The Hissyfits Interview

1)Can everyone give me their names, and what instrument that they play. Also, describe to me the current happenings surrounding The Hissyfits. If you could give me a little information about the latest album and the current tour, it would be excellent.

Holly (aka princess): guitar, vox
Sivan: drums
Hallie: bass, vox
Karen: viola, vox

We’re finishing our new album and just finished a two week tour in the UK. We hit Amsterdam, Glasgow, Brighton, Overton and London twice. The sound has developed a lot in the last year with the addition of Sivan, Hallie, and Karen (bringing viola to the mix), and the textures and harmonies are fuller and brighter. It’s about more energy and a bigger sound both live and recorded. The response has been phenomenal and we’ve been constantly touring and playing in and around NYC for the last seven months.

2)How did all of you get together? Were any of you in different bands before joining The Hissyfits, and if so, were they of any note?

Holly picked up Sivan in the meat packing district, Hallie under the Williamsburg bridge and Ren in Hell’s Kitchen. The things you find in the city 😉 Everyone has a different musical background and brings their own hand to the table. Holly founded the Hissyfits, Sivan worked the Orange County scene growing up, Hallie is an actress and musician in the city and Karen played bass for years and now plays in NYC’s Anti-Social Music (a kind of alternative-classical-type thing).

3)I just wanted to say thank you for taking this time to do this interview for NeuFutur and Destruction. I know you all have dealt with ‘zines that are literally thousands of times more popular. I guess my question is how do you feel in the interaction with the large zines/newspapers? I know you all have dealt with such behemoths as CMJ and Flipside, but one wonders if they have treated you like people in a band or just a commodity?

Doing large zines and papers is always good, but there is something honest and more immediate about doing smaller interviews and meeting people on the road who are into the music. The bigger media outlets are important for letting wider audiences get a glimpse into our world but often reserve any real feeling and tend to stereotype or miss the point. Smaller zines like NeuFutur are always better informed about new music and into tapping bands that are trying to do something different and exciting. We love meeting fans and talking to people about the music and really reaching people on a personal level. That’s when things get interesting and you don’t have to worry about pleasing everyone. You just want to make the best music you can that means something to you and you can’t help it spilling out and that’s what people can grab onto.

4)Do each of you have a favourite album in The Hissyfits collection? Most acts will say that the latest album is their favourite, but notable acts such as Weezer have recently went on record, lambasting their latest effort.

I think it’s more on a song-by-song basis rather than an entire album that each girl likes. Everyone likes Letters From Frank (the album out last year on Top Quality Rock and Roll) and some of the older songs but I think our hearts are tied to the new album and the new sound. We’ve worked hard on the new material and everyone is really excited to get it out there because it really is something fresh and exciting.

5)This is sort of a two-part question, but what bands (either current or past) have influenced you the most, and what attributes did each of these bands possess to make you all consider them influential?

Well, everyone’s got a different list of bands they’ve loved and therefore may have unconsciously been influenced by, but what/who do YOU hear in our music?

6)Has there been a sense of alienation among more of the independent scenesters and fans regarding the seemingly sudden rise in popularity of The Hissyfits? One can only remember of such acts as Green Day, Jimmy Eat World, and just wonder about the alienation of loyal fans for those who might see them (or you, for that matter) in the latest teen magazine, Rolling Stone, or the like.

The loyal fans are still right there with us. The NYC scene can be hot and cold in turns considering what’s big here right now (Strokes, etc.) but there is so much going on under the surface here that doesn’t get seen or heard. In the end, we just do what we do and try to make it the best we can. The fans know we aren’t going to try to catch the next big thing and we make the music we care about. Despite any attention we’ve had from high-profile mediums, we are still completely d.i.y. and punk rock at heart.

We think our fans know that. They’ve been super-supportive and we sincerely appreciate it.

7)Before Audiogalaxy was forced to close down, The Hissyfits were number one in the Top Ten Band Pics. How does it feel to be thought of as better, or at least more likeable, than some of the most established bands in the pop-punk genre? I mean, The Donnas and Mr. T Experience come to mind, and it would be hard to believe that those two acts weren’t at least somewhat influential in the formation of The Hissyfit sound.

We were around before we ever even heard of The Donnas. I actually have never heard one of their albums nor have I seen them play live. We just write and play what is in our hearts and I believe that most of our influences affected us at a much earlier stage in our lives than the era that The Donnas or Mr. T exist in. Our love of music for all us started at quite a young age, so it’s more likely that listening to The Who and then New Wave as kids influenced us more than anything that’s going on right now.

Of course we were thrilled to be chosen #1 by Audiogalaxy – we were very flattered and honored considering the list of acclaimed bands we were ranked above!

8)This is a truly trite question, but where do you see The Hissyfits going in about 10 years? During the more than 5 years of existence, The Hissyfits have endured personnel changes, a rise to stardom that can only be dubbed “meteoric”, and seemingly more fans with each passing second, but can all three of these variables be tolerated for much longer?

Bring it on baby. We’re ready for the big time 😉 Of course we’re also prepared for our “where are they now?” VH1 special that is likely sure to follow in about 10 years – ha!

9)With all of the media attention The Hissyfits have been getting from popular media, it seems kind of hard to maintain more then a loose tie to the independent media that could be said to have spawned you. Through the immense touring and other constrictions of time, do any members of the band have time to go through any independent magazines? If so, which magazines do you favour?

We think media attention from the likes of such publications as Seventeen Magazine and photo shoots with Levi’s are pretty amusing (although much appreciated of course). Most avenues through which we can reach the public are always appreciated, but as we mentioned before, we are still just totally d.i.y. and punk rock at heart. We don’t think of ourselves as anything but scrappy, down-to-earth punk-rockers and those are the types of zines we read. We were psyched to be featured in our good friend Kiyoshi’s zine Drunken Master and we’re really excited to have upcoming features in Punk Planet, Muffy, and Kitty Magik. Honestly, we just read things like all the little zines that fans send us and those that we pick up on our tours and around new york.

10)Finally, how do fans contact The Hissyfits? Which cities should be trembling in anticipation at a future Hissyfits concert?

You can order our current album at www.topqualityrockandroll.com and you can stalk us at hissyfits@hotmail.com. You can also send gifts to us at:

The Hissyfits,
P.O. Box 1240,
NY, NY 10009,
USA.

We hope to be in Atlanta and Chicago again soon and hope to do another full U.S. tour in the near future.

We’ll keep everyone posted. Just email us and ask to be added to the mailing list. Thanks James. You rock! Love, Princess, Ren, Hallie Bullitt, and Sivan (www.hissyfits.com)

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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