Hope Of the States Want To Riot!

Summer has arrived and the festival season is nearly upon us. Apart from the unconfirmed line up of Glastonbury it looks like it is going to one memorable year for festivals especially if the weather holds up. One festival in particular has an incredible line up and that is T in the Park. “Really looking forward to T in the Park as they usually have a wider range of bands, although Glastonbury is the party!” declares drummer Simon Jones from Hope of the States who is obviously eager for the festival season to kick off.

Feeling excited about releasing their debut album and starting a tour in the middle of May, it may have seemed that they may never have reached this point when they discovered their friend and guitarist hanged back in January. After a day in the studio putting the finishing touches to their album, they went to watch a film, Jimmi said he would be along shortly. Thirty minutes later they found him dead. It’s been an emotional few months but they promised that they would carry for Jimmi’s sake and for the fans. They don’t want to be thought of as a band linked to a suicide. They want to be thought of for their music.

It all started a few years back for them back in Chichester. Once they had the current line up sorted they played lots of gigs and sent demos everywhere, eventually John Earls from Planet Sound caught on to what they were all about and soon the records labels started to take notice. Although Simon dismisses claims of a fierce bidding war between the labels as “bollocks” there has been lots of hype surrounding Hope of the States. They eventually settled for Sony and released Enemies/Friends, which charted even though it hardly got any radio play.

For a band that have only released a couple of singles they have built up an extremely loyal fan base. Is this due to the Internet making it easier to spread the

The Lost Riots

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word much faster and the easy availability to download songs? Simon says “I’ve no idea how it worked before but for us things like file sharing and the like have really helped. People tell their friends and so on. It’s like word of mouth but much better”.

Now they are finally ready to release their album 'The Lost Riots'. “We are real excited, we have been working so hard and for so long on it and been through so much together that it is good for it to finally be released, and people can hear our baby.” As for any theme to the album, which was written before Jimmi died. “We try not to tell people what to make of the songs, people can make up their own minds, although a lots of them are based around hopeful ideals”.

They tried out a couple of producers before settling for Sigur Ros’s Ken Thomas to produce their album, as he seemed to understand the sound that they wanted to create. “Ken was great, he let us do what we wanted to a point and he made us look at songs in a different light. He taught us that nothing in a song is sacred, so we stripped down the songs and started again. As for producers in the future, you can never say never, but we have been through a lot with Ken and he is definitely the 7th member of the band.”

This will be their first major tour, which starts in the middle of May and takes in most of the UK. “We are really excited, we get really passionate about gigs and we really enjoy touring, even when our fingers are bleeding and our heads are sore. In fact that is when you know you are enjoying it the most.” After doing a few warm up secret gigs earlier this month we are told to expect the same set but with a few new songs and videos to accompany them. Asked if there was any particular gig they were looking forward to. “The Scala, we are gonna try and incite a riot!” So be warned, it’s going to be one hell of a tour!

Supporting them on their tour will be Komakino and Youth Movie Soundtrack Strategies. “We love them both dearly and so it is a pleasure to have them on tour so we can catch them every night! Youth Movie Soundtrack Strategies play with real passion and are actually pushing things forward, and they challenge people and I like that.” Asking what other bands excite them at the moment. “I adore Bloc Party; they have got a London thing I really like.”

So what next for Hope of the States – Europe, America? “We will go to America like we will go everywhere else, we want everyone to hear the record that we made with our dear friend Jimmi. There is nothing that could please us more”

Interview by Sonia Pagliari