OTW #532: The Hics

Lushly textured electro from jazz roots...
The Hics by Neil Bedford

Asked for a little-known fact about her band, Roxane, half of The Hics’ vocal team, turns tattler. “One of our members,” she murmurs, her sombre voice cracking with conspiratorial salaciousness, “has an addiction.” Things have turned heavy.

The Hics, whose lead-lady apologises more than once for swearing during the course of our interview, don’t immediately strike you as addicted sorts. It’s reassuring then to learn, a few moments later, that it’s not narcotics guitarist Geordan’s been indulging in, but Haribo. Youth in revolt 2.0 this isn’t.  

Having met at school in Pimlico and bonded over a shared love of jazz, their “main focus for the past 10 years”, the six-piece, specialising in laidback, lounge-y slices of electro, have had something of a change in sound since their classroom years.

While the jazz influences are still evident, especially in the improvisational manner with which they craft their songs – “One of us will come up with a chord sequence, and everyone else will just write on top of that,” says Roxane – their sound, and influences, now sit somewhere on the increasingly eclectic electronic spectrum.

Radiohead, James Blake and Atoms For Peace are cited as major influences and, although they insist playing live is their preference, the band’s recorded material belies the its aptitude in the studio.

The Hics have been on the rise since their debut EP ‘Tangle’ hit the web in September 2013. Alongside breathless features from The Times and The Telegraph, their first headline show, at London’s 750-capacity Electrowerkz, was a sell-out – not an insubstantial feat for a band barely past their first birthday.

The outfit’s trajectory has been notably free of the usual tangle of Shoreditch support slots and ponderous blog features – which is why, perhaps, there’s been some confusion as to what they sound like, exactly.

“We’re seeing all these new genres, like nu-soul, floating about and we’re like, 'What is that?'” Roxane laughs. Not that they’re unduly bothered – with six people in the band, even they find it hard to put a label on the sound.

But with new live dates looming and an unexpectedly full diary to contend with, they’re not wasting any time trying.  

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Where: London

What: Lushly textured electro

Get 3 Songs: ‘Tangle’, ‘Russian Dolls’, ‘Cold Air’ (above)

Fact: The band was started by two drummers, and is named after the wood of choice for drumsticks, hickory.

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Words: Rob Knaggs

Photo: Neil Bedford

Find The Hics online: Facebook / Twitter

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