Hootin Discusses Much on Himself and Music!

Alternative expressionist HOOTIN has been doing his thing as a solo artist for quite sometime. Releasing some working's over time, including all new music expected later this year. The guy himself behind HOOTIN discusses all of this all below.

1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

I (Hootin, i.e. Nick Houghton) am a singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from the west coast of Canada. I’ve been in the world of music for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories was as a 6 year old playing Cotton Eyed Joe on the violin in a traveling show. In my teens I took up the drums, playing in every jazz band, orchestra and musical in the B.C. area, eventually enrolling at the local conservatory, where I got to work closely with jazz icons like Paul Horn and Misha Piatigorsky. After University I played with the funk rock band The Party On The High Street, performing constantly all over the world for six years, releasing 5 albums, one of which was recorded at Bear Creek studios with Ryan Hadlock, a Grammy nominee for his work with the Lumineers. While with The Party on High Street we partnered with a pair of actors and helped write a musical titled The Saints of British Rock. 

This is my first venture as a solo artist, after 6 years on the road with TPOHS and the subsequent hiatus from music during which I lived in Los Angeles I’ve returned back to my home in Canada, where in 2021 I released my first full length album “Exit Conditions" and followed it up with a single Wake Up Call in January of 2022 and a second in May of 2022 titled The New Queen.

2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?

“Hootin” is a mashed-up contraction of my last name: Houghton. The nickname first made an appearance during my days with The Party on High Street. My favorite animal is an owl, when our  guitarist found this out he started hooting at me while we were on stage. Eventually this morphed into sounding like my last name. From there I couldn’t escape it and decided it was best to just embrace it.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

I live in Victoria B.C. Between Victoria and the larger neighboring city Vancouver there is a thriving music scene. There is a well known underground funk band from Vancouver called Five Alarm Funk that constantly tours across Canada. Their size varies but usually consists of no less than 6 members, their music is primarily instrumental but is some of the hardest hitting, energetic, danceable music I have ever heard. As a drummer by trade, it's impossible to not be inspired by them. Unlike most ensembles, Five Alarm Funk sets up their live performance with their drummer front and center. His high-energy, bombastic style is what drives the incredible dance parties that every one of their shows turns into. 

I derive a lot of inspiration from them, I build my music from the drums up to try to emulate the rhythmic and energy driven style that Five Alarm Funk produces. Whereas lots of artists usually start with a vocal melody or a chord progression, I (and I think Five Alarm Funk as well) start with a hard hitting rhythm, and then build everything else on top of it.

4. How would you describe your style?

It has taken me quite a while to come to a description of the style of music I create. The best I have come up with so far is “Expressive Alternative”. Being a drummer by trade, rhythm and energy are usually the most important factors in good music for me; lyrics being a close second. I usually begin writing a new song with the drums or percussion to define a feel. From there I take time to think about all of the things that have been going on in my life that tend to otherwise be hard to express verbally; things I’ve been feeling, thinking about but maybe struggling to articulate… I then pick one of these ideas that I think fits the energy of the track I've put together so far. I build the rest of the instrumentation to fit the tone and timbre of the idea I’m trying to express. Finally, I then find lyrics that don’t describe the feeling I’m trying to express… but demonstrate it. I want each of my songs to be about something. A concrete idea that I can name but allows the listener to have their own experience with. For example, the first track of my recent album “Exit Conditions” is titled Wisdom. It is about the exchange that we all make: the time we have left on earth, for the experience we gain. It's a sort of transaction we all make throughout our lives, but affects each of us differently. I want each listener to reflect on their own transactions: how it shaped them. The instrumentation underneath is driving yet jagged, much like the ups and downs of life. 

5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?

While I was still with The Party on High Street I put together my first attempt at defining myself; a self titled album. It was half experimentation, half goofing around with friends. Though I didn’t take it terribly seriously it gave me a lot of confidence to make music on my own for the first time. A few years later I started putting together little recordings in my bedroom studio and releasing them on YouTube and Instagram. I eventually partnered with a now close friend Kevin, the guitarist from a local group called MoodCTRL, who helped me record my first real album I titled Exit Conditions. It is a 12 track album that really solidified my definition of “Expressive Alternative”. From there I’ve released two singles in 2022: Wake Up Call and The New Queen. The second was produced by an incredible producer/engineer in Vancouver named Braeden Ragnos. I really valued Braeden’s work, not just because of his technical prowess but because he treated my music as if it were his own. He had great ideas, added a ton of style and flair that I wouldn’t have otherwise come up with and really turned The New Queen into one of my favorites so far. 

6. Do you have any new music in the works?

Yes! I have a new single titled McLean which will be released later in 2022. This one was inspired by my mother and her home town of McLean Saskatchewan. 

7. How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?

I consider myself a recording artist. I do not have any live performances planned but this may change in the future. 

8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?

For now I intend to continue to release a single about every 3-4 months. I hope to do another full album somewhere in the next few years but for now I’m really enjoying focusing on one track at a time. 

9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

The majority of my music has been distributed to all of the major platforms. You can find it on Spotify, iTunes…etc. I do however have some unreleased music on my website, on YouTube and on my Instagram. I would highly recommend checking those out. I also really enjoy recording videos of my solo jam sessions in my studio. I post these regularly to my Instagram. All of the links to my social media are available on my website: www.hootinmusic.com.

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

How they felt. My objective with all of my music is to invoke the thoughts and feelings I’m experiencing in others. Words so often fail to truly communicate what is going on inside of us; music is much better at this.

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