‘Stars Of CCTV was largely my life at the time’: an interview with Hard-Fi

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Following the release of their ‘best of’ album, 2004-2014, I had the opportunity to quiz Hard-Fi on battling criticism, the response to their new music, and where the band’s inspiration comes from.

Going back to your first album, Stars of CCTV; you must be proud of its number one place in the charts. Having had quite a few knock backs before this, were you surprised by the success?

Totally, we always believed in ourselves but the reaction we had initially from ‘the industry’ wasn’t particularly uplifting. When ‘real’ people finally got to hear what we were doing, things started to take off and just kept on going; every time we’d sell out a show, another one at a bigger venue would go on sale and sell out in minutes. It was quite incredible.

The music scene has changed a lot in terms of online access and streaming since you started out. How do you feel this has effected the band?

The same way as the majority of bands and artists – and that’s negatively. The income you receive from those sources doesn’t cover guitar strings and drum sticks let alone pay for you to live.

A lot of your songs are about working class life and society; does this reflect on your own life experiences?

In many ways but not all of the time. Stars Of CCTV was largely my life at the time but I didn’t end up in Feltham Young Offenders Institute or go to war in Iraq. ‘Feltham Is Singing Out’ and ‘Middle Eastern Holiday’ were inspired by news stories I’d read and then I imagined myself in those situations.

So your ‘best of’ album 2004-2014 came out last week – was it fun to compile?

Once we’d persuaded the record label to include many of the hard to find B-sides and cool remixes we had done over the years, it became more interesting. Obviously the label wanted all the singles on there. We then went about choosing some of our favourite album tracks; we always had long intense discussions about what the singles should be so there are a lot of tracks that one or more of us felt should have been released that way.

How have you found the initial response to the album?

I was worried that our fans would be a bit annoyed because what they really want is a new album but the response has been largely positive – I think they like the convenience of the thing.

You also have a new single out: ‘Move Over’. What was this like to write and how does it feel to be releasing new material after a break?

It’s nice to have something new out for the fans and also to put something out that isn’t perhaps what people expect from Hard-Fi.

You played a one-off gig at the Bloomsbury Ballroom in London on the 13th February. What was it like to get back on the stage?

Fantastic! It’s been a long time since we played live, the gig was really great – our fans are fantastic and they made it a special occasion.

Do you have any more gigs lined up that you can reveal?

No, but you’ll be the first to know.

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