Let me tell you a little about Vincent H.L.
He’s a damn good maker of music from Auckland, New Zealand. He likes burgers the best, but also burritos and pizza. His debut album Weird Days came out last month, fulfilling your need for fuzzy psych sounds when floating through a cloud of strung out contentment. Vincent likes country music and doom metal, so his goal was to make the sensibilities from both genres work together. When asked to describe the sound of his latest record, he said it’s “a tired woozy feeling, sort of like a golden hangover day. And in other places, it gets a little bit spaghetti western.”
Vincent H.L has been crafting sounds around Auckland for years in groups like Magic Factory, Hang Loose, Whipping Cats, The Conjurors and various park benches on overcast days. I caught up with the man himself to find out more about his decision to go solo, what he’s been listening to lately, and his sewer powers, below.
How did this solo thing come about for you?
I’ve been in bands for a while and got back from overseas and started making songs myself. The album was a long time coming just because I’ve been building up songs. So last year I just gave myself a year off from doing anything else, just to get it out. A long time in the making.
What were you doing before? Working on your own stuff or other projects?
I’ve played in a bunch of bands, a few are still going. I’m in this band Hang Loose, with Princess Chelsea—another New Zealand artist. It’s sort of pop… I don’t want to call it pop punk because that’s a different thing. It’s more like a slacker pop kind of band that I’m playing guitar and singing in.
And Roy Irwins Piss? Who was Roy and who was the piss?
Roy Irwin is this rad dude from Auckland who writes and records his own music, but wanted to play with a live band, so he asked me and two other friends to play with him. And he just called it Roy Irwin’s Piss for some reason, I don’t know. Pretty funny. ‘Sure man, I can be your piss!’
How did it go for you, from playing in bands with other people to pretty much locking yourself away to record an album, doing everything yourself?
Yeah, I guess I wanted to do something I had control over in a way. It’s been an amalgamation of a whole bunch of different styles that I’ve been listening to. It’s a bit country and blues I suppose, a bit punkish and some vibes like fuzzed out guitars.
What’s your background in a music? You went to university for your art, but has music carried through the whole time?
Yeah, I’ve always been into it, but I didn’t start learning guitar until high school. I was in a cover band then where we played everything from Chili Peppers to Tool. It kind of just carried on from there. I thought I was going to quit in music in art school, but I started hanging out with dudes who wanted to be in bands, so I just kept going.
What have you been listening to lately?
Lately, I’ve been into Link Wray, he was guitarist back in the 60’s; he had that song “Rumble.” Then in the 70’s he started recording funky country kind of stuff in a chicken shack on his farm. I really like that album, it’s called Link Wray, self-titled. A bit of Electric Wizard. Beck’s early stuff—he played Auckland City Limits recently, was awesome. I played there with my other band, Magic Factory. Grace Jones was rad, she had a great show.
Tell me about your Sewer Powers.
Oh my Sewer Powers? It’s a little collaboration I do with my friend Charles. We started out making these soft toys, that we kind of screen print. They’re cushions I suppose, with drawings on them. And we make t-shirts and other stuff. We made this video for my other band Hang Loose, it’s got all these puppets in it, having a party, hanging out and tripping out. We just do a bunch of stuff that’s pretty loose at the moment.
What made you give up as a roller hockey champion?
How do you know about that?(laughs) I think I just had an epiphany one day and I grew up. I can’t believe you know that.
I think it’s back man. You launched your album last week with a gig last Friday. How’d it all go?
Yeah, it was rad. Probably the best show I’ve ever played! It was pretty damn good, I think people were into it.
What’s going on for the rest of the year?
Releasing this, a few shows and some shows with Magic Factory. I’m being a little free with it all. I’d like to get over to Gonerfest in Memphis. Played that last year and it was rad, it would be cool to do another road trip over there and play some shows.