By now anyone who knows me also knows that I have been telling pretty much everyone who gets within five feet of me how AWESOME the debut album from Hey! Hello! is. If you don’t know, read my earlier review. And if you haven’t already done THAT, I simply have to wonder what’s wrong with you. Ginger Wildheart and Victoria Liedtke have crafted something special, the kind of album that people will be playing for years and years with the same enthusiasm as when they first bought it. I was able to have a lovely chat with Victoria just before the album’s release, and I wanted to share it with you guys. Here it is:
Amps: So Victoria, how did you and Ginger first connect musically?
Victoria: It was through mutual musician friends in New York. If The Wildhearts were in town at The Mercury Lounge I’d go down and see them. Ginger and I have a lot in common as far as musical influences and background. We both have a little bit of an odd taste, and I’ve always run around with a fairly diverse musical crowd, more of a hodge-podge than Ginger, so maybe we were destined to cross paths at some point.
Amps: And this project, Hey! Hello! Tell me how it came to fruition.
Victoria: Well, because Ginger is someone that I’ve known through those mutual friends he had asked me to lend my voice for some backing vocals on a solo record he was doing, and we had a really great experience working together and had a great musical rapport and talked about doing our own little musical duo project sometime. So, off the back of the solo album he kind of threw these demos together and they were perfect for us, and we were like, “This is our baby, let’s do it!” It was all pretty quick, no massive planning, which I think has worked in our favor. Everything about Hey! Hello! Really started off as a fun little kind of one-off thing that we would do together for our own musical amusement and it’s really kind of gotten legs, and it’s been great. I don’t wanna say happy accident, but it’s not something that we were building and constructing. It picked up momentum in a very organic way, which we love.
Amps: I describe this to people as “the feel-good boppin-in-your-chair-album of the year!” How do you feel about my classification?
Victoria: Awesome! That makes me wanna give everyone on the block a high five! Wow, thank you very much. Particularly in rock, there are a lot of very serious albums, and rock sometimes becomes this grim thing, and Ginger as a writer is kind of a fun rock guy. He likes the big, fuzzy, heavy guitars, he loves Cheap Trick, and we feel that pop is something to be embraced and loved.
Amps: You MUST tour for this record! Are there any plans along those lines yet?
Victoria: There are no immediate plans to tour because at this juncture we don’t even have a band (laughs)! For technical reasons it won’t happen yet. But Ginger and I, we both love to play live and it’s something we do. I’ve done a lot of touring with his solo band so I’d say we have a great deal more experience performing on stages together than doing anything in the studio, honestly. But it is inevitable, and just a matter of grabbing some musician friends in the UK and getting out there. If and when the opportunity presents itself I don’t think it’s something we’re gonna be able to pass up.
Amps: I just see a room full of people dancing and singing along, so please make that happen!
Victoria: Yeah, plus it’s fun stuff to play live. We’ve gotten to test out a couple of tracks at Ginger’s solo shows earlier in the year, and they’re fun sing-alongs, so yeah, it’ll happen, I’m sure.
Amps: What sort of mindset did we go into the studio with?
Victoria: Well, the writing was by and large in Ginger’s hands. He came up with the demos and sent them to me and I was totally on board and really excited about them. And as far as the recording process, he recorded all the instrumentation in the UK, and then sent these Pro-Tools stems over to me in New York and I went through and added a bunch of harmonies and vocals all over the place. So we kind of had this whole transatlantic recording process, but the writing was pretty much Ginger and then I added my thing to it.
Amps: What else do you listen to? I noticed your twitter bio says, “I probably love Steely Dan more than you do”.
Victoria: (Laughing) yeah, yeah, that says it all with regards to my musical tastes. It’s a looonely club, the club of girls that are massive fans of Steely Dan. I also like YES and Rush, or what I sometimes call “Bored Girlfriend Music” because you can always spot them at the shows, but I love it. I jump around all the time, but when summer rolls around I am constantly in the mood for Tropicalia and actually I’ve been listening to a lot of Os Mutantes lately because they were just in town, and that got me back into that late 60’s-early 70’s psychedelic pop rock mood. Plus it’s all in Portugese, which is such a cool language. Their early stuff is kind of like Syd Barrett, and the 70’s era is kind of like YES. They’re a really fascinating band. And I listen to a lot of Mr. Bungle, I always come back to them.
Amps: Now… you’re from Oklahoma. Are you and the family Sooners or Cowboys fans?
Victoria: Actually, my family is all major Texans through and through, so there’s a lot of “Hook’em Horns” action that happens in my house. My family’s all from Houston, Austin, and Fort Worth. I grew up in Oklahoma City, but my family is TEXAN (drawls for emphasis)!
Amps: Well, thanks so much for chatting with me today, Victoria. It’s been a pleasure. And I can’t wait to see you guys live. Audiences will love it and the world needs to hear it.
Victoria: Me, too. And I’m thrilled that you’re loving the record so much. That’s so great to hear! And the minute we get some U.S. dates I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops, don’t you worry!
As you can see, Victoria Liedtke is a lovely, engaging young woman, and we laughed quite a bit during our conversation. She’s a lot of fun, and it really shows on the album. So go get it. Go!