We would like to RE-introduce, the 7-piece afro-beat, world, reggae rock, jam-band known as The Hip Abduction. Coming out of St. Petersburg Florida, this talented outfit hit The Pier about a year ago, debuting their song “Hideaway” featuring Anthony B. Now, they’ve made our Artist Radar…
In December of 2013, the band released their third album, a self-titled release that debuted at #5 on the Billboard Reggae Charts as well as #2 on the iTunes Reggae Charts. You can read The Pier’s 4.5 star review of the album by clicking HERE!. As a result, the release was also nominated for Album of the Year in The 2013 Pier Awards. The album was produced by Michael Goldwasser (Matisyahu, Easy Star All Stars, Rebelution, The Green).
If you haven’t listened to The Hip Abduction, you are in for a real treat, as they mix African traditional rhythms using African folk instruments, with blues, pop and reggae. I finally got a chance to see The Hip Abduction at California Roots: Carolina Sessions over the weekend of September 13th and 14th. I was impressed with their musicianship and live sound despite playing in front of am early morning crowd that was wet from the day’s first drops of rain.
The Pier actually got two chances to speak with lead singer David New, both before & after their performance at Cali-Roots Carolina. Grab a FREE MP3 of theirs with the song “Live It Right” inside our MP3 Massive section by clicking HERE and get to know the band below…
Artist Radar: The Hip Abduction
The Pier: First of all – its great to finally meet you!
David: Yeah I appreciate it man, The Pier has been great. Ya know after that first release, you guys helped to really pop it out, and I’m sure aided us to get on the billboard and ratings we initially got. Love talking to you guys.
The Pier: That’s great, and no problem, I’m glad it helped! Can you tell me where, and how the band formed and how this came together.
David: Yeah! Me, I started off kind of a late bloomer. I didn’t write a song until I was about 27 years old. I broke up with a girl, and I just started writing music, and songs started getting better and better, and I got more into music and surrounding myself with better musicians. It became The Hip Abduction around 2010 because that’s when PK, the other songwriter, joined the band. Between 2008 and 2009, I was just kind of a solo project, picking up a bass player and picking up a drummer. By 2010 and 2011, we became a solid core and we knew where we wanted to go. We had kind of the same influences, we were both into West African and South African music. We also loved reggae, indie pop and synth pop. At that point, it really started taking off.
The Pier: As far as the African influences, you can definitely hear something different in your sound. I understand you guys use a kora and something called n’goni?
David: Yeah n’goni. Its smaller and they both come from a pumpkin and look like a harp. The strings go up on a main stick. The one that sounds more like a classical harp is the kora, and the n’goni has a little more raw, different sound. They’re based in the same rhythms and have a lot of rhythm tradition where they’re from, a lot of the West African tradition.
The Pier: How do those tribal sounds feed into what your doing or what you were listening too? Did you travel there?
David: I personally listened to Graceland back in the day, one of Paul Simon’s albums and I was interested in all those artists on that album. And that’s what took me to Africa and picked up those township vibes from South Africa. Then P.K went to college in New Orleans and hung out with a lot of Brazilians and hung out with a lot of West Africans who played those instruments, and I think that’s how it got involved. He’s more on that blues side of Western African, like Ali Farka and that kind of vibe and I was more into the music of the south. I didn’t know much about what he was into and he didn’t know much about what I was into so we fed-off each other! Between 2011 and our last release (2013), that was all we were listening too, and that’s where that came from.
The Pier: That’s pretty cool.
David: Yeah. It’s rare to meet someone who knew some of these artists that I was listening too. Someone who can actually play the shit. And he was a surfer so we became best friends pretty quickly.
The Pier: You guys played Wanee this year, how did that go down?
David: It was great man. You know we really just started touring this year. We released our self-titled album in 2013 and that got a lot of play and has exponentially grown our fan base. Playing Wanee was another step in that direction, it was great. That’s how we got into this scene! No one knows who we are, but when they see us they really like us so we play at the bottom of these festivals. At Wanee we played at noon, but it was epic, we had a huge crowd. We played right before Ziggy, and it was really cool because we do a cover of “Could You Be Loved” and we were worried if we should cover it (laughs). But we went with it and it was great. We actually saw him and he congratulated us and stuff. We played one of his dads song and he was actually like ‘Word up’ which was pretty cool. Wanee opened up a lot of doors because it’s the jam scene, and we kinda don’t know where we are, whether with the reggae guys and the reggae scene, the jam scene or there’s the indie pop, so we’re just kind of floating around and everyone has kinda just embraced it. You know The Pier, you guys have opened up some huge doors for us in the reggae scene. Wanee kinda take us in because we jam a little bit and that opened up a lot of doors too.
