I’m not usually a fan of warehouse parties, really big disorientating spaces that you need night vision to navigate. However, the one This Is Music threw a couple of months back in Whitechapel in a relatively small venue reminded me that they can be a lot of fun. I walked into a sea – well, more like a lake – of people gathered trance-like in front of three guys, heads down, lost in the heavy, blurry, spacey sounds emerging from the synths in front of them. HOUNDS OF HATE were midway through their set and everyone was fixated. They weren’t playing songs as such; it was more like a continuous wave of sound, lapping at your consciousness, sending you under. Kind of like the sound-jungle of HOLY FUCK but with the lethargic fuzziness of recent-ish mixtape cohort HYPE WILLIAMS. Download brand new track Head Anthem above to see what I mean.
A few weeks later, having exchanged a couple of emails, I make my way over to Eren from HOUNDS OF HATE’s flat in Dalston on a cold but sunny Sunday lunchtime. Huge windows flood the room with light, streaming onto a bunch of synths set up in an alcove created by a bed on stilts. A washing machine drones in the background. Eren and bandmate Hassan are sat on the sofa but third member Efes has gone AWOL. Apparently he’d had his first beer in however many months the night before and might be feeling a little worse for wear. We talk about the party and I mention the trance-like state of the audience. “Perfect,” says Hassan. It’s not the kind of reaction that most bands seek these days. While the music doesn’t fall neatly into any kind of classification – “a hybrid between chop and screwed hip hop and early 90s acid house, kinda” – it does induce a more psychedelic mindset. The experience of listening to Hounds Of Hate, live or at home, is an introspective one. What does it feel like playing to a motionless audience? “It does feel quite insular,” says Hassan. “To me it feels like nothing. I can’t really see anyone,” explains Eren. “I just feel really focused. I’m way too in my head to kind of realise how other people are responding. But then at the end I have no idea how it went.”
Both Eren and Hassan grew up in different suburbs of Toronto, Canada – incidentally, the same town as Holy Fuck. “Brian (Borchardt) goes out with my friend,” says Eren. “He’s so nice. He hasn’t heard of my band but that’s OK.” Toronto has a “good music scene but it’s kind of limited I guess,” says Hassan. “It gradually shrinks around you and then you want to move to London,” adds Eren. He didn’t actually know Hassan until living over here. They hooked up with London local Efes – “he’s entrenched in East London, a life long member” – and started HOUNDS OF HATE about a year or so ago. Is the process of making their music as trippy as the results? “The sound that we’re trying to get, there’s no fixed goal, no static sound,” says Eren. “I think a few times we’ve all admitted that after going for 20 minutes, we haven’t been noticing what the other two have been doing,” says Hassan. “We just get lost in this little thing we’re doing and then snap out of it.” Eren continues: “There’s one song we play out now that’s not a song at all, it’s just like a drum beat and a bunch of samples from Peter Gabriel songs. It’s completely free. I just play the exact same thing for…infinitely. We have no idea how much time has passed. At some point I have to stop it because it just gets weird. You get really tingly after a while, my hands fall asleep.”
An alarm on Eren’s phone goes off. He calls across to his girlfriend Emma. “Did we get it?” Yes, the amp they’d been bidding for on eBay has been purchased. Cool. Back to what the future holds for HOUNDS OF HATE. There’ll be another Hype Williams mixtape collaboration of “out there, free synth music”. And there’s their debut single coming out on Back Yard in January. With its Running Up That Hill drum intro, fuzzy bass, epic key changes and slow-burn build, I Like Triangles is like a forgotten classic. “It’s actually the oldest track, probably more than a year ago, before there was even a band,” says Eren. “It seems to be the one that most people are picking up because it’s got the most conventional sound.” There’ll be lots more spacey live gigs too. “We’re trying to make it different from show to show, so it’s not the same old droney crap every time,” he laughs.
If you like this, have a read of Charlie’s TEETH!!! interview from back in June.