This week I had the opportunity to interview Patrik Phalen, one of two members that makes up the band Hosey. The other member, Matt Hughes plays the bass. In what is a very unique blend of hip-hop production and style, mixed with 80s post-punk–it’s easy for me to say that I haven’t heard anything quite like Hosey. Their most recent creative venture, “Goodbye Bikini Island” is available to stream online, with a very reasonable “pay as you wish” price tag. Pop-culture, sub-culture–Hosey truly offers it all.
JESS: It must seem like you guys have been playing together forever. How did you come to develop this artistic partnership?
PATRIK: We met in Hattiesburg at Hawkins Jr High when I accidentally shot Matt with a BB gun after school one day. The pellet lodged in his leg, and when it fell out three days later, we knew then that we had to start a band–if for no other reason than to deliver this message of firearm inspired friendship. Like any good angry teenagers, we started as a screamy guitar band in the vein of post-punk acts like One Last Wish, Husker Du, Mission of Burma, The Minutemen, and the Melvins. Thirteen blurry years later, I’m onstage behind three turntables and a sampler, with Matt rocking out on the “thunder broom” next to me. It all felt like a natural progression to us, so it’s kind of hard to dissect. I guess we were always trying to be different, and in Mississippi, deciding to go turntablist was as far as you could get from the typical.
Originally from Mississippi, how have your musical and environmental surroundings influenced the kind of music you create?
There’s not really a lot going on in Mississippi, and kids from the area who start playing music don’t really have much else to do except practice, so you have the opportunity to really develop your skills—and get a seemingly endless amount of tattoos and piercings. It’s not really a place touring bands make a point of playing, so the “scene” there is mostly left to its own devices, which meant there was an amazing variety of bands doing very interesting things for absolutely no recognition (purity!). You’ve got everything from (yes, I’m about to coin a new genre term) post-post-progressive bands like Malamute, the sample-based and trip-hop leaning T-Bones Records label, the blast-beat grindcore of That Yellow Bastard, thrash-metal from The Horselords, indie-pop from This Orange Four, then the old “legends” like Birdie, Eulogy, Red Velvet Couch, Pure Fire Project, Trifecta, Bobby Invisible, Afroman… the list goes on and on.
Hattiesburg is surprisingly progressive for such a superficially conservative area—SPIN magazine once erroneously dubbed it the next Seattle (HA!) and it’s the self-proclaimed birth place of rock and roll, citing itself as the site of the first recordings in 1936 (“Barbecue Bust” and “Dangerous Woman” by The Mississippi Jook Band). It’s the kind of place where the local pet store is a slightly-dilapidated Antebellum-style house in the middle of a residential neighborhood, the iron works doubles as a bar and venue, and the old Coca-Cola bottling plant is now a dance club and venue. It’s kind of like a much smaller version of Brooklyn, complete with arty kids who take themselves way too seriously and wear scarves in the summer, which is so silly. There’s no need to ever wear a scarf in South MS.
In your recently released album “Goodbye Bikini Island”, you use samples from such unexpected places as Looney Tunes to 30 Rock. What’s your thought process when you’re selecting these?
Oh we have a multitude of processes for selecting those types of vocal samples. Sometimes we have a “story” in mind we’re trying to tell, so I’ll actively hunt for something that expresses a specific idea. It’s neat, because being limited only to what’s already been recorded means that a lot of songs take on new meanings we didn’t intend based on people’s own experiences with the sample source. And it’s cool the way phrases can take on entirely new meanings by removing one word, or cutting a sentence short. “I’m a writer and I drink a lot of coffee…” becomes “I’m a writer. And I drink… a lot.”
Another way we do it is purely improvisational. We’re very annoying people to watch TV or movies with, because we are constantly rewinding to gather samples. Then we just start jamming and randomly selecting snippets until one fits. It’s neat the way a really well-written and acted piece of dialogue has a beautiful internal rhythm. They’re like little songs unto themselves. It’s surprising the way we can sometimes let a sample play unaltered and it just falls into rhythm. Very serendipitous.
The samples from 30Rock were more deliberate, though. I pulled those to try and impress a girl. Didn’t work. =^(
What are some of your biggest musical “heroes” from the past, and how do you guys wish to leave your mark on instrumental hip-hop?
I am definitely a disciple of Kid Koala. I think he is just amazing and has a spirit that seems so joyous and innocent. Everything he touches is gold if you ask me. When he performs live, you can tell that he really appreciates that he gets a chance to make such niche music and still have an audience. His energy is so genuine. When he thanks the audience, you can actually feel his appreciation. It’s not a rote phrase that management has to remind him to say. He’s the only artist that’s ever moved me to tears.
I don’t know that we think much of leaving a mark on anything. We’ve been doing this for so long with no recognition, I think we’re just happy that we get to make music we’re still excited about and people really seem to enjoy and appreciate for it’s originality. I still think of us as the fifteen-year-old punks locked away in the laundry room banging on guitars, so if we’re going to leave a mark, I hope its on punk rock. I mean, here’s a genre where people are still playing broken 3-chord rock and screaming off-key 30 years after the point’s been made. There’s nothing punk about playing punk music anymore. They say you don’t need to know how to play your instrument to play punk? I’ll see them one better: I don’t even need an instrument to make the “punk” music we make.