It’s a distinction of which they might be unaware themselves, but London-based prog orchestra Chrome Hoof are the first band to play the Sub Club’s new post-Optimo Sunday nighter Hung Up! The suspicion is that they’re exactly the type of group this virgin club night wants to promote: edgy, unique and utterly impossible to categorise.
The club was formed a decade ago by brothers Leo and Milo Smee who hail from very different musical backgrounds, Leo having played (and still playing) in doom-metallers Cathedral, and Milo preferring to make electronic sounds. ‘It’s not true that we were aiming for a combination of metal and dance music, though,’ says Leo. ‘We’re both equally big fans of Kraftwerk, progressive rock, funk, all that sort of thing.’ Expanding first to a trio and now to an orchestra of eight core members and more than 20 regular helpers, Leo puts their decision to wear sinister silver robes partly down to a kind of shyness in the days when they didn’t have a singer and partly down to their love of the same era’s Funkadelic.
The excellent 2007 album Pre-Emptive False Rapture gave the band a degree of hipster cachet for its furious and largely successful mashing of genres, while the subsequent addition of sometime Spektrum singer Lola Olafisoye – headhunted by Leo through mutual friends – has given the group a definitive personality at its head. After a year of piecemeal, DIY recording, the new album Crush Depth is now ready for release, featuring guests including James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco and members of Guapo. ‘We’ve all got day jobs,’ says Leo, ‘because this isn’t the sort of band which will ever make us money. But fortunately we’ve all got real love and dedication for it, which gets us by.’
Hung Up! at the Sub Club, Glasgow, Sun 30 May