Hoobastank was back in the Netherlands for a headlining show with 3 Days Grace. Metalrage got the chance to chat with Markku, bassplayer for this succesfull rock band, before the show. We tried to ask him what Hoobastank is standing for.
The first time I saw you guys you were supporting Incubus in Amsterdam and the show you gave that night made a big impression on me, what can we expect on stage tonight?
Well I fucked up my back. So Dan is going to do the jumping and picking up my slack. I will be dancing constantly. (laughing)
Dan on the back ground:
Like I do every night dude!
Yeah right. No, we are headlining this time so the set will be longer. But it will be pretty much the same deal. A lot of energy and stuff like that and hopefully the crowd will react cool. The venue seems cool though.
And what will you be playing?
It is like 50-50 of the last two records. We don’t often play old songs. It is just the two last albums we play live.
Every band spreads the word that fans are the most important thing, what do you do to interact with them on the road?
Well, we do meet & greets and stuff. Do the signing, we have a fan site and we let our fans come and hang out with us afterwards. Besides that do the handshakes and say hello. The usual stuff.
Also some interactive stuff like emailing or websites?
Sometimes some email but we took off our email addresses from the site because it was too much. We can write in on the website and chat with fans, I don’t do that but I think Chris is doing that now and then.
So it is not the entire band?
Well, maybe every now and then but not the website. Everybody checks their email and react to them as much as possible.
About the fan base, it seems like a lot of your fans are female?
I don’t know. I think it is 50-50. Sure the females are up front but there are definitively also guys in the audience, and if it isn’t 50-50 it’s something like 60-40. I see a lot of guys too. It is interesting, it is not like all these chicks are screaming up front.
That would be something…
Well, it is good to have guys you know.
The new album is in my eyes much more pop rock then the album ‘Hoobastank’. The previous album was more raw. What is the reason to go into this direction?
I don’t think we tried to go into a different direction. I just kind of happened. We were on the road and for the first album we had a lot more time to write. The second album is a little bit more produced and polished. Maybe that is the reason why it sounds different. Kind of rough. I think it is pretty much the same, we had a mellow song on the first album and we have one now. But there are heavy songs on the album as well like ‘Out of Control’. It still is kind of our style, only it is more polished and cleaner.
And what is the influence of the band during this writing and recording process?
We don’t really put thought into it. We had a bunch of songs and we choose the 12 best songs to put on the album. We had a couple of songs written on the road but for the album we had like month and a half to write the album. You just pop out songs and put them on an album.
On ‘The Reason’ are some harder songs, ‘Out of Control’ never made the charts in Europe. After this one it was time for the title track, why this song?
It was the label that wanted it to be this one. Because the track was doing well in the States they wanted to give it a try here. And because it is hard to get a harder song in the charts here it was the perfect song to give us a little bit of a name over here. The people here in Europe are more into the pop rock style so it is hard for a rock band to break over here.
Don’t you think it gives the band another personality because it is so calm?
If people are only coming for that song they are sure going to be surprised because the rest of our songs are much louder. And I think that we are better and harder live than on CD.
About your past, what is the story of Hoobastank before you got signed?
Just like any other band. We got together and started writing some songs and playing little shows here and there. We played twice a month and practised like three times a week. We were just having fun and did shows. And then we reached the point where we were selling tapes and shirts at the shows and trying to make money. We brought out our first album for fun to sell at our show. And little by little we started to get bigger.
And did you send promos to the labels or were they coming to you?
We had some demos and stuff. But we were friends of Incubus and after they got signed and started touring we pretty much took their crowd over and they stayed with us. And when you are selling out venues, labels will come to you.
You guys started in the mid-90s but we, in Holland, got to know the band three years ago, what happened in the mean time?
Before that time we didn’t do much touring in America before we came out here. I don’t know what we achieved. Now we have got another album and we have sold a couple of million albums. It is funny because this album is kind of over for us, we have been touring for a year and a half now. And I think that we are more interested now in writing a new album.
When will it enter the stores?
Maybe end of next year or else early 2006…
So will you will still be touring for a couple of months?
Yeah, we are going home in about two weeks and will be doing another States tour. I hope we will be writing in January. And there are people talking about coming back to Europe next year for two or three weeks.
We will see when we’ll start writing on the next album. We have got some new riffs here and there. And we have started on some ideas. We still want to show the fan base here what we are all about with the proper lights and stuff. Right now we haven’t got our own lights, only the lighting dude. Because bringing everything is pretty expensive.
For your own equipment you need huge venues, do you like playing them?
We have done big and small shows but it all comes down to the audience. If they are having a good time, so are we. If you play on a festival and the crowd is just sitting there it isn’t any fun to play. It all depends on the crowd.
On the internet I read that you guys changed your name from ‘Hoobustank’ to ‘Hoobastank’. What is the reason for that?
We did that because everybody was pronouncing our name in the wrong way. They were saying the ‘oo’ in stead of the ‘u’ so we changed into Hoobastank, so everybody would say the right name.
That is all, it is a simple matter.
No, it was just the pronouncing.
When I look back to past videos I see a similar idea behind the video for ‘Crawling in the Dark’ and ‘Out of Control’, the band is playing on the OO- or 8-thing which is in your logo. Am I correct here?
Yes, it was like a rock performance. Well, ‘Crawling in the Dark’ didn’t have the infinity thing. It was on the stage there but it is kind of the same idea. The one for ‘Out of Control’ was funny though because everything was moving, so it was hard to stay on top of it. Just another live video.
Yeah, it was a strange idea of the record company. Their way to write 2 O’s in a strange way.
Yes, and I came up with the idea of the video.
We could have made a crappy love song video but we wanted to make something different. We wanted to change it up instead of matching it. And it made the video actually kind of cool because it wasn’t two people holding hands on a beach or something like that. We just wanted to do something different that didn’t had to do something with the song itself you know. And I think the result came out cool. Just because it wasn’t that predictable.
Waaay to deep.
Yeah, I don’t know if it is out here. I don’t think so but it will be our next single.
And actually Dan came up with the idea of making a sequel to ‘The Reason’.
Anything left to say to our readers?
Come and check out our show, thanks for the love and we will back here next year.