Let’s set the record straight, just in case you thought this was the new environmental section of DIY: Hooray For Earth are not to be mistaken for tree-hugging, planet-loving do-gooders. “A couple of times people mistook it for an activist group,” recalls Hooray For Earth mainman Noel Heroux, “but people tend to assume it’s gonna be some kind of goofy music.”
Yes, that’s right: Hooray For Earth are a band. Like all good party bands, it all started at a party. “Everyone was drunkenly saying ‘hooray for this’, ‘hooray for that’, and Hooray For Earth came up. We were joking ‘okay, I guess we’re called Hooray For Earth’, and it stuck.”
It’s strange to think it’s held for all these years, and probably to the band’s annoyance; until a few years ago, Hooray For Earth couldn’t be a goofier name if it tried. “Early on in the band we weren’t in a great state and I was feeling pretty miserable. I wasn’t convincing myself with the music I was making.”
It was a dark time in the band’s career, with Noel sleeping in the band’s practice room – and he insists it wasn’t because he was engrossed in his art. “It was purely a necessity. I had no money so I was just staying wherever I could. It was pretty lame.”
After six years, Noel had had enough. He decided to move in with his girlfriend in New York, and the clouds opened up, softening the cynical outlook of Noel’s songwriting. “It was a huge shift for me I needed really badly,” he says. That long-overdue shower must have done him good.
And today, you get the feeling that, were Hooray For Earth in fact a global warming activist group, the UK would be installing solar panels on their mud huts and you’d be reading this issue of DIY on a leaf.
Their album ‘True Loves’ isn’t out yet, they’re not even from the UK, but they’ve achieved what UK bands and PRs around the world would sell a kidney for: Hooray For Earth are on the Radio 1 A-list. But how on Earth did they do it? “I’m just starting to wrap my brain around it,” says Noel. “We don’t have an American equivalent.”
The song in question is ‘No Love’; a rollicking beast that’s one of the most un-pop yet perfect pop songs you’ll hear this year, packed with juddering synth thunder, leaps of falsetto and shoehorned brass blasts. “I made the record in such a generally dilapidated state of affairs; it was recorded on a desktop PC that was bought in 2004. It’s just really interesting to hear my tracks alongside the other music on the station.”
Indeed, it’s odd to think on the way to work of a morning you can put the radio on in the car and hear Hooray For Earth, sandwiched between the likes of Nicki Minaj and Olly Murs on Chris Moyles’ breakfast show – but it sounds totally natural.
‘True Loves’ is a musical safari, the group trawling the globe for unearthed sounds and unexploited resources, bringing home precious spoils and condensing them into three minute ditties for you to whistle whilst doing the washing up. Hooray For Earth are no pop visionaries like Animal Collective, but while they explore pop music’s past, they also peek into its future.
As a result of the iPod shuffle generation, it seems almost anything goes, but the one thing that sets Hooray For Earth far ahead of Ed Sheeran et al is their ability to really put on a show. Needless to say, a virtue of being played regularly on the UK’s biggest radio station is you’re going to shift a fair few tickets, but, as Noel explains, Hooray For Earth have no plans to adapt in order to please their new audience. “I don’t think the way I play or present myself will ever change much. I hope to connect with people and make them think about s**t the same as when playing in a friend’s apartment.”
This isn’t a band scared of going big. It’s evident on album highlights like the title track and the achingly addictive ‘Sails’, Noel has his sights set on the stadiums. Hooray For Earth have come a long way from the practise room with no shower.
But the black cloud over Hooray For Earth is how long it will all last. The attention span of the public is paper-thin, and it’s sad to think Hooray For Earth’s playlisting is to fill the gap in the market left when MGMT ran off with the fairies.
But Noel is one step ahead of the game. “I promise we’ll do our best with it. I’m recording stuff for another record right now - really into moving forward.”
Hooray For Earth might not be up there with MGMT or Animal Collective and their two Brit nominations (although maybe they’ll be up for Best Breakthrough too once they’ve got seven albums of their own), but this is pop music at its very best.
Hooray For Earth’s new album ‘True Loves’ is out now via Memphis Industries. The band will be on tour throughout June.
Taken from the May 2012 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.