Exclusive: Park Hotel talk influences and direction before spot on ‘Goose Island Hop Party’ bill

Ahead of their set at Goose Island’s Hop Party at London’s Oval Space this Saturday, Gig Soup sat down with Tim Abbey of Park Hotel to chat influences, the end of festival season and what makes the current generation look back to the past for influences…

‘Make It Happen’ is a tune with a big sound, and lot of layers. Is creating that textured sound something you strive for?

‘Make It Happen’ was one of the first Park Hotel songs written and very much written to play live. We love playing with textures, but also try and capture some of the energy from our live performance. When we strip it down to which member (5 people live) plays what, the parts are actually very simple. It’s all about how they lock together like a jigsaw puzzle. That can often be the hard thing to get right.   

‘Turn Back Time’ is such an impressive wall of sound for a duo. Are people sometimes surprised that you’re a two-piece?

Sure, live we turn into a 5 or 6 piece depending, so it might be a surprise for anyone watching us for the first time! A pleasant one we hope…

You could be defined by a disco / funk inspired sound. With bands such as Ekkah and even Jungle giving a nod to that style, what do you think draws modern bands back to sounds gone-by?

Dance music will go on and on forever as a genre that will always evolve with the times but also stay consistent to the primitive need of people needing to dance. 

Disco, as a genre, can defined by certain musical elements but disco was a scene, a club, a dance floor, a dress or a suit to go out in as much as a soundtrack to the late 70’s and 80’s.. 

Apart from bass lines and guitar licks, it was /is an aesthetic that bled into all popular culture and some of its stars, Grace Jones for example, her influence has directly informed popular performance art today.. 

Sure there are disco references in current bands, and a pallet of sounds that will be referenced over and over. We wouldn’t call ourselves a disco band, we certainly take elements from it and ‘try’ to make it our own. 

What draws modern bands to sounds gone-by?

A lack of imagination maybe, the fact that playing on peoples nostalgia (even when they were not even born yet), is a powerful tool in being able to connect with an audience. 

What artist would you say was the main source of inspiration for you, as Park Hotel started out?

Whilst starting out, and to this day – Talking Heads play a huge part because they were are not just disco, funk, or indie…they are a dance band with songs.. More recently, bands like Sault, Ian Dury & the Block Heads and Rosalia

The gig / touring season is coming up as we head towards the summer, just as festival season comes to a close. Which do you prefer and why?

We’ve been very lucky to play some big stages at festivals, Main Stage @ Blue Dot festival being one of the highlights. These experiences are amazing and we would never be able to play on such big stages and to so many people or our own headline shows, but there’s also something about playing smaller clubs that is equally special. The intimacy and intensity is heightened but you can also experience a sense of outer-body weirdness on the big stages, like you’re watching yourself through the big screens, kind of disconnected, sometimes from the rest of the band because you’re so far away from each other. Then all of a sudden you clock that you’re stood in front of thousands of people!     

You play on the bill for Goose Island’s Hop Party on September 7. How are you feeling about playing alongside the likes of Blossoms, Shame and Mystery Jets?

Great! It feels like a very eclectic bill which will no doubt make for a really fun evening!   

Is there one artist that you’d love to tour with?

!!! (CHK CHK CHK) – we played before them at a festival a few years ago and it was so much fun.. 

Park Hotel will be on hand at this Saturday’s Goose Island Hop Party. With Blossoms headlining, and the likes of Shame ready to fire with new material, it’s set to be a summer’s end to remember. Stay tuned for updates!