Syncopated beats with bluesy charm and they look as good as they sound. Meet Oscar, Ranald, Vincent and Josh AKA Hidden Charms.
With strained, characterful vocals that could be likened to any of rock and roll’s legends and danceability that comes from somewhere deeper than the electronic thuds we’re used to, Hidden Charms are welcome breath of whiskeyed cigarette smoke. Their next release, “Dreaming Of Another Girl”, produced by the legendary Shel Tamy, comes tinged with psych thanks to sweet and hazy harmonies alongside a creeping, swaying bassline.
The product of two blues bands merging, Hidden Charms have been doing the rounds for little over a year now. Fashion fans might have already spotted Oscar and Ranald looking dapper alongside Tom Odell and plenty more bright young things in Burberry’s AW15 campaign. With the imminent release of “Dreaming Of Another Girl”, a full UK tour and a handful of European appearances on the way, you’re bound to be seeing a lot more of these boys. We won’t be complaining.
Can you tell us how Hidden Charms came to be?
Ranald: We all met through music. There were a couple of bands all playing on the same blues circuit in London and we formed essentially when two bands merged, it was about a year and half ago.
What drew you all towards music as a career? Has it been as you imagined?
Ranald: I guess it was just a love of bands that we all grew up listening to that made us want to go into it. People like the Beatles and the kinks and the early blues stuff, for me it was Elvis. I think it hasn’t really hit us that the band’s going OK now, it’s so competitive that we never really thought it would.
You’ve worked with Shel Tamy! How was the experience? What was the most valuable thing you learnt?
Vincent: Working with Shel was undoubtedly a dream come true, he is in the top tier of producers that have ever existed. He was a pleasure to work with and surprisingly easy going! For someone of that status he was very open minded, as the person who was the first to record a distorted guitar and feedback, it should have come as no surprise. I think that’s exactly what we learned from him; to keep growing as a creator you have to keep an open mind which sounds obvious but I think a lot of the time when creative people have success they get stuck in their ways which is the difference between them and the geniuses of this world.
Do you think you’re heading down the same road as The Kinks and The Who? Is there anything they’ve done that you really want to match?
Vincent: We don’t want to be dead or accused of paedophilia but we wouldn’t mind headlining Glastonbury so that’s a hard question to answer. Those are legends so it would be impossible to say we’re heading the same way but everyone can dream!
Oscar and Ranald, you’re Burberry boys! How did that come about? Were you more nervous walking in the show than you get playing a gig?
Oscar: We got called in and just had a really good chat with the CEO about music and our shared passion for The Kinks. One thing led to another and the next day we were on set, it was all pretty casual and the rest of the cast are all emerging and interesting guys. They have been really supportive and it was an amusing experience.
You guys have got the rock and roll-skinny jeans-long hair-good shirts look down to a T, how important is it to you all to look good and that your look matches your music?
Vincent: The way we dress is basically coincidence, we don’t have conversations where we coordinate our outfits or anything like that! We just have similar tastes in clothes. Wouldn’t it be strange if we all liked the same music and nothing else? Music and fashion have always gone hand in hand.
Your new single is called “Dreaming Of Another Girl” but who are you dreaming about? Who’s your ultimate pin-up?
Vincent: Khloe Kardashian is a big one for Ranald. Josh is a mad for Taylor Swift. Oscar is a Pam Anderson fan. I think it’s what’s inside that counts.
The track’s licked with 60s R&B, what attracts you to that time and that style?
Vincent: We never set out to be a 60s band and we still don’t think we are one. We just make music that we think is good, today we like Slaves, The Parrots, Fat White Family, The Yetis, Alabama Shakes, bands like that. Obviously as a guitar band from England it is impossible for The Beatles and The Stones and all that not to be mentioned but it really isn’t something we’re trying to copy.
You’re currently amidst a full UK tour, how’re you enjoying your time on the road? Where do you think will be the best place to go for a party?
Ranald: We do enjoy touring, it’s hard work though, if people knew how we did it I think they’d be surprised. It sounds glamourous but it isn’t really. We do lots of lugging our gear on mega buses around the country but playing live is worth it obviously or we’d have given up! We’re really looking forward to Sheffield, we’re playing with a local band we know called Bang Bang Romeo who are great.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
Josh: We’re planning to be on tour for the foreseeable future, we are finishing our UK run, then off to Europe with Awolnation in August, which will be fun and a chance to see some new places. Then in September we have a residency at KoKo in London. Also to keep releasing singles leading into an EP in Autumn, and hopefully an album after!
“Dreaming Of Another Girl” is out 24th July on Deltasonic Records.