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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’”