NE HOT SEAT: HECTOR GANNET
This week we’re continuing our brand new feature on Tipping Point – ‘NE Hot Seat’ – where we sit down with some of the region’s brightest talent on a monthly basis, shine a spotlight on their latest work and find out what they have planned next.
Next up we have North Shields alt-rockers Hector Gannet, who’ve steadily built a reputation as one of the region’s hottest indie prospects over the last few years, lead by songwriter-in-chief Aaron Duff. With their ‘Into The Deep’ EP arriving earlier this autumn and a support slot alongside Lanterns on the Lake lined up later this week, we sat down with Duff to discuss his 2022 plans in further detail.
Tell us a little about yourself and your career in music so far?
I’m a musician and songwriter and I write and perform both solo and with a band under the name Hector Gannet. It’s a project that began about four years ago when I was asked to write a soundtrack to archive footage of the North East Coast, for a North East Film Archive project called ‘Moving North: Coastal.’ I discovered some archive footage of the fishing industry in North Shields which actually features my grandparents in 1959 and follows my Grandad out to sea onboard the trawler ‘Ben Torc’. I got the band together to perform the soundtrack, accompanying the footage and from there things kind of took off. We released our debut album in October 2020, which was recorded at Polestar Studios in Byker with the brilliant Alex Blamire and the whole thing was mixed by Paul Gregory of Lanterns On The Lake. Since Covid restrictions eased we’ve been getting out and playing the album, we’ve just got back from a nine-date UK tour which was great. I’ve got a lot of new material on the way so we’re pretty focused on honing that.
What can you tell us about your latest release?
‘Into The Deep’ is a four track EP highlighting our effects upon the natural world. I’m really excited about it, we’ve been working alongside some lovely people who hold the same interests at heart, and who do a great job in trying to reverse the effects and reduce our impact; Wild Intrigue, who are a Community Interest Company (CIC) and small ecotourism social enterprise, and British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), who are a registered charity, and since 1988 have been involved in the rescue of marine wildlife, being called out to thousands of incidents around the UK every year. We all find the work that both organisations do hugely inspiring, so we decided to make the EP and associated merchandise available in a way which ensures that anyone getting involved will indirectly contribute to both. Every purchase helps to sustain these brilliant organisations and in doing so, sustain the natural world around us.
What inspires you most when it comes to creating music?
That’s a tricky question, I get inspired by all sorts. Particularly with this new release though, nature has been at the forefront of my mind. I think that is perhaps a result of lockdown, I’ve always been passionate about it and I’ve often drawn on the natural world for inspiration, but during lockdown I found it particularly difficult not being able to just disappear into the wilderness. We were luckier than many during those awful times, we were still able to experience nature where we live, and in fact I took quite a lot of inspiration from the lack of human interaction, and seeing how nature seemingly thrived in our absence. ‘The Silent Spring’ , which is the second single from this EP, was inspired by just that. The title is taken from a Rachel Carson book about the effects on nature caused by the use of pesticides, the song, however, focuses on wider issues too. I think many people have now realised just how much they rely on the outdoors for so many reasons, not least their mental wellbeing. Perhaps one thing to take away from it all is the realisation that conservation is incredibly important, for everyone’s sake. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
How did you find the recording process and how did it shape your sound?
We have quite a relaxed recording routine, I still like to get in and make the most of our time in the studio, but the recording environment is really comfortable. We work really well with Alex at Polestar and I think we all understand each other and Alex totally gets what we’re all about. There’s nothing worse than feeling nervous or intimidated in that kind of situation, it does nothing for creativity or performance, so it’s brilliant to feel like we can just roll into Polestar and be ourselves. Everything we create in there seems to have a distinct sound, we’ve been back in recently to record some new material I’ve been writing and I’m really pleased with how things are sounding, I’m excited to get it out there! As far as shaping our sound goes, I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point where I feel like we’ve totally ‘got’ our sound, it’s just sort of naturally evolved and it continues to do so. I think that’s a healthy approach anyway.
What else can we expect from you this year?
We’ve got some special announcements coming before 2021 is out and we’re really excited to be opening for our friends, the wonderful Lanterns On The Lake at Boiler Shop, Newcastle on 10th December alongside the brilliant Wyldest. That’s going to be a really special night. More releases and more shows are planned for 2022, so another busy time ahead!
Where can we find you on socials and keep up to date on developments?
The best place to be is hectorgannet.com, you sign up to the mailing list you’ll receive exclusive info and offers on releases and pre-sale offers on gigs. You can also keep up to date with things on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.
Check out Hector Gannet’s favourite acts from the region in their personally curated playlist below.
Generator North East, The Manse, Kingsland Church Studios, Priory Green, Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE6 2DW
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