Despite the busy schedule, the fascinating Paul Hinks from Some Kind of Illness takes a moment to speak to Nicole Mendes from The Other Side Reviews. Here is what he had to say.
OSR: First question, how did Some Kind of Illness form?
PH: Back in 1999, Mark, me and all our mates would be crammed into our room at home getting stoned and making weird music with whatever instruments we could find. We recorded everything using this tiny microphone, the quality was terrible. We went travelling, busking around Europe and Mark played some gigs in Japan. Everywhere we went, we would tell people that we were in a band called ‘Some Kind of Illness’. It took another fifteen years before we released an album, lots of band members came and went for all sorts of reasons and lots of things happened to Mark and me in our personal lives that made us want to write music.
OSR: How did you come up with the band name?
PH: The band name came from one of those early jams. We had a mate called Panda, he had a really bad time on weed and said that he felt like he had some kind of illness and would have been grateful if he had been struck by lightning. I think it was Mark who said that should be our band name and it just stuck from there.
OSR: Why did you decide to become musicians?
PH: Mark was always music mad, he had an amazing record collection, and we listened to all kinds of music, anything from Cypress Hill to Robert Johnson. He bought a Fender Telecaster guitar, and I would pick it up when he went to work, and my best friend Michael Pye was really good too. He would show me chords when I went around to his house. We would sit in the kitchen with his Mum; she was a brilliant artist, she would do these beautiful paintings on the kitchen wall. Being around all these creative people when I was so young was very inspiring. I went to watch The Verve at Haigh Hall in Wigan, and they really blew me away. From that moment I wanted to be a singer in a band, but I was scared of singing in front of people.
I got cheated on by a girl a few years ago, and I lost all my fears about performing. I didn’t care anymore, and I just threw myself into it, I find it so easy and natural now and I really enjoy it. We gained a lot of confidence from the album reviews and comments from some of our favourite artists. When you have people like Vini Reilly and Nick McCabe saying they like your songs and when you get played on the radio for the first time you never have to worry again. This may sound stupid, but we don’t really think of ourselves as musicians. We are just normal lads from a rough town in England; we play what we can play, it isn’t fancy show off music, and I hate hearing these flashy guitar solos. We are good at making a beautiful noise, and we love our music so much.
I don’t make music for anyone else; it is just something I have always done as a way of expressing what I am feeling in life at that moment. I think my brother is the best songwriter in the world. He is a poet, he is up there with any songwriter in history, and you can’t touch him on lyrics he is too good. When I write a song, he is the first person I play it too and he might change one line that totally twists the whole meaning of the song; he is a genius. It is just a matter of time before we are discovered and he will get the credit he deserves.
OSR: If you didn’t go into the music industry, what do you think you would have done for a living?
PH: Well, Mark and I both still work full-time and then do our music on the weekends or whenever we can. Luke (drums) and Kieran (keyboards) are still studying. They recently joined the band and have taken us to another level when we are playing live. It is great to finally have a settled line up because we have been through some very frustrating times.
OSR: Is it easier to work with a family member as a bandmate or does it make everything more emotional?
PH: I think it’s a good thing because we can be totally honest with each other. We can fall out but we know it won’t last long and we only ever fall out about music. I wouldn’t dream of screaming at Kieran or Luke like I scream at Mark sometimes, but he knows it is only because I get frustrated when something isn’t right. We have always been like best friends, not just brothers, we have been through everything together.
OSR: Last year you released your album Awakening, what inspired the album?
PH: We wanted to try something different. We had both just come out of horrible breakups with our girlfriends, and the first two albums were about dealing with all that pain, how someone you love can betray you and how it just turns your world upside down. I find it hard to listen to those albums now because I am so happy and in love right now.
I am so proud of the albums, the songs and the lyrics are brilliant, but the person they are about doesn’t deserve them. I look back on the last few years, and I am ashamed of myself for letting so many weirdos into my life. I will never leave myself so open again. Awakening was about letting go of all that shit; we found our old selves again. Mark bought an 808 drum machine and programmed loads of cool beats. I bought an old Roland D50 synthesiser and put these beautiful layers of strings over his beats, then we did the guitars and had all this great new music so quickly.
The songs are still about love and pain, but there is light at the end of the tunnel on this album. It is an album about waking up and realising things, about thinking positively, about dealing with it. The last two albums sounded like someone who had almost given up, but sometimes the best music is depressing. I know most of my favourite music is very sad music.
OSR: What was the recording process like for Awakening?
PH: We always write fast, and it is rare that we leave a song unfinished but Awakening was so fast, it was basically one tune every session. It was the most enjoyable record I have made because it is so much more upbeat, it is almost like a dance album, maybe a chillout dance album. It’s like something you can put on after a night out at the club.
OSR: Is there a meaning behind the album title Awakening?
PH: Mark always comes up with the album titles, but Awakening is definitely about moving forward, about life getting better. The first track has so much hope in it and the last track, ‘Crystal Light’, is one of the best pieces of music we have ever made.
OSR: What does 2018 hold for Some Kind of Illness?
PH: We are going to be gigging and recording for sure. We aim to get another record out in 2018, but you never know with this band. I think we just have to enjoy the journey and see what happens.
OSR: If you met a genie and had three wishes, what would they be?
PH: Peace on Earth. I never have to work again. More leg room on Easy Jet flights.
OSR: If you could meet any musician, only one person and not the band, who would it be and why that person?
PH: They say never meet your heroes, so I have to be careful here. I would love to meet Bob Dylan and get him to play his acoustic guitar for me, but he might tell me to fuck off or something. Johnny Marr seems cool, so maybe I would have a brew and a walk around Manchester with him.
OSR: You have a few gigs posted on your Facebook, but is there any tour on the books?
PH: We play Sassari in Sardinia on the 6th of May and then Berlin in Germany on the 11th of June. I think we will announce a Manchester show soon and hopefully London and Liverpool by the end of the year.
OSR: What has been your most memorable performance to date?
PH: We have played a lot of amazing venues. We played the 02 Ritz in Manchester recently which was a dream come true, and I know Mark loved playing at ‘Band On The Wall’. My favourite gig has to be the first time I played in Germany this year when I met my girlfriend. That night changed everything.
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