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Interview: Kris Hopes of Grinspoon

I know for us, right now we are all about writing new music which is just so bloody exciting for us. It really is exciting for us being in a room together playing new shit.
Pic courtesy Facebook

Grinspoon formed in 1995 and quickly climbed the ranks on the Australian music scene by winning the Triple J Unearthed competition. They have released 2 EP’s and 7 albums to both critical and fan acclaim. The band are set to release a best of titled “Chemical Hearts”, which the band itself compiled of not only hits, but their favourites jammed packed on to vinyl. To celebrate the band are hitting the road with The Hard Aches, Gooch Palm and Bugs for 13 shows across the country. Drummer Kris Hopes called in to fill us in on the tour, the album and potential new Grinspoon music.

H2Z: When Grinspoon first started jamming together did you think that the band would come as far as it has?

KH: No, absolutely not (laughs). Phil and I were in a band together before Grinspoon, and Pat and Joe were also in a band together before Grinspoon. We broke those bands up to form this band, and really our sights were only set on doing an album. An album was our goal. Then we won the Triple J unearthed competition, which gave us a nice head start, and we were off and 20 plus years later, here we are today (laughs).

H2Z: You mentioned Triple J, who have helped launch many bands. Do you think that todays artists, with YouTube and streaming at their fingertips realise how easy it is now, and how important outlets like Triple J and others were?

KH: In someways yes, but in a lot of ways no. It’s become extremely diluted now. Unearthed has become so broad. We were the first ever band to win it, and use that platform to build on. When Triple J went national, that was a massive thing, that extra airplay allowed us to go and play other states in the country which we may not have been able to do. Triple J is still such a great radio station and they are still doing it today, they still care about giving bands a head start.

H2Z: When it comes to the songwriting process in Grinspoon, do you come in with individual ideas, or just get together in a room and go from there?

KH: We do it every which way. I just got back today from a little writing session I was doing with Pat and Phil. We were just down in Byron Bay writing a few songs. When we get together one of might come in with an idea and we work on it from there, or we just start from scratch together. A few weeks ago Pat and I just went in the studio with no ideas and by the end of the day walked out with an awesome song. I don’t think forcing the writing process is a good thing. I think it should be pretty organic. A good song should come out of nowhere and shouldn’t be forced, if you know what I mean.

H2Z: Does that mean we might see the release of new music as the tour progresses?

KH: I don’t think in time for the tour, but we have a shit tonne of ideas floating around and we are really starting to nail them, so who knows, there could be a possibility of an album in the near future.

H2Z: Speaking of albums, “Chemical Hearts” is out on October 11th. Was that an easy process selecting the track list?

KH: The great thing about this one, is that it is like a “Best Of” but it’s songs we have picked ourselves. We did have a previous one called “Best In Show”, which the record company put together. This time its all of us putting it together, so it’s us picking our best and favourite songs, and we get to release it on vinyl, which is even cooler. When we released our first EP, all we wanted to do was get in on vinyl. We finally were able to make that happen about 6 months ago, didn’t take long (laughs). Only 20 something years but we got there (laughs).

H2Z: Would Grinspoon ever look at releasing a rarities and demos compilation?

KH: Thats a great idea! Maybe one day. I know for us, right now we are all about writing new music which is just so bloody exciting for us. It really is exciting for us being in a room together playing new shit. Besides getting this tour together that’s pretty much what we have been up to.

H2Z: Grinspoon has played so many varied gigs over the years, do you miss the days of having good rock festivals around?

KH: Yeah I do, and last year we were really lucky in being able to do the “Groovin’ The Moo” Festival, which was a national thing and also a lot of fun as we got to play with a lot of different weird and wonderful bands, DJ’s and all kinds of shit, but who knows, maybe next year or the year after we might be back and doing some other stuff. We love playing festivals, it gives us the chance to display our wares so to speak, to the international bands, and we are stoked when we get to do it.

H2Z: You will be one of the first bands to break in the brand new Fortitude Music Hall up here in Brisbane, that must be a pretty cool thing?

KH: Yeah it really is. I was just speaking to someone about that the other day in Bryon. I was driving Phil around for a few solo shows that he was doing. He played the Crowbar and then went straight over and to the The Skegs play the new venue. He said it was so awesome and state of the art, so we cannot wait to play it. Its exciting times to get a new venue in Brisbane.

H2Z: We would like to thank you for your time today Kris, and to finish up, you have had many great accomplishments so far in your career, but you’re only allowed to pick one to be remembered by. What is the memory and why?

KH: If I have to pick one, it would have been a Grinspoon show, on a Big Day Out tour, I am going to say maybe 2000. Coming out and playing to between 50 and 60 thousand people in the main arena in Sydney, and we when we played “Champion” we just saw row upon row upon row of mosh pits going back and it just felt like “Yes we are here. We have arrived” (Laughs).

H2Z: Awesome Kris, we look forward to seeing you at The Fortitude Music Hall on November 8th.

KH: Thanks Andrew, See you then!

GRINSPOON ‘CHEMICAL HEARTS’ VINYL TRACKLIST

Side A
1. Chemical Heart
2. DC X 3
3. Champion
4. Just Ace
5. Pedestrian
6. Black Friday
7. Ready 1
8. Lost Control

Side B
1. Hard Act To Follow
2. No Reason
3. Sickfest
4. More Than You Are
5. 1000 Miles
6. Better Off Alone
7. Post Enebriated Anxiety

The Chemical Hearts vinyl record will be available October 11.

Grinspoon is Phil Jamieson on vocals, Pat Davern on guitar, Joe Hansen on bass and Kristian Hopes on drums.

Pre-order Chemical Hearts                     Buy tickets              Buy ticket + vinyl bundles

GRINSPOON ‘CHEMICAL HEARTS’ NATIONAL TOUR

FRI 11 OCT | METROPOLIS, FREMANTLE WA | 18+

Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

SAT 12 OCT | METRO CITY, PERTH WA | 18+

Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

WED 16 OCT | THE FORUM, MELBOURNE VIC  | 18+

Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

FRI 18 OCT | UC REFECTORY, CANBERRA ACT | 18+

Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

WED 23 OCT | ODEON THEATRE, HOBART TAS | 18+

Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

SAT 26 OCT | ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE THEATRE, ADELAIDE SA | AA

Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

THURS 31 OCT | WAVES, WOLLONGONG NSW | 18+

Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

FRI 1 NOV | ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE, NEWCASTLE NSW | AA

Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

SAT 2 NOV | HORDERN PAVILION, SYDNEY NSW | AA

Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

THURS 7 NOV | THE STAR BROADBEACH, GOLD COAST QLD | 18+

Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

FRI 8 NOV | THE FORTITUDE MUSIC HALL, BRISBANE QLD | 18+

Tickets available from http://www.grinspoon.com.au/

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