Indie-punks Hate Club delayed the release of their EP A Clear Mistake in early March after lead singer Noah Bondy’s apartment burned down–shortly before the band was slated to put out the EP and leave for a SXSW-centered run of shows. In fact, the EP’s cover is now a photo of Bondy’s apartment on fire.
The quartet was kind enough to answer questions about the EP, the band’s history and the fire itself over email. Check out the interview below.
Indientry: How did your band meet? Why the name “Hate Club”?
Audrey: Noah and I met on a snowy night at a local coffee shop called Stacks in Albany! There was a group of us and Noah and I got talking about how we wanted to see more women in Albany do music! Noah and I kept in contact and he mentioned that we should start a band/jam sometime. I knew he had a girlfriend so I was pretty sure it wasn’t some bad pick up line, because believe it or not men love to use that one on women musicians. But I also didn’t think he was that serious either until our mutual friend, Alex Brooks, came into the picture and we started writing one day at Noah’s apartment and we all felt like we should do this thing. A few months later we put out our first EP, No, Seriously. We met our current drummer Ian by scouring last minute to find a drummer for our tour to SXSW in 2018. He was crazy enough to agree, we didn’t intend for him to be permanent necessarily (mostly because it’s a difficult commitment and it was hard enough finding a fill-in) but he fit in perfectly and we got a new best friend out of the deal!
Noah: The name Hate Club came from a term I made up about when a group of people devolves into ragging on something together, a group of friends out for a nice lunch can easily become a hate club!
Who are your primary musical influences? What artists or records are you listening to most right now?
Audrey: Built to Spill, Tigers Jaw, Pixies, Dinosaur jr., Adventures, Strange Ranger, and Hop Along, to name a few.
Noah: Personally, I’ve been listening to a ton of Better Oblivion Community Center, Heart Attack Man, and Long Neck.
Ian: I’ve been listening to a lot of Knapsack and Retirement Party (and Audrey already mentioned Adventures which is pretty much what I’m listening to).
What do you think sets you apart from other indie punk bands?
Audrey: I think what sets us apart from other indie bands is that we do everything for fun and try to put out sincere, honest music. We don’t play music as a means for professional gain, Noah and I have no formal education in sound or music theory/engineering, we just try to do our best and have fun. Of course, some sort of success is/would be great because DIY can definitely become an expensive hobby. But I think Noah and I both sort of approach music as underdogs who don’t expect much from anybody, rather this band just a way to express ourselves and prove to ourselves what we are capable of. No shade to artists that do have a goal towards some form of success, I think that’s probably the more sustainable way to go about being in a band. I just think for us it’s more of a means of reconciling with complex emotions and developing friendships along the way.
Can you tell me a little bit about A Clear Mistake?
Our friend and amazing producer Nick “Scoops” Dardaris had some time over the summer and asked if we wanted to come down to the Headroom in Philly and record some songs. At the time we hadn’t written anything new in a while so we set a goal of writing two new songs for that recording session as well as recording a cover of “Deep Inside of You” for the “Third Eye Blind Fucks” compilation. We wrote “Earth Sign” and “Unpredictable” in the studio. We originally had a different name and different artwork for the EP but the person working on all the art was Noah’s housemate so for obvious reasons we had to start over once the house burned down.
What did that production process look like?
We tracked “Earth Sign” and “Unpredictable” live at the Headroom in Philly. “Hot Take” was also tracked live but it was done in Albany at Chateau. Scoops always takes care of us. He’s a brilliant producer and engineer. He has a unique way of getting the best out of bands, we never feel pressured or frustrated. It’s just fun to work with him and I think that shows.
How do you think this EP differs from your past work, if at all?
Noah: I’d say it’s our most collaborative stuff. Everyone’s style is present somewhere on the EP, most of all on “Unpredictable,” which is just pure collaboration between all of us.
Can you explain what happened with Noah’s apartment and the quick turnaround on this EP?
Noah: So as we were gearing up for our SXSW run, my upstairs neighbor (who was also my landlord) drunkenly left a cigarette in an ashtray and went to the store. I’m not really sure how long it was until we noticed the upstairs was on fire but by the time we did, it was a pretty large fire. Our apartment suffered minimal damage compared to our landlords (they lost everything). Fortunately, their dog survived and is doing great! The aftermath was really the tough part for me. It took over two weeks for us to find a new place and during that time I was still working 40 hours a week and sleeping on friends’ couches (for which I’m still so grateful). During this time other members had family emergencies so we decided that it was just going to be too difficult to do the tour. We were rushing to get all of this stuff finished so that we could have tapes and records for the tour and just like that this time limit we set for ourselves went up in smoke, literally.
What’s next for you?
Ian: I would like to say a full-length record! And a tour soon!
Noah: Yeah, we can all agree on that!
Is there anything else about your band that you think is important for readers to know?
Oddly enough we are all vegan and straightedge. That wasn’t planned, it just happened. Watch out for our XVX Hardcore record coming out soon!
Stream A Clear Mistake in full and purchase the EP below: