Hare Squead are a cultural phenomenon that can no longer be ignored. That’s not to say that prior to the last couple of months they were, for lack of a better phrase, ‘the industry underdogs’ who were shunned by the ‘man’ and hidden from the airwaves. That’s far from the case; they got play, they had critical and media attention, and they got booked. Before their explosive rise through the industry, Hare Squead were actually relatively big…just not as big as they should have been, nearing ‘Picture This’ status, but perturbed by an industry and audience that quietly decided “Nah, not for me mate”.
Fast forward and having performed successful shows on stages in the likes of the Academy and Electric Picnic, it became increasingly difficult to stick one’s head in the sand and offer an idle shrug when asked about the Irish Trio. Moreover, all pretence of ignorance went out the window when they announced their record deal with Columbia, released their debut single ‘If I Asked’ and proceeded to take Ireland by storm. Hesitation and reluctance weren’t enough to cage the relentless animal that is the talent and ambition of Tony, Jessy, and Henoc; and with a headline show in the Button Factory this Wednesday, Hare Squead show no signs of slowing down.
One of the main things you need to know about Hare Squead though is that they’re weird – in the best possible way. It’s just kind of a rigid fact. Keep in mind the immortal words of Jay-Z “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man”. Hare Squead are neither of those things, they’re more along the lines of an abstract concept: How fun can we make this whole being artists thing be?
The short answer? Very.
Jessie spends the first couple minutes of the interview singing the words to a Tebi Rex song over the phone, asking me about how I’m doing, shouting the specifications for how his chicken nuggets and burger are to be made when they reach McDonalds, while who, presumably, is Henoc and Tony proceed to make a series of weird noises and jokes in the background. It doesn’t come off as obnoxious but rather weirdly endearing. They’re just having so fun, so we decide to join in.
What comes to mind when I say ‘Orange Juice in my Lunchbox’?
*Jessy chuckles through the phone*
Uh..2014, January 10th. We did our first headline gig.
How would you say that your band has developed since its first headline show?
Ehm, since the first one, the last two years we’ve developed like 10 year’s worth. We got like a live band after our first show. We played the Oxjam stage, then Hard Working Class Heroes. We were just well produced and working really really hard since the last headliner – like our sound started off real Odd Future but now it’s a mixture of a bunch of things.
Where do you see yourselves going from here?
We’ve got a lot, we’ve only released ‘If I ask’ but we’ve recorded…I dunno maybe 45 tracks or something since January, since we got signed… Expect a lot more music, a lot more shows.
Do you feel like you have a responsibility to Irish Hiphop, to be like leaders or something?
Well it’s not just hip-hop, it’s Irish music.
*proceeds to place order in Mcdonalds while still on the phone*
Who would you compare yourselves to artistically?
Who do you feel in your opinion are making waves in regard to Irish music?
I’m tryna think, like real waves?… Uhm Hare Squead.
Yeah they cool. They’re not bad sure.
Everyone’s killing it right now, to be honest, we love the hip-hop guys. Tebi, Jafaris and then there’s Soule who came out of nowhere, she’s killing it. But then at the same time, there’re some really cool bands like Otherkin, and they’re fucking awesome. I love them.
I had the pleasure of seeing you guys twice this summer, so what’s going to set your solo headliner apart from your other shows?
We got a –
*bites a mouthful of burger*
We’re gonna play a few new songs, which is going to be on the EP Supernormal. We gonna be energetic. IT’S A HARE SQUEAD SHOW, ITS OUR GIG, OUR FANS. Rage. Crazy. Explosive.
Back to your solo gig a couple of years ago, there was a fourth member of the band, Craig Roddy. Did he have to leave the band because he didn’t have a square haircut?
*Jessy chuckles on the phone*
Nobody knows about Craig Roddy, they don’t know that far back.
One last question before we end the interview. If you could be any type of food, what kinda food would you be?
Double cheeseburger from Mcdonalds.
No problem, I’ll see you soon bro.
Hare Squead headline the Button Factory, Dublin, on Wednesday, 28th September. Tickets for the show can be found here.