Photography by Holly Whittaker

George Ward
George Ward

Freelance journalist based in Bristol. Can be found at the Grain Barge, Rough Trade or in his tiny basement bedroom writing for CLUNK.

We had a chat with Bristol post-punk newcomers Hypothetics ahead of the launch of their debut EP at Dareshack

Bristol isn’t exactly lacking in punk music at the moment. Every night you can find countless up and coming projects, many very excitingly pushing the genre to its limits. Ahead of the launch show of their brand new EP, ‘GETS LET DOWN!’, I had a chat with Hypothetics about just what makes them stand out amongst the rest.

The first thing that struck me about Hypothetics was how clear their vision was. For a young band whose EP is packed to the brim with conflicting genres, sounds and moods, the last thing I was expecting was for them all to be on the same page – and a very well thought out page at that.

Perhaps the band growing up together in Gloucestershire explains their connection. “Our parents were family friends,” drummer Jim tells me, “three of us come from Gloucestershire and us three were the only kids who played instruments and had the same interests in that area.”

Vocalist George adds, “It worked really well, us working together. So when we had the opportunity to come to Bristol playing gigs, it sort of stuck. We decided to stick at it and give it a lot of time and effort.”

But don’t be mistaken; Hypothetics do not want to be known only as a ‘Bristol band’. Despite their love of Bristol and their respect for its venues and their place in building the band, George makes it clear that they “don’t want to be stuck on that circuit forever”. Drummer Jim adds: “There’s a lot of opportunities in Bristol but I wouldn’t say it’s a scene we’re trying to fit into.”

However, the band don’t ignore Bristol’s role in shaping them. The Louisiana is mentioned a lot, with the band praising their sound and care towards bands: “Anybody who plays there, whether they’re young or haven’t quite got their shit together yet, if they hear it and they like it, they’ll give you another chance. That’s what allowed us to grow.”

Instead of Bristol shaping the EP, the band seem to view it in entirely the opposite way. George explains, “I think we were subconsciously making a point of not being a ‘Bristol band’. Anything that started to sound reminiscent of a genre that isn’t our specialty, we would emphasise.”

“If something sounded funky, we would push it, if something was spacier, we thought “how far can we take this with what we know about songwriting/recording”.

Their focus instead shifted to fantasy, imagining themselves in the Wild West or the film Easy Rider. Ultimately, this influence of cinema and showbiz is the reason the EP sounds so fresh and the band sounds so confident on stage.

As George explains, “I think it’s definitely an attitude thing, especially when you’re talking about real vivid artists like James Brown, Miles Davis, Betty Davis. For me as a vocalist, those were huge points of realising it’s not necessarily all in the lyrics, but in the attitude and gruntiness of it too.”

Jim adds, “A lot of that music and a lot of those films are built on ego.” The band even go as far to say that when they are performing, they “fully commit to being somebody else”, giving them a unique opportunity to perform in whatever way feels liberating, entertaining and, above all else, right.

When asked about how the EP will translate from the studio to the stage, the band hilariously told me that the already brief 15 minute runtime of the project had been whittled down even further, taking up roughly 7 minutes in their EP launch show.

It’s clear that the band are already desperate to make new music. As well as the majority of their gig being unreleased material, they are looking forward to returning to Scotland after previous gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as hitting up Europe to spread their sound. As far as Bristol goes, they’re not quite ready to leave just yet, with the Trinity Centre being a goal: “There’s loads of great stuff that comes through there, you’d feel like you’ve reached a good point once you play there.”

Hypothetics are not overconfident or unrealistic; they just love making music and love pushing their experimentation as far as it can go, while still being playable. “If I was to interview you in one year, where would you want the band to be?” I ask them. After a little nervous laughter, the boys answer: “We are working on some new music and we’re making sure we take a lot of care with it, so hopefully by then we’ll have something to show for it which we’re very excited about. I’m sure we will have moved on to some new obsession which we’ll be working on.”

This obsession to move forward and never get stuck in a sound is what propels Hypothetics. I ask them if they plan to have shaken up their sound by then. “Always.” they respond.

Read our review of their gig at Dareshack here.

Listen to the debut EP ‘GETS LET DOWN!’ here: