We recently had the opportunity to talk with Hormoans, a Toronto based post-rock band currently working on finishing up their full length LP. Enjoy!
Indie Minded: So who are Hormoans? Who does what and how did you come together?
Hormoans: Hormoans are Steve – lead guitar and vocals, Matt – bass, Cyrus – drums and Marc – rhythm guitar and vocals. We started playing live together in the mid-2000’s after recording some rough demos in a friend’s basement. Steve asked Matt and Cyrus to start a band. Matt had never played in a band before, but Cyrus had some drumming experience. In high school, we all related to 90’s alternative music. We would write these heavy punk songs and then go out and play them live in front of all of these angry suburban kids and thought, “Well, we should probably make a record.” That’s how our first record, Millar, came about.
IM: Where did this band name come from? It’s certainly interesting!
Hormoans: The name HORMOANS was actually inspired from an Aberdeen band called Nirvana. Steve would travel to SF and collect all of these old bootleg tapes and rare CD’s from the early nineties and he came across this Japanese edition of Nirvana’s EP, “Hormoaning.” He loved the play on words at the time (he was in high school) and decided it would be a good band name…and it stuck. Also, Courtney Love was apparently too busy to file any lawsuits.
IM: Everything I read about you guys always includes the goal of reshaping the music scene in Toronto. What’s wrong with Toronto and what would its music scene look like if you had your way?
Hormoans: Nothing is wrong with Toronto! (laughs) But a little reshaping never hurt anyone. The music/art scene here is always exciting and you can virtually go out and see any type of music any night of the week. Of course that makes for healthy competition and, when you are someone who thrives off competition like I am, it just pushes you to make the best music/art you can. That said, if we had it our way, the music scene here, and everywhere for that matter, would revert back to the early/mid 90’s when people really got excited about records and appreciated music. So much is put into a record, and musicians are putting so much on the line for very little pay-off these days. Every band deserves a certain amount of respect and some bands fear that future generations might be taking all of that hard work and energy for granted. But it’s nobody’s fault, really. It’s just time to unlearn and reshape.
IM: You guys have been playing together for 8 or 9 years. What’s the difference from when you first started and now?
Hormoans: Song writing, stage presence, general attitude and fan base. Matt used to get stage fright because he had never played an instrument before joining the band. So obviously our confidence as a unit has improved since the beginning. When you exist as a DIY band for over a decade, you learn a lot about the divide between the commercial world and the independent world, and you can distinguish between the two. Some bands exist solely for the reason to have ‘existed,” while other bands try to push boundaries and limits, never giving a damn what people think. I applaud anyone who expresses themselves artistically, especially in today’s over-saturated media climate where there is no guarantee of success because it may just be the only ‘proof’ that they ever existed as a real-life human being at all. While some people may think of “success” as bringing a bus load of friends from Missisauga out to fill up a venue on a Friday night, we tend to gauge success by asking, “Did we make the best record we possibly could have made?” and, “Can we all still have fun and be happy when playing music together?”
IM: Who are your musical influences?
Hormoans: Big Black, Nirvana, Selfish Cunt, Queens, Alice and Chains, Career Suicide, Liars, The Vines, F-Minus, Refused, The Strokes, Silverchair, Deftones, the Specials, Elvis Costello, The Beatles, Amen, Cults, Best Coast, Gang of Four.
IM: When you get to work, what is that creative process like?
Hormoans: Sometimes Steve will bring a guitar riff or completed song to the table, and then Matt and Cyrus will start fleshing out a solid rhythm section until it can stand on its own as a backbone to the melody. Other times, Matt will bring in a bass riff and Cyrus and Steve will add instrumentation over the top of it. Usually we tweak the structures until it makes sense as a song – kind of like writing a play in 3 acts. Steve will then dig deep into his poetic nerve and expunge his words all over the track until it suits his needs. Sometimes we just jam around until we find a cool sound and a song slowly emerges out of that. Recently, we have acquired a really talented rhythm guitarist/vocalist, Marc Hughes, who brings a fun dynamic to the band. His ear for sound is brilliant and we are looking forward to writing new music with him.
IM: Your most recent release is entitled Millar. What is a Millar and if you had to pick one song to this point that best represents who you guys are as a band, what would it be?
Hormoans: A Millar is a tall, skinny, two-legged creature with long greasy rocker hair that rarely shaves and has an great ear for unique, timeless music. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of him hovering over the city at night, scouring the streets tirelessly, in search of the next great thing. If we had to pick a song off Millar that represents our sound, then, it would be “HORMOANS” or “Knifed at Gunpoint.” Both have a bit of surf, grunge and punk elements which is what we are all about and where our music is kind of heading. The new record has a lot of surprises.
IM: 2014 was a breakthrough year for you guys. Can you share some highlights from last year and fill us in on what you have planned for 2015?
Hormoans: So many highlights…the 2-day LabCab Festival was really fun. And beating out 600 bands to make the Edge 102.1’s Next Big Thing Top 20 felt pretty good too. But honestly, the entire year was a highlight for us because it culminated in this new record we are about to release. We have lots lined up for 2015. Expect some radio spots, music videos, festivals, and we’re hoping to tour the West Coast in support of our new record this year too.
IM: Before we let you go, we always like to ask, if we were to look at your phone or iPod, what would we find as your “guilty pleasure” aka someone you’d be embarrassed for others to know you listen to?
Hormoans: All music is a guilty pleasure because all music is, first and foremost, a personal experience. But I think the new Prince record is pretty ace.
Thanks for speaking with us today and best of luck in the future!