Music Q&A:
Hooton Tennis Club

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The Wirral-based indie four-piece tell Big Issue North how their local sports centre inspired their name and why they’ve been making asteroids out of tin foil.

Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences.
At the moment we’re all currently listening to a helluva lot of Americana country rock in the van. Bands like Flying Burrito Brothers, Gene Clark (solo), JJ Cale and Lee Hazelwood are all godlike heroes of ours so we look to them for influence. It’s hard when your four twenty-something indie boys from the Rossmore.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?

The more you play and record music, the more it becomes your life. It’s like stepping of out bed in the morning – it’s just an automatic thing we now do. It’s positive, it means we’re making small incremental steps towards achieving something we all want to achieve.

Were there any alternative band names before you arrived at this one?
Before naming ourselves Hooton Tennis Club, we pulled random words out of a book. The first word was “French”, second “Rebecca”. Disappointed with these we then ordered a Chinese takeaway and with this came a fortune cookie that read “go to your local sports centre”.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We’re on tour at the minute so artistic license is restricted to 50 mins a night for the next five weeks. However, Ryan and James built six large asteroids recently at the Invisible Wind Factory (which coincidentally we’re playing on 9 December). The asteroids were covered in foil and part of a laser lights installation. Perhaps they’ll appear when we play Lazers Linda at our show there…

How do you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry?

Making good music and enjoying what we’re doing is important for us. There are no rules for what works and what will make you stand out.

What’s on your rider?

We have a minimal rider. It reads “some dips and something to dip into the dips”. We feel we’ve made it if there’s a few tinnies to drink too.

Tell us about your worst live show.
We recently played at the Stereo in Glasgow. We had a band meeting about “going pro” and getting things just right onstage. In the first verse of the first song all of Callum’s pedals came unplugged, which kept happening throughout the whole set. Then, during the third song, Ryan left the stage with vertigo, which left Callum and James telling jokes at the mic. Ryan then rejoined the band, this time sitting down on a chair struggling through the songs. James’s guitar strings snapped and then the set ended with Ryan getting his pulse taken by a doctor in the audience.

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Hooton Tennis Club

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