steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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Hopewell is an outstanding spacey-rockey (but not really space rock) band on the Priapus label.   There's a review of their new album here.  Just some background: they have released two albums so far, "Contact" in 1998, and, more recently, "The Curved Glass."   I had the chance to speak with Jason of the band, and here is the outcome:

indieville: How was Hopewell formed?

Jason: Reno, myself and my brother, Justin, all grew up in the town of Hopewell. This is an hour or so above NYC. It was one part rural, one part suburban. I hated it and wanted to leave. So we started a band. We eventually found Dalia playing buckets on a sidewalk in New Orleans. She found a drum kit and eventually people started referring to us as the band from hopewell. We eventually shortened it to simply 'Hopewell'.

indieville: Was it hard to get started? Did you play in clubs and bars around town or was it different? How did you find Priapus?

Jason: Its hard to say when we started, its hard to know if we have even started now. We played out together for the first time under the name Hopewell in an old bar on the Hudson River called the Hotel Rhinecliff. This was 1993 or something, I was 18 or 19 years old. Upstairs was an actual hotel for transients and the building was at least 150 years old. We would have almost weekly get-togethers there with all our friends.   Music, movies, poetry, etc... The first Harmony Rockets LP was recorded live in that room. Eventually we started making records. I met Troy from Priapus, allegedly, as I have no memory of this meeting, on tour with another band. Next thing I knew there was a 7" out and things went on from there.

indieville: How did you get your inspiration for the type of music you play? Like, what were you exposed to as you were growing up?

Jason: I was a catholic school boy for 12 years and spent a lot of time in a monastery up in Massachusetts.  Before I was born, my father was a trappist monk for 3 years. He took a vow of silence and poverty, etc. Eventually, he left the order and had me. So I spent a few weeks a year with him on return visits listening to the monks chant gregorian in a big stone church on top of a mountain. That and Jesus Christ Superstar and the Beatles were played incessantly when I was a child. My sicilian grandfather used to play weird old 78's from Italy.

indieville: What type of stuff do you listen to? What's in your cd player/tapedeck/turntable right now?

Jason: Right now, Godspell. I listen to the early Stones, the Velvets, Zeppelin, Syd Barret, and Floyd. A lot of British Invasion stuff. Solo Lou Reed, and always Bowie. That's the rock I listen to. I like Beethoven, Berlioz, and Shastakovich, although I can't spell their names. [I also like] Sun Ra, Coltrane, and Miles.

indieville: Have you got any interesting or funny stories to share?

Jason: Life is not funny, it is kind to the wise and cruel to the weak. If you pause for a minute to laugh, a piano will fall on your head.

indieville: How would you describe the type of music you play? Lots of peopleclassify it under various genres, like "space rock" and such, but what do you think best describes it?

Jason: I don't describe it. That is your job, you the writer. In a sense my making the music is an act of trying to describe it.

indieville: What is it like reading reviews of your music? Do you pay attention to what's said about Hopewell or not?

Jason: I do pay attention. I thoroughly enjoy and get involved on the press level of things.

indieville: If you had the chance to have your albums translated into any language for a foreign release, what would it be?

Jason: Sign language.

indieville: What's the question you wish all interviewers ask, that I haven't, and what's your response?

Jason: I wish I was asked more about my inability to leave my house without cleaning it. Sometimes I wish I was asked what is really hiding under all that anger, which after all is the "umbrella emotion".

indieville: What makes you frown? What gets you down?

Jason: Clowns are sad, inside. Once my brother thought he caught a huge fish but it turned out to be a snapping turtle. I felt bad for him and the turtle.

indieville: What's next for Hopewell?

Jason: A third album.

indieville: What's your favorite color?

Jason: Starbuck.

indieville: What other things are you involved with (other than Hopewell)? Are any of the band members part of any side projects? Are there any non-musical things going on in your life?

Jason: I did some music for a film called "Jesus' Son" with our producer Max. We called our group Camphor. Justin is working on his record. Reno makes his own music as well. There are lots of non musical things going on in my life. Too many to list in fact.

indieville: Everyone has a talent. What's yours? (Other than music, for example, can you bend your fingers backwards?)

Jason: I have a talent for thinking I am making social situations unfold smoothly when in fact I am making people more nervous.

indieville: Any final words?

Jason: Viva la Muerte!


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