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Premiere: Hans Pucket Share Video 'Straight To My Heart' + Interview

Premiere: Hans Pucket Share Video 'Straight To My Heart' + Interview

Thursday 12th April, 2018 12:21PM

Wellington-based indie pop trio Hans Pucket (Callum Devlin, Oliver Devlin and Jonathan Nott) have unveiled today their eagerly-awaited debut album Eczema. The new record collects eight charming and earnest guitar-driven numbers laid down over two years at a plethora of locations around New Zealand, including Wellington's Truby King Studio, and Auckland spaces Kokako Studio and Fuzzy Vibes.

As a bonus, Hans Pucket have also shared today a "micro-budget" video for their bittersweet single 'Straight To My Heart' directed by the band's Callum Devlin which we're excited to premiere here. We caught up with songwriter Oliver Devlin while he was in transit to Auckland for tonight's release party alongside Dateline and Naenae Express at Whammy Bar; check out the new clip, read his words below and wrap your ears around Eczema...


Hi Oliver - congratulations on your new album! We're keen to hear about how the record came together, you've been working on it for a while right?

Yeah! About two years. We recorded all the main tracks in one day in Jono’s dining room up in Melrose - a lot of them we'd never played before but at the time we had to get something down before Jono left on a tour with Broods and I went up to Auckland for work. I was in Auckland for about six weeks working on a show at Q Theatre, and I happened to make friends with Jonathan Pearce from the Beths. He let me use his studio to record vocals after dark - so all the lead vocals on the album were recorded from like midnight to four in the morning, into a really nice mic. I also had JY (Lee) from Yoko Zuna play sax and flute, and my friend Will play some epic synth chaos. We recorded all the backing vocals and claps and extra percussion at my flat on Allenby Tce. Jonathan Pearce mastered the record, including a track I just finished adding vocals to on Tuesday and he sent me at 12.30am last night.

Who does what in Hans Pucket?

I write these introspective, angsty ballads and bring them to Callum and Jono to mess with and make into pop songs. Jono (of ONONO) is a multi-instrumentalist as well as a drummer so has an incredible ear for structure and crafting of the songs. I have been making music with Callum most of my life, a lot of the time I'm thinking what's going to make him excited. He is the kind of lead-style melodic bass player who is trying to be a synth or an organ or some other huge machine. My favourite songs are usually the ones that have been pulled in three directions at once.

What themes are you exploring with Eczema?

A lot of these tunes were written in a similar period of time to (previous EP) Jalapeño - after leaving Uni and having no idea what to do with my life, as well as the aftermath of this long term relationship. I got dispirited with the idea of writing these love songs all the time, they were making me really sad and it felt pretty unhealthy, and unfair to the people you're writing them about. So I kind of had a crisis where the songs just sat there and I wanted to rewrite all the lyrics. Jono and Callum and I were all in different cities and hadn't played in ages and it felt a bit like the end of the band. Going up to Auckland and making some friends up there was really essential encouragement - I can imagine I would have given up otherwise.

The idea of Eczema came at a point where I accepted the album as being the last songs I'll write like this, these introspective, obsessive sort of writing process, like an itch. Callum and I have both had really bad eczema in the past as well, so it felt suitably honest and a bit gross.

It's been long enough now I can see the songs are really more about myself and my own problems than about any one else. Often they are about a failure to understand or communicate feelings, or fear of living an aimless life.

Your recent singles have been student radio faves - do you feel there’s been a development in your songwriting since Jalapeño?

Well after saying all that about myself, I do think the band is a whole heap more collaborative, and open to whatever ideas come up in the room. It was exciting to have the space of an album to work with, a lot more room to breathe, room for variation and contrast.

The long process meant I had proper time to write and edit and rewrite lyrics and melodies, which I hadn't done on the previous record. My friend Freya Sadgrove who is a master of poetry kindly suggested I edit my lyrics and I now think it's really important. I'm a lot less precious about the authenticity of the initial feeling I suppose.

Where there any specific inspirations for the new album - artistically or personally?

It's hard to understate the effect of NZ music on our writing, I find local bands give me actual real-life energy As a band we have pretty diverse tastes but we're all in love with classic pop, so the Beatles, Bowie, The Zombies, Paul Simon, Dusty Springfield, Talking Heads, ABBA, The Cars, - just once in my life I'd like to write a song as good and direct as 'Just What I Needed" or the Buzzcocks 'Ever Fallen In Love With Someone'. Also more recent psych stuff like Toro Y Moi and UMO, these wells of 60s and 70s influences. I think we're a little less nostalgic, we're just trying to make a modern guitar pop record that sounds like the three of us having a lot of fun in Jono's dining room. Also musical theatre, for example 'What?' was from Callum asking me to write our version of 'Totally Devoted To You' from Grease. Theres a melodic narrative quality on the album which comes from our mum playing us Rogers and Hammerstein as kids.

Any info you’d like to share about the video?

It's a micro-budget video about fear and failure directed by Callum, who also does all our art and merch design. It was made with the help and advice of our very talented friends Ezra Simons and Abe Hollingsworth, featuring a bunch of our friends, and filmed at our flats. I think it's super weird and I love it so much.

You can catch Hans Pucket tonight at Whammy Bar along with The Naenae Express and Dateline, and with Bright Music at Wellington's Meow on Saturday 14th April.


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Thu 12th Apr
Whammy Bar, Auckland
Sat 14th Apr
Meow, Wellington

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