May 17, 2014

Show Us Yours 20: Seeds Of Doubt

We've missed the Show Us Yours feature, and we hope you feel the same way, especially seeing as we've gone to the trouble to bring you this, its TWENTIETH installment. So today we look across the ocean -- for the first time in five years -- to the UK, where in London upstart indie pop four Seeds Of Doubt are honing a guitar-pop sound that embraces aspects of vintage U.S. surf and relatively contemporary Pacific Northwest garage. We first encountered Seeds Of Doubt early this year, when it released its fetching DCP EP on Italian Beach Babes (we've since learned what the acronym stands for: De Crespigny Park). The act features Chris Hopkins on guitar and lead vocals; Ed Shellard on lead guitar; Ashley Hassell on bass; and Max Hart on drums. Seeds Of Doubt practices and cuts demos in a flat shared by Hopkins and Mr. Shellard, and you can click through shots of the space above. Since the release of DCP, the quartet has been writing for a new EP and planning summer live dates, and it also released a short, nifty collection of outtakes from DCP as well. During recent recording sessions, Seeds Of Doubt tracked a new version of the older cut "Spout Control," a scritchy, uptempo rocker that recalls the tremendous Seattle act The Fall-Outs; that tune will feature on a planned comp from Italian Beach Babes, and you can stream it at the foot of this feature. With so much going on, we thought it would be a good time to check in with Seeds Of Doubt to learn about where it makes its magic, the influence of Australian indie acts on its evolving sound, and what the apparently fashionable drug of choice is in rural England. Mr Hopkins reveals all of that and more, and we are grateful for his gracious responses to our questions, which are below.
Clicky Clicky: So why do you use this practice space?

Chris Hopkins: Because we are little paupers and have no money.

CC: Is there an idiosyncrasy or quirk of the space that has affected the sound of one of your songs, or even Seeds Of Doubts' overall sound?

CH: When I'm recording demos I try and play the drums quite quietly because I'm always worrying about the neighbours... luckily they haven't complained yet, though.

CC: You walk into your space. What's the first thing that you smell?

CH: Haha, probably smoked fish. Its so damp in the house, the food smells linger for days.

CC: Switching focus to the music, the gentle vibe and distinct lead guitar lines in "There You Go" and now "Running" makes us think of early '60s U.S. surf music, and that made us wonder whether there is a tradition of that musical style in the UK at all, or if it is a distinctly American thing? Maybe it's not fair to test your music history with such a specific question... and obviously there are more dimensions to your music ("Enough Is Enough" and "Green Triangle" portray more traditionally post-punk sounds, for example), but that odd little slice of it interested me.

CH: Ed came up with those leads bits, pretty sure he's never listen to early '60s surf music, though. I think those kinds of guitar parts mostly filter through to us from a lot of the current Australian rock scene, Scott and Charlene's Wedding, The Twerps, Dick Diver, etc. I'm not aware of any exclusively surf stuff from the early '60s in the UK, there were a lot of garage vibes going on, though. The Kinks and Ray Davies are a huge influence on me.

CC: You've recently begun recording a new EP, so I'll assume the writing is pretty well done. Do you see the work you are doing now with the new material as trying to accomplish something different musically than the stuff released on DCP early this year? Seeds Of Doubt doesn't strike me as a band that is going to suddenly start making jungle or ska records or whatever, but can you can see your releases as particularly distinct, whether because of influences, subject matter, or increased chops?

CH: We've been using a proper studio called Sound Savers in East London, so I think we've moved away from any nostalgia-heavy stuff a bit. We re-recorded an old song ("Spout") whilst doing the sessions for the new stuff, and it just sounded a bit like dad rock radio or something, because the overly nostalgic tape feel had been taken away. I think we've just got a bit better as a band and are able to write more complex songs now, and people will be able to hear that. Fundamentally though, it is still just rock music.

CC: Your aim is to tour once the planned EP is in the can. Have you played many shows outside London, or will the dates largely be new markets for Seeds Of Doubt?

CH: We played this show in Stroud, Glostershire, because our drummer is from there, it is pretty funny, proper farmer country. It was in a pub owned by this really nice sort of ex-rocker guy, he was super cool and the show was really busy. We got paid for the show and the money smelt really strongly of this nasty drug called mephadrone that is really big down there, people had obviously been hoofing it up in the toilet all night in-between paying for their beers. The tour should be hilarious, no one will know us but our music is pretty accessible, so hopefully it will be ok.

CC: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us!

CH: No problem, great to have some overseas attention! Cheers!

Seeds Of Doubt: Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud

Previous Show Us Yours episodes:
Shapes And Sizes | Dirty On Purpose | Relay | Mobius Band | Frightened Rabbit | Assembly Now | Meneguar | Okay Paddy | Charmparticles | Calories | Sun Airway | It Hugs Back | Lubec | A Giant Dog | Bent Shapes | Krill | Golden Gurls | Earthquake Party! | Hallelujah The Hills

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