The Pier: I guess one of those doors would be Carolina Roots! What are you most excited about for this festival?
David: We’re excited – we’ve only played North Carolina once, and we had tons of people show up and we had never played there before so that felt great. I’ve honestly never seen Rebelution. I’ve seen Matisyahu back in the day but I haven’t seen a lot of those bands and I’m really excited to see them after the show. I know this is going to open up some doors for us too. Southeast North Carolina is a great area for music. In Florida we are kind of stuck down here and takes us like 10 hours to get to Atlanta. So we’re probably gonna be touring a lot more up there and using Atlanta, North Carolina and South Carolina as a hub. Carolina Roots is definitely going to open up a lot of doors so we’re super excited.
The Pier: For 2015 are there any festivals or specific cities you guys are looking to hit?
David: I’m hoping to go further into the country. At this point we’ve really just hit the southeast. We’re touring with Passafire so we’re gonna hit Texas and all the way up to Pennsylvania. We’re playing Penn State, so it’s really going straight up – We’re not really hitting the center of the country. No Lollapalooza’s yet, but we’re working on a new album so I know that will open up some doors.
The Pier: Is there anything you can tell me about the new album?
David: We’re currently looking for a producer. We just finished a three song EP. We’re not gonna release it, it’s more of a demo EP, but we’re seeking producers and record labels because at this point, everything we’ve done we’ve kept in in the family. There just hasn’t been a record label that has offered us something that we couldn’t do ourselves, and we didn’t wanna lose that cut. But we’re getting to the point where I want to branch out because what you’re really getting out of a record label is the distribution and they can connect you with more people. So that’s what we want. We have actually eight new songs since the last album. We plan on going to the studio, still haven’t found a producer and everything yet, but we want to go into the studio in early February and March and have a summer release for 2015. I can tell you we’ve been listening to a lot of West African and a lot of Indie Synth/Alt-rock kind of stuff, which is interesting. I just can’t wait for you guys to hear it. We’ll be playing some new stuff live. We’re actually gonna be playing three new songs at Cali Roots.
The Pier: That’s awesome! Are you guys looking for any features?
David: Well, we actually played in Key West this past weekend and we were talking about that on the way up. We don’t know. It’s still up in the air. We have some songs – we don’t know what’s the core, what’s the vibe, what’s the energy. The next couple months and the next couple songs that we write may determine which direction we go, which will determine what artist. But we’ll definitely have someone. That’s what’s funny about the reggae-rock scene ya know? Everyone always seems to have some feature artist on their record, and I don’t think we’ll ever stop doing that.
[So about a week later, I saw THA perform live and was able to catch up with David and the rest of the band following their set. We talked surfing, touring, new music, and about the bomb ass chicken they had backstage at the festival. But mostly, we talked about their performance at the Carolina Sessions…]
The Pier: Dave, I told you I would ask you, post-Carolina, what you thought about the festival. I know you guys played early on Saturday and it was raining and the crowd was kind of trickling in, but how do you think they reacted to you guys? Any familiar faces, or mainly new ones?
David: Yeah dude we had a blast at the festival. The heat and flood conditions are nothing new to us, being from Florida. It was definitely a smaller crowd, but everyone was stoked to be there considering the afternoon slot, heat, and mud. We saw mostly new faces and a few familiar, which is always nice. Seeing brand new fans singing the words to your songs is a very welcoming feeling when you are playing a new city for the first time.
The Pier: Do you think you guys will continue to play in the reggae festivals and genres as well as the jam-band ones, and the indi-pop scene?
David: We would love to play Cali-Roots again. The organizers, and bands involved, were very professional and all good peeps. One of my favorite things about THA is that we can play the same set at a reggae fest, jam, or indie fest and it works.
For the future of The Hip Abduction, I believe it’s time for them to really bust out of their shell. Lyrically, instrumentally, and attitude wise, they are the real deal. It is only a matter of time before the world recognizes that, not only in reggae-rock, but in the jam-band, and indie scenes as well. So be sure to listen and learn from these guys, and be on the lookout for new music in 2015!
THA Self-Titled Album Review
Article By: Andrew McClatchy
Watch: The Hip Abduction – “Live It Right”