INTERVIEW! Peter Hooton from The Farm talks about their first new music for years…
Liverpool band The Farm who scored a number one album and several big hits back in the days of baggy have returned. The band who still play a sharp protest pop were the driving force behind the legendary Justice for the 96 tour which highlighted the Hillsborough injustice with song and dance and a welcome return to the stage for Mick Jones.
Since then they have been surprising themselves with great reactions at festivals and have recorded their first new material for decades.
They will be releasing new music for the first time in over two decades through pledgemusic.com – it will be available from February 2nd via :
Louder Than War spoke to their frontman – the ever eloquent Peter Hooton about the band’s new music and return…
What is the pledge for? does pledge rewrite the rules for older bands?
The idea is to release new material for the first time since the mid 1990s. Pledge is a great way for fans to become involved. In many ways it’s returning to the roots of our original DIY releases on Produce. When we set up Produce Records many years ago we had complete artistic control on everything from the actual music to sleeves and t-shirts so we love the punk ethos of pledge. We just thought now was the right time to get new songs out and pledge is a great way of doing it as everyone can get involved and feel part of it.
What’s it like writing new songs? – been a long time coming –
We’ve been writing new songs over the last year or so. Personally, I just had to write songs again to put my thoughts on paper. Like many people, I’m angry at what’s going on in the world so that motivated me to write again and we all thought it was about time we became more active. We’ve been playing festivals for a few years now and we did the Justice Tonight tours in 2011/12 and the Xmas No 1 single ‘He Ain’t Heavy’ to raise awareness for Hillsborough and we kept on getting asked again and again ‘when are we going to hear some new stuff The Farm’ so here it is and we are pleased with the results. Songs that mean something and say something not in a preachy way but more of a ‘listen to this and join us’ – ‘Feel The Love’. We can’t let the haters win because history tells us where that leads!
As a politically awake band do the Farm despair at the modern world –
2016 was certainly a big wakeup call – I think much of the unrest and appeal of reactionary populism is down to the economic crash of 2008. People’s living standards and real wages have dropped and people are looking for scapegoats –they want someone, anyone to blame. However due to years and years of propaganda they don’t look to the real culprits the greed and deregulation that caused the crash, they look for simplistic solutions and there are enough politicians around to fan the flames of hatred and division. For many of these politicians it’s a business opportunity or a career choice but the consequences can be horrendous.
Does political pop make any sense any more? –
Of course it does. Music and art should surely reflect what is happening in our society and the world at large. Everything is political as far as I’m concerned whether it’s the vacuous ephemeral pop of XFactor or The Clash or Cabbage it all has its place. I know the likes of Simon Cowell try to control and sanitise music but we have long memories – the music industry has always attempted to control things but they regularly get caught unawares. You only need to look at punk and the dance music explosion to understand that. Protest music has always been with us and has produced some brilliant songs over the years. I see Strummer and Weller as prophets and songs like ‘White Man In Hammersmith Palais’ and Eton Rifles are protest songs. With Trump’s state visit Strummer’s lyric ‘if Adolf Hitler flew in today they’d send a limousine anyway’ is so accurate all these years later.
Does getting older change the musical perspective of the band? bring wisdom to the proceedings!
Not necessarily – you never stop learning. You learn something new every day of course but the group have always been progressive and open-minded. Many would be surprised what members of The Farm have gone on to do in the arts/film because of our original image and people’s perception of that image but even back in the day we were always trying to talk about issues. We would regularly take bemused journalists to the grave of Robert Tressell (author of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists) in Walton Liverpool – it rarely made the final piece/interview but we were determined to talk and discuss working class history and culture. With what’s going on in this country and the world at large we had to speak out we just hope people like the message. We believe in the power of music – it’s a very powerful weapon!