Malcolm: ‘We’ve been playing together as Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate for about five years, and during this time have released 3 albums’.
(‘Invisible’, ‘When the Code Fails’ and new album released October 2017 ‘Broken But Stll Standing’. Line up – Malcolm Galloway (vocals, guitar, keyboard, producer) Mark Gatland (bass, Chapman stick, keyboard, backing vocals) also live and studio with one or more of Kathryn Thomas (flute, vocals) Ibon Bilbao (guitar) and Rudy Burrell (drums).
Where do the ideas come for your songs ?
Mark: ‘Ask Malcolm!! To be fair, we have a good working method now where I can flesh out his ideas and add my flavourings to his dishes. We’ll chuck ideas back and forth, and because we’ve been friends for so long and there’s a distinct lack of ego, if an idea doesn’t get included then no one gets upset….or it might just get used for the next album!
Malcolm: ‘Lyrically the songs usually fit together into a story or theme. I’m particularly interested in scientific and philosophical themes, and songs that take the viewpoint of a character that isn’t me’.
Who were your influences and how did you get involved in playing music ?
Malcolm: ‘My main influences are the classical minimalist composers, particularly Steve Reich and progressive rock music like David Gilmour/Pink Floyd and Marillion. We’re both very open minded musically. Queen were also inspiring for me growing up’.
Mark: ‘I suppose my earliest stuff was Queen and Iron Maiden with a bit of the ’80s rock and pop I grew up with. As I’ve got older I’m pretty much a musical magpie that gets influenced by all I listen to and I pick up stuff all the time’.
Malcolm: ‘I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t making music. I learned the tuba at school, and played in local youth orchestras, wind bands and brass bands. Mark and I then played in a band at school together’.
Mark: ‘After playing cello at school it was the classic school band scenario where friends were forming a band, (Malcolm being one of them) and they needed a bass player. We had an upright bass in our school practice room so it was decided I would do that and I happily found my instrument by mistake’.
When did you start playing gigs and what venues did you play ?
Mark: ‘I’ve been playing for a good few years now, so there aren’t many North London venues I haven’t played! My first ever ‘proper’ gig in my first metal band was probably The Royal Standard in Walthamstow now sadly long gone. But I’ve played various places such as The Forum, The George Robey, The Ruskin Arms, The Monarch, the old Camden Falcon again, sorely missed. Bull & Gate, various places in Shoreditch and Hoxton. Many pubs/bars in North and South London with lots of different bands over the years. Played in function bands in places like Leeds, Leicester, Norfolk…wherever really, I’m not fussy!
Malcolm: ‘We’ve played lots of lovely London venues, including the Fiddler’s Elbow, Proud Camden, and in Denmark Street. Also performed a mixture of our Hats Off songs and my classical minimalist music at London’s National Gallery, along with projections of my video art. That was an amazing experience’.
What is your experiences of recording/studio work ?
Malcolm: ‘We record, mix and master on my laptop, in Sonar. We used to record vocals in a studio, but for the last couple of albums we have done the vocals at home. For the recent album Mark and I worked by bouncing ideas between each other via Dropbox’.
Mark: ‘I’ve been incredibly lucky over the years to have rehearsed and recorded in some very nice and prestigious places, both here and overseas. But to be honest as long as it’s the right people and the right noises coming back out of the speakers it doesn’t really matter where it is’.
Playing live, how important are the songs chosen in order for the set list ?
Malcolm: ‘Mark is now in charge of the set lists. He’s much better at being organised than I am. We hope that the song order provides a shape to the show’.
Have you any stories from playing gigs ?
Mark: ‘It’s never a good look to fall off the stage during a gig….I haven’t done it for a while, thankfully, but it’s hard to recover from!
Malcolm: ‘I once fell backwards off a stage while playing the tuba. The wall behind me stopped it being anything tragic’.
Have you recorded any TV appearances or filmed any music videos ?
Malcolm: ‘We’ve made several music videos, one of which was shown on various TV channels around the world. I usually make videos to go with most of the songs and they are on our You Tube channel. Our most recent is for the track Anywhere from album Broken But Still Standing and is a bit silly but in contrast, Broken Wave is one of our more ambient tracks and visuals. One of my favourite videos is I Still Remember You, a proggy rock song.
We’re also doing the music for comedy-horror feature film Rock Band Vs Vampires, which should be out next year’.
What are the future plans for the band?
Malcolm: ‘My younger son said to me a few days ago ‘isn’t it a bit bad that you haven’t started on the next album yet’. I feel uncomfortable if I have a few weeks without writing. We are gigging the new album, then we start recording the next’.
For more info contact the official website: http://www.hatsoffgentlemen.com
or on social media, Facebook and Twitter.
Interview by Gary Alikivi October 2017.
Neil Armstrong, Vinyl Junkies, 11th August 2017.
Jon Dalton, California Dreaming, 18th October 2017.
Andy Rowe, THE ROOM: Melody Makers, 12th January 2018.
Jon Dalton, VINYL JUNKIES: 15th January 2018.