I saw The Hip Abduction for the first time at Summer Camp Music Festival in May, and they were a joy to watch perform. Sun-soaked vocal harmonies and tropical guitars enhance the different flavors of vibrant world music. Lead guitarist/vocalist David New was kind enough to take some time out of his schedule to have a few words with me about the group.
As mentioned above, the music of The Hip Abduction has origins all over the world, with a wide variety of instrumentation, rhythm, and melody; however, there is a consistent tone of bright-eyed happiness and a delicate bounce. As New explains, “Most of my attraction to world music started with Paul Simon’s Gracelandalbum when I was a kid, and then I moved on to Malian blues and South African Township. We are constantly consuming new music, and technology allows you to have almost any music from anywhere.” He’s right, of course, as Spotify, Pandora, and other streaming services allow listeners to absorb music from across the planet.
With every advancement, though, there are some drawbacks, and New quickly pointed out one of the tools that has worked for The Hip Abduction as relatively new members of an oversaturated music market: “It is really important to have a solid team of people you can rely on day in and day out. Surround yourself with positive people.” His emphasis on positivity is evident in the songwriting and is of course an instrumental tool for up-and-coming musicians, in terms of songwriting as well as the business side of things.
In addition, New had more to say about one of the most high-pressure facets of making it as a successful artist in an age where information moves at the speed of light: “Holding an album to prepare for release is really tough, but you need to get the right mechanism behind it. Who knew vinyl takes so long to press? The press side of things is pretty daunting. It takes several months before you even release a single.”
So we’ve covered the joyous nature of the tunes of The Hip Abduction, but what about how the sausage is made? How does the music actually come together? New described their process thusly: “Usually it starts with a chord progression that we are inspired by. I need to be moved by just the music before we can continue, even before the melody. Then several hooks are laid down over the course of a few weeks until we exhaust all options. Once the vocal hook is laid down, we then start the process of writing lyrics and building the song backwards where the hook is complemented. It’s very rare that we write lyrics first.”
When a band first starts out playing gigs, booking studio time, and really working on composing material, the initial vision can often morph into something else entirely. New shed some light on their particular experience, saying, “[Our music] definitely started out as something different. It wasn’t until the second release that we realized where the music was heading. I think it takes three-five years before band really know where their music is going.” I tend to agree with that assessment, because most bands do develop over time, and different tastes evolve in everybody.
The Hip Abduction is one of the most refreshing bands I’ve heard in recent months. Uplifting, soothing music that points to a new direction in world music for a new generation.