Pop Crisis is a new project from The Leisure Society’s multi-instrumentalist and producer Christian Hardy, who together with bass player Jon Cox and drummer Sebastian Hankins have recorded 3 EPs, set for release through 2017.
Heavily influenced by the writing of Kurt Vonnegut, Hardy calls on personal experiences from his turbulent Midlands childhood and his litany of failed relationships, turning them into disarmingly honest skewed pop songs. “I write about the things we humans do to each other in the real world because of the alternative worlds in our heads” Hardy explains.
A recent TOTD, the first single, Tell Me I’m Wonderful, is a song about insecurity and hypocrisy and has a video starting Dom Joly
To celebrate the release of their first single Christian answered our twenty questions for us.
Where are you and what’s the weather like?
I’m in Florence and it’s very hot. We flew out to see Radiohead. It was amazing.
What are your favourite books?
I’ve loved Kurt Vonnegut since I was a teenager. As a friend of mine once said, his novels are really all meditations on the one theme, which is ‘be kind to each other, we are all we have.’
What are your favourite TV programmes?
Comedy mainly. I love watching old sitcoms from the 70’s and 80’s, partly for the theme tunes (especially the arrangements of Ronnie Hazlehurst) and partly for their simplicity. There was less sophisticated editing then, so the performers had to give more full performances. ‘The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin’ is a particular favourite.
What was the first record you bought and where did you buy it from?
‘Bad’ by Micheal Jackson. I got it on cassette from Woolworths. I listened to it at least once a day for months and months. I worked out a lot of the chords but I never attempted the dance moves.
What’s the worst song lyric of all time?
‘Slowly walking down the hall, Faster than a cannonball’ is a bit of a contradiction isn’t it?
Vinyl, CD, Download or stream?
They all have their place, but vinyl (predictably) is my favourite way to listen to an album in full. My front room is dominated by two big speakers an amp and a turntable. Downloads aren’t all bad though. I love being able to listen to music and reference mixes on my mobile. I also like how Spotify can lead you from new artist to the next, I just wish there was a better way to ensure everyone got paid fairly.
Who do you consider to be the most overrated musical act of all time?
I know debating and discussing music is one of the things that makes it endlessly fascinating, but I’d rather talk about what I love. I’m interested in the ones who mean it. The ones who write because they have to, not because they’re targeting a demographic.
What’s the best cover version you have ever heard?
Kristin McClement covered a Leisure Society song ‘Give Yourself a Fighting Chance’ when we made a bonus album for Rough Trade. That blew me away, and I ended up producing her album. Grizzly Bear’s cover of ‘He Hit Me’ is pretty special too.
Do you have any pets?
Nope. I’d like a cat but I’m away quite a lot and I’d worry about keeping it fed and cuddled.
What car do you drive?
A silver Porsche. I like cars. There, I said it.
Have you ever been starstruck?
Yes. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of my musical heroes and I’ve always managed to hold it together, but when we bumped into John Cleese in the BBC reception I was utterly flummoxed. I wanted to give him a big hug, but we decided to leave him alone. I think if I ever met Michael Palin that would end me.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you like to be?
I’m always going to make things in one form or another. It calms me down and gives me a sense of purpose. If I wasn’t committed to the musical projects I’m involved in, I suppose I could stretch out creatively and attempt some short stories or even a novel. I’d probably illustrate it too, Vonnegut style.
What’s your poison?
Monkey 47 gin. It’s a revelation. Cotswolds gin comes a very close second.
Tell us a joke?
A reality TV star runs for President and wins.
What are the records that have had most influence upon you as a band?
‘3’ by Portishead.
‘Veckatimest’ by Grizzly Bear.
‘The Soft Bulletin’ by The Flaming Lips.
‘Dear John’ by Loney Dear.
‘After The Goldrush’ by Neil Young.
‘In Rainbows’ by Radiohead.
Everything Vince Clarke touched.
What decade would you most liked to have lived in?
The romantic in me would say the 1920s, living a boozy, creatively rich life in Paris amongst Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Picasso and that crowd.
What is your culinary speciality?
I can mash a mean potato.
What is your least favourite record you have made and why?
That’s a tricky one to answer. Your relationship with your work changes and shifts all the time. I listen to early things I produced and I wince at some of the technical shortcomings, then again they have a rawness that I love. Actually, it’s normally the thing you’ve just made that’s hardest to listen to. Once it’s definitively finished and released I can’t listen to it for at least a year without it feeling weird. Once you have some distance you can listen and go, ‘hey, that’s not bad!’