam Gallagher’s headline gig where we watched Twisted Wheel support. As for my playlist, it is up there with the most random ever… One minute you’re belting out some Courteeners before Elton John pops on, bit of Robbie Williams, Chic, Take That and even Ben Haenow! I will stop now…
Your new track is called ‘Joker’ what was the idea behind this track and can we look forward to another music video from you soon?
Ste: We have been brainstorming ideas for a music and have something in the works so there will be something very soon, it is hard with the current situation but we will get there. I think a lot of this was the work of Tom; the rest of us just provided the music to his lyrics.
Alex: ‘Joker’ was one of the first ones we wrote when we came together, and it has become so much more polished as time has gone one, until we recorded it a few months back. It is such a dynamic song, a bit of a crowd jumper to start and almost has that American punk vibe with Steve’s backing vocals.
Lastly, what can the fans look forward to from The Haciendas in the next 12 months?
Alex: There’s loads to look forward to in next 12 months. We are already in the process of recording some new material, alongside music videos and hopefully with the Covid pandemic looking to finally come to an end, we can start to get out to some venues and showcase our music to a wider audience.
Tom: We’ve got some serious material in our locker, once the time is right we will be unleashing it. When our freedom returns the music scene will be nuts and we have some perfect tunes to go alongside those good vibes. Summer around the corner too, it would be nice to get on a festival or two. In the next 12 months you can expect more music, maybe an EP and most certainly a massive debut headline gig so we can FINALLY have a fuck off party with all our fans! Stay tuned, it’s exciting times x
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Interview by ERIN POWER