Top image left to right: Callum wears shirt by MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA SS15; his own t-shirt; Ryan wears shirt by JOHN VARVATOS SS15; Harry wears t-shirt from BEYOND RETRO and his own shirt; James wears t-shirt by MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA SS15; jacket by CRAIG GREEN SS15
Taken from HERO 12: Darkness Falls
Much like a back-and-forth rally in the sport their name comes from, there is something effortlessly hypnotic about the breezy street poetry driven along by Hooton Tennis Club’s songs. It goes some way in highlighting them amongst the savvy songwriting of the current bedroom-band renaissance.
Two recent EPs written and released in quick succession, in “whoever’s house was free,” showcased the group’s versatility; from the up-tempo shoegaze of their debut Long-Barrelled Saturday, to the more melodic guitar-pop of their latest I Was a Punk in Europe (But My Mum Didn’t Mind). Wrapped in the likeable lo-fi of home-recorded demo, it’s easy to determine why interest piqued from a certain Heavenly Recordings, who are consequently set to put out the band’s impending new single. “They were really interested in the fact we are a DIY band,” claim members Callum, Harry, James and Ryan. “It’s great for us, we really like the culture of the label and we aren’t being told to do more of this or less of that. We can just get on with it.”
Lugging equipment from home to home, releasing on student-run record labels, recording all of their own material and creating its accompanying artwork to boot, Hooton Tennis Club are a group doing all that needs to be done in order to get their sound out there. Bill Ryder-Jones, yes him again, is in line to produce the the group’s new single.
“When we were younger it was a lot different,” they explain of their seemingly sudden rise. “We put so much effort into our first band together and got nowhere. We did things like paying to play gigs and walking around town getting people to try and put you on. Then when you were playing you would get the feeling that they just didn’t want you there.”
A fresh start and a renewed vigour in Liverpool’s music scene soon set the band on a different path. “There’s no pressure to be a psych-rock band or repeat The Beatles, or fit in to any particular genre like people think,” they explain. “It’s not your traditional music scene here; it’s more than that. Everyone is doing different things and there’s real longevity in it.”
Additional image credits: Photo assistant NATHAN CHANDLER; special thanks to CAMP AND FURNACE