Two-piece Northampton garage blues unit HubCap – Dave ‘Badbones’ Harker on guitar and vocals, Dan Foolme on drums – have released Too Little Too Late, an eight-track mini-album/EP. New Boots asked them all about it.
How/why/what/when did you guys get together?
Dan used to have house parties/jam nights and Dave was up from Bristol. We had a jam and instantly clicked by laying down some dark psych blues grooves. Later the following year Dave moved to Northamptonshire, so getting together was a must.
How would you describe your sound?
The darker side of blues, having a feel of voodoo with a thread of psychedelic funkiness. The songs quite often tell a story of delusion, with Dave’s vocals reminiscent of root blues singers.
Who are your main influences?
Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Walters, RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Hendrix, Captain Beefheart, Beck, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
Tell us everything about ‘Too Little Too Late’.
Being unsigned and a little tight for cash we wanted to get something down that was honest and captured our energy. This mini-album/EP was mainly recorded in a four hour session at Brickworks Studios in Market Harborough. We had the pleasure of Martin Whitehead from The Lo Fidelity Allstars as engineer and recording the session. This allowed us to crack on and get the session down. Martin knew exactly what we were after – ‘no thrills’ – being a lo-fi guru himself. The session was recorded through some great analogue pre-amps and some repro vintage mics which complemented the session. We mixed the tracks ourselves and had it analogue mastered to digital. The opening track takes you on a journey of a woman’s betrayal and a man’s twisted expectation of forgiveness, his mind clouded by anger and jealousy leading to irrational thought. ‘Sugar Pt1’ – experimenting with LSD to shift the blues.
Has “LSD set you free”?
Wow! An incriminating question. The mind is always free; doors can be opened with or without help, although some approaches are a quicker path. However, often when you do go down the quicker path of hallucinogenic experimentation there could be someone darker behind the door – hence ‘Sugar Pt2’, the darker side. ‘RedLady’ is about the path where the middle part opens into a soundscape that offers the listener a guitar riff that is influenced by Buddhism – to hopefully open some of the more enlightening doors.
Back into the lighter side, ‘Fuckin With My Head’ is a Beck cover – a classic of our youth and a great interpretation.
‘Backdoor Woman’ intros with a harmonica and slide guitar piece that is the blues, swiftly progressing to a guitar stomp and a reverse sounding drum thud pounding like a dysfunctional train. Lyrically it’s a twist on the traditional ‘Backdoor Man”. Interestingly this track is being used for a film due for release in the USA featuring stars from the Netflix series Ozark.
‘Love To You’ is our interpretation of the Etta James classic – always a crowd pleaser we just had to get down. Then we finish with ‘Drop Deed’, which tells the tale of jealousy and what it can drive someone to do, the middle guitar and drums piece takes you on a journey and then dumps you back in to the consequences. This track already has label interest, as this could definitely be a movie soundtrack.
What are your live shows like?
Each one is different, they are fluid and enchanting. We try not to stick to a set list and try to respond to the crowd to capture them in the experience. We may throw in mind bending riffs, we may play a track differently. Being a two-piece that can play their instruments well we are able to fold and manipulate the tunes to fit its audience and our mind set at the time.
Are you part of a wider scene in Northampton? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
Not really part of a Northampton music scene, but we appreciate the local musical talent. The opportunity to play with like-minded bands has never really presented itself. We have a good rapport with GoGo Loco so watch that space! We are playing the Northampton festivals this year (the County Beer Festival, The Umbrella Fair on the Racecourse, Northampton Town Festival). We love the Umbrella Fair Organisation, the work they do and their support. Our favourite venues have to be The Pomfret Arms and The Lab. They have always supported us and there is such a good buzz there.
What has been your favourite band moments so far?
The biggest sense of achievement is Too Little Too Late. When you listen to many albums the artists would have spent hundreds of pounds on them, hours and hours of overdubs, editing and manipulating the music to something, that is not necessarily achievable live. This album is an honest, well-recorded, produced and mixed recording that sounds almost on par with high-end produced material from other renowned two-piece bands. The artwork and mixing is also our own creation – and managing to get such a good engineer working with us was great. Thing is we still have loads left in us, we just need time to write. We seem to get a lot of gigs which can be time consuming, but always a good thing!
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Probably Junior Kimbrough material or RL Burnside
What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We would like to be playing to larger audiences, larger venues and earn a living from our something we love sharing.
Too Little Too Late is out now: via the Soundcloud stream, or on CD directly from the band at a show