not a member? click here to sign up

DIY with Hard Fi

Hard Fi’s Richard Archer talks to Patrick Freyne about building a studio, indie snobbery and having your foot run over by an angry American.

Patrick Freyne, 29 Nov 2007

Hard Fi are unapologetic about wanting to be as big as Eminem. Now, this kind of aspirational thinking doesn’t go down well with the grass-roots, DIY indie community. But Hard-Fi are actually as DIY as you get. Yes, they self-recorded their first mini-album, but for album number two (Once Upon A Time In The West) they built a whole studio – with hammers and nails and plaster and spirit levels.

“We couldn’t find a studio that caught the imagination for us, so we decided to build one,” says a bright eyed Richard Archer. “Our old studio was quite small, but we noticed that a bigger room next door was vacant. So we decided we’d knock through the wall. We found out how to build soundproof walls on the internet and started to break the wall down – which was a fucking stupid thing to do because no-one had a clue how to do it. Ross [Philips, guitarist] had told me he had a CDT [craft, design and technology] GCSE so I thought – he’s got to have half a clue about what he’s doing. But it turns out he hadn’t. In the end we should have done a TV show out of it called DIY SOS.”

Was it worth it?

“It was totally worth it. It meant we could do the album in the same studio we were used to. We were comfortable being there. We worked well there. Of course we didn’t have a sink for three months.”

Hard Fi are a band that are very conscious of their roots, and the ordinary lives they came from and which their friends are still living. Unlike the bevy of bands preaching to lost souls, indie poets and outsider urchins, Hard Fi are making anthems for housing estate everymen and every-women. They’re striving for universalism. So why do they feel like outsiders?

“We’ve always been a bit out of sync with the indie scene,” proffers Archer. “When we started out, we felt like nobody was making music about people like us. It seemed natural to talk about our own lives and it made sense to have an ‘all are welcome’ approach to our music and our audience. But some people don’t like that. I was just asked by one interviewer ‘Why should the readers of our magazine come to your shows where they see all these people from different walks of life? Why should they think you’re one of their bands?’ Isn’t that a weird question? Different walks of life... God forbid you might run into someone from a ‘different walk of life’”

But does he worry he’ll lose his connection to the ordinary folk he grew up with, now that his band are famous?

“We were worried about losing that connection,” he acknowledges. “People were saying ‘How can you write about cash machines when you’ve got money in the bank?’ and you can get really get caught up in that stuff. But you can’t think about it too much or you’d write nothing. The big difference was that with the first album, it started as a single, became an EP, that became a mini-album and that became an album. We never had to sit down and say ‘We’re making an album’. With the second one we knew it was an album and there was a danger at the start that we’d second guess ourselves too much.”

Guitarist Ross arrives and the pair start talking about the mixed emotions that come with touring. Apparently Hard Fi fans have a tendency to sing along to every song, and turn gigs into carnivals, but this all depends on the town.

“Munich’s a wealthy town, for example,” explains Archer (they’ve just played a spate of German gigs). “So they were all kind of reserved. In the more industrial towns they don’t give a shit – they just want a good night.”

Page 1/2     <Previous 1 2 Next> 

Artist Related Content

Latest Related Articles For This Artist

The Staines Massive Strikes Back

Once hailed as the voice of a generation, it’s taken Staines rockers Hard-Fi three albums to learn how to keep their egos in check. Celina Murphy sits down with Richard Archer to talk fame, guns and the power of positivity.

Interview: 03 Oct 2011

Killer Sounds

Disjointed third effort from Staines rockers.

REVIEW: 25 Aug 2011

Once Upon A Time In The West

To paraphrase Jarvis, you’ve got to wonder what exactly Hard-Fi are going to do for an encore – cos this is hardcore.

REVIEW: 21 Sep 2007

Hard & Soul

In a revealing interview, frontman Richard Archer talks about the pressures of success and the death of his parents.

Interview: 14 Sep 2007

Hard-Fi live at the Ambassador, Dublin

In frontman Richard Archer , Hard-Fi possess a wry, self-aware lyricist, with a gift for poetic bluntness. Musically, however, they remain some way short of virtuoso status – melodies plod when they might soar; their debt to reggae-flavoured post-punk can tip into pastiche.

REVIEW: 12 Jun 2006

best of ireland

Contact Us

Hot Press,
13 Trinity Street,
Dublin 2.
Rep. Of Ireland
Tel: +353 (1) 241 1500

Click here for more contact information.

Click here to find out more about Hot Press

Hot Press always welcomes feed back so if you've got something to tell us click here.

Advertise With Us

For more detail on how to advertise with Hot Press click here or call us on +353 (1) 241 1540