Felix Hagan – Exclusive GIGsoup Interview

Felix Hagan & The Family are a 7-piece band that encapsulates the spirit of fun through their music. Their wild live performances and high spirited hooks will test any cynics resolve as they shimmer, posture and strut their way across stages with their throwback classic rock grooves and pop tinged melodies.

Eccentric maestro and lead singer, Felix Hagan talked about their musical influences which will come as no surprise with the band wearing them proudly on their sleeves through their music; “I love Queen, I love Meatlof, I love Rocky Horror, you know the best fucking thing I’ve ever seen is Meatloaf: The Musical, it was on in Manchester and I went to see it and it was the best thing, God it’s good! Funnily enough, I didn’t really like Meatlof before I went to see that and now I love them and I totally get it!”

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Make no mistake the band isn’t about living in the past and for many fans, their introduction to the band stemmed from their run as support for folk punk troubadour, Frank Turner, a tour that not only gave the band exposure but brought them closer together as a group; “That tour (with Frank) we went and played places like Liverpool, Manchester and then back down to London, that really was our first kind of ‘Get in a van and go away for a long while (4 and a half weeks) and it was absolutely fucking wonderful because there’s 7 of us in the band and we’re all a bunch of show off’s and I was worried that we’d all hate each other, being in such close proximity and then all of a sudden things blow up and personalities clash but we went on tour as friends and then completely fell in love with each other. We’d done a few gigs in a row but never 30 in a row and by the end we were all hugging each other and it was an emotional experience.”

Like any band, getting a run of consistent shows is invaluable experience that can’t be replicated by just getting together every once and a while, if for nothing else, touring non stop together has helped instill the band with a lot of confidence in their abilities; “It really helped us hone in on the intricacies of playing a show, you know one night you might think ‘Oh my chorus pedal was a bit too far to the left, I’m gonna make it an inch to the right tonight’ and that’s gonna make the show better, it’s no big revelation at all to any band who’s regularly toured but for us it was like ‘Holy shit, you actually get so good!’ once you get to play night after night.”

An eye catching shimmer of glitter is always present at a Felix Hagan & The Family live show which has not gone unnoticed from the fans of the band; “You play 30 gigs in a row to so many people that more people start to know who you are and started turning up with glitter which is something we just did because we bored in all honesty, we just thought “Shall we put glitter on? Yeah, fuck it!” then people start to think of us as a glitter band and people are wearing glitter to the shows and they dress up and they dance and what may sound slightly arrogant is that we feel like we’re making people happy.”

As well as giving the band the upstart they needed, a consistent tour lead to the band helping to understand how they wanted to be presented and gave them confidence in their vision for the future; “Touring so much showed us what we really are and really crystalised the essence of what we do and what people will respond to and when you get that feeling it’s a far more strong place to be in creatively. In your head you know that this our sound, our approach and aesthetic so when you’re creating stuff whether it be, photoshoots, music or videos you sort of have a template.”

With that in mind, what does the future hold for the band?
We’ve got the album coming out called ‘Attention Seeker’ that’s coming out November 20th and it’s been done for ages but what we do in the studio is 10% of what we lay down and then the rest is post production with us playing around with the sounds. Now we know who we are as a band we can say that we want it to sound like “that” we need to crank it up and get the intensity up to the level of a live show but also, give it a studio glittery glossing over too.”

The band are looking to keep their fans on their toes by exploring different sounds while also keeping in touch with what they’ve brought to the table so far; “The album has a lot of classic rock sounds, our guitarist Tom, has some solos on it that I’ve listened to a million times and I can’t understand how he does what he does, it’s amazing and we also have pop songs, with one in particular being a really sugary, bubble gum pop kind of song that I can’t wait to bring out as well as some quiet ones. The quiet ones are the ones I thought that people wouldn’t want from us but I figured it was worth a try because people may respond to it or they might tell me to get back and pick up a fucking guitar. I really think there’s something there for everyone, man.”

Further reinforcing the idea of a genre bending album, the band’s two new singles show their capability to diversify but still keep that distinct, Hagan sound; “We listened to a lot of John Grant and Haim when producing ‘Delirium Tremendous’ which is a pop song really but the album is very eclectic, our latest song ‘Hey I Want You’ that we’ve just released is just 3 fucking chords and is a big rock song so we’ve mixed it up a lot with the album, I’ve always wanted every genre on a record and it doesn’t come from a desire not to be pigeon holed, I just get fucking bored so if I write two songs that are the same I feel disappointed in myself and I don’t want that.”

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It’s an interesting approach to your debut album to be so confident in wanting to produce something that has a broad spectrum of music but as Felix explained, it just goes with his instincts as a music lover; “I very actively shove my head into all different kinds of music to find stuff that I like but what it boils down to is a few things, the groove has got to be good and it has gotta be big without a second of boringness which is why I rarely listen to bands, a lot of bands will play 30 seconds of chords over a fucking drumbeat (no one in particular) which is fine for bands that do that but for me, I’m thinking you could put a big piano bit there and a weird thing over here and backing vocal, it may just be because my attention span is so fucking small but I just want every second to make me happy.”

The traditional method of releasing music bought and paid for by a fat cat record label is a thing of the past, there’s a huge range of ways to get your music out into the world these days, one method is via crowdfunding. This is the route Felix and the band chose to take through crowdfunding website, Indiegogo which he insists doesn’t add any pressure to the band as he explained their decision behind this; “Having the album crowd funded doesn’t add any extra pressure to us because we would’ve recorded the album any way we could because we love recording, we recorded our EP ‘Kiss The Misfits’ in my parents attic and it was difficult and really technically stressful and it took us a long time to get it right but we would’ve done it like that if we needed to, we’d have recorded it in people’s back rooms, houses or whatever, we’d have got it done somehow. What we really wanted to do was get ourselves into a nice lovely studio, in a place where if you put the mic to a snare drum and hit the snare, it’ll sound magical and with us making an album rather than an EP, we just felt like we needed to this properly as this is our debut album. There was no way we could’ve gotten it done the way we wanted without asking people to help so that was our thing “we want to make something we think you’ll really like and make it as good as possible” so when you approach it like that and people respond it’s a huge boost in confidence rather than pressure, it’s a nice thing to feel going into a studio that people are backing us and want us to do what we do.”

The Pivot Questionnaire

A questionnaire devised by Bernard Pivot and used to learn more about a person’s thoughts and character.

What’s your favourite word? I’ve forgotten all words, I like darling!
What’s your least favourite word? I’ve always hated the word and the tone in which it’s used, inappropriate.
What turns you on? Obviously it’s music but I think specifically, it’s the joy of music.
What turns you off? Minute long chord sequences with nothing exciting going on.
What sound or noise do you love? Pinched harmonics, I love ’em!
What sound or noise do you hate? Lap steel (guitar) could never get on board with it, makes me sick!
What’s your favourite curse word? Cunt. It still has weight behind it!
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Musical theatre singer
What profession would you not like to attempt? It’s such an arse hole thing to say and I’m sorry but I thank my lucky stars every day that I don’t work in a fucking office. I know so many people that do and I just want to hug them, pat them on the back and tell them they’re nailin’ it!
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear from God as you arrive at the Pearly gates? Fuck it, I’d want them to say “Can I have your autograph?!”

Felix Hagan & The Family will release their debut album, ‘Attention Seeker‘ on November 20. Check out the band’s website to keep up to date – https://www.felixhagan.com/home

As well as their social media channels- https://twitter.com/FelixHfamily –        https://www.facebook.com/felixhaganmusic