INTERVIEW: Hozomeen | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Multi-instrumentalist Graham Thompson prepares to release his latest solo project under the moniker of Hozomeen this month. Having been a fixture on the region’s music scene for over 25 years, and known for his work with hardcore trio Ballpeen as well as a slew of other bands including Grace, Gullich and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaind, his new album The Void is a heavy and experimental slab of sound.

Compared to the rest of his discography, The Void leans more into noise rock than hard rock, as Thompson cleverly experiments and pushes the limitations of the genre, while playing every instrument and building on the lessons he learnt from his previous work. “I knew I could do an album by myself.” He says. “It’s challenging and very time consuming, but I really like the whole process, and I like that I can be in charge of it all.”

Although he does admit that working on a project by yourself can become daunting. “Having played music for so many years, I had a good idea of how to approach this album and achieve the sounds I was looking for; knowing the right guitars to use, which songs I’d like the drums to have more room than others, where to mix the instruments…I’m pleased with how it all sits together and that I had this blank canvas to try new things.” 

It was a conscious effort to include feedback as I wanted certain parts of songs to be a bit jarring or uncomfortable

The Void is fantastically engaging listen; the listener is overwhelmed with blunt and aggressive instrumentation, with drumbeats that could invigorate anyone to battle and riffs that will tear through your speakers, on top of more alternative instrumentation woven throughout.  

An example of this is the use of guitar feedback throughout the LP, most notable on Call The Hogs. “It was a conscious effort to include feedback as I wanted certain parts of songs, or whole songs, to be a bit jarring or uncomfortable. I used different guitars with different pick ups to achieve different types of feedback, I have one guitar in particular that is really cheap and as a result the cheap pickups squeal quite nicely.” 

Thompson is most proud of this effect on Manifestation in Grief: “It ended up sounding like a synthesiser, but it’s actually a series of single notes on the guitar feeding back to make it sustain that I then fashioned into chords when mixing. To me the feedback doesn’t sound like guitars at all and I’m really pleased with how it came out, the song almost sounds a bit John Carpenter-esque and I had no idea how it would sound until it was finished.” 

Thompson found the biggest challenge he faced in producing the album himself related to lyricism. “I have a notebook where I jot down ideas, but the well is fairly dry. With this album there were songs I felt needed vocals. For One Kilohertz I had an idea of where to place the vocals, how I wanted them to sound and had a few lines of lyrics, but that was it. So, when it came time to do the vocals, I literally had to pull something together on the spot. I usually work better when I’m under the pressure of time and it’s a good example of this.” 

Hozomeen releases The Void via SuperFi Records on 5th May.

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