“Indie’s tame,” says James, frontman and protagonist of Hadouken!. “It’s getting worse with ‘the next Kooks’ or whoever, and it’s crap; we want sonic extremes. Young kids are angry, but all they have is The Killers singing some love song.”
If the current Indie soundscape is a pint of Guinness, Hadouken!’s future vision is a 12 pack of Red Bull. Born from the hyper imagination of a Leeds art student, the quartet’s mash up of grime, techno and punk is a punch in the face from a pilled up chav that leaves you wondering what the funk just happened – just like their Street Fighter-pinched name.
“It was an observational lyric, but it’s really affected people. I wasn’t really thinking about things too much but it seems to have resonated quite well.”
“We were fed up with the same old Libertines style acts coming out and thought it was time to move on – and if no know else was going to do it we’d have to,” explains James. “All these copycat bands sell themselves as having an authentic sound with their tight trousers and brown leather jackets, but it’s a load of bollocks.”
As a reaction against the Dadrock that’s saturating the airwaves, James wrote current single ‘That Boy, That Girl’ in the summer of 2006. He emailed the MP3 to best mate and guitarist Pilau. Influenced by Wiley, The Prodigy Radiohead and Bowie, the pair formed Hadouken!, enlisting James’ girlfriend Alice on synths and younger brother Nick on drums.
“‘That Boy, That Girl’ is written about when we went to East London for the first time,” explains James. “I saw this rich cultural diversity of people dressing how they wanted, with a real postmodernism in terms of style and colour. It really opened our eyes.”
Absolute genius, Hadouken’s debut single is a satirical snapshot of the Watford boy’s “stale” University town – taking the piss out of scene sheep which James says can be found across the UK: “It was an observational lyric, but it’s really affected people. I wasn’t really thinking about things too much but it seems to have resonated quite well.”
Sharp, gobby and explosive, Hadouken! have preached their propaganda online, building a dedicated army of gig-going fans and offering free downloads: their anti-drab fluoro video is heavily rotated on MTV2 just 6 months after forming.
“We have to give credit to MySpace,” explains James. “But at the same time it fucked things – at our first gig six A&R guys show up, and we were shit! Although, equally people were singing along already. It puts the power back with the musicians; record companies are no longer the gatekeepers.”
A former grime MC/producer studying in Leeds introduced James to a thriving fertile DIY scene, seeing and playing with Forward Russia, Tiger Force, Cajun Dance Party and Bono Must Die. But despite their high energy, amphetamine soaked sound, (and having remixed for Klaxons and Bloc Party) the band reject the new rave tag.
“The name new rave makes people think of hardcore and acid house, another rehash. But we’re about doing something new and pushing things forward.”
“We want to bring back angriness and youthfulness. People are pissed off with the world – look at politics right now: people are scared or full of rage. There’s no way to vent that in music at the moment; we’re trying to fill that gap.”