Interview with Hinder bassist Mike Rodden

- Jan 14, 2009 at 03:48PM
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One of the most successful rock bands over the last five years has been Oklahoma City’s Hinder. These guys became almost an instant success thanks in large to their debut record Extreme Behaviour and lead single “Get Stoned” in 2005. They’re back again in 2009 with their brand new record Take It To The Limit, just released at the end of 2008. So far this new album has done extremely well largely thanks to the hit single “Use Me.” Now that it’s the New Year, the band is gearing up to head out on possibly their biggest tour yet with none other than Motley Crue. The tour kicks off on February 2nd in San Diego, California and runs right through March, including a date March 11th in Hamilton, Ontario. Recently we got the chance to speak to Hinder’s bass player Mike Rodden about what’s going on with the group.

Hinder is currently on a cross-country, U.S. tour. Even though you’re only about a week and a half into it, how’s it been going so far?
Mike: Oh it’s good man, we got to play a couple of festivals, we did our CD release show in Vegas which was really sweet. All the bands are getting along, it’s going smooth, and the crowds are kick-ass.

Hinder has been a band now for about seven years and in that time you’ve achieved some great success. How do you think the sound and musical style of the band has changed since you started as compared to now?
Mike: I didn’t get in the band until 2004, but I knew the band, I’d played with them, my bands had played with them a couple of times and I got to hear all their stuff. I think it’s just the whole song writing process has changed and you know we’re working more together on all the song writing. On that first independent EP, they all kind of just wrote songs and started playing them. Now we all work more together so there’s more influences that go into the music because we all have kind of different tastes so it’s just kind of matured a lot.

Now the band of course originates out of Oklahoma which isn’t necessarily a huge breeding ground for hard rock bands. What was it like growing up there? Is there a strong music scene there?
Mike: The scene that’s there, there are a lot of great bands. Kind of whenever our bands were going growing up, it was more like kind of pro-indie bands that were the trend. Myself and their band growing up, we were more just straight ahead rock and roll because that’s kind of what we were into so it was a little different for us than for most of the bands there. And there isn’t a lot of people in Oklahoma City that want to go see live bands so if you can get five hundred to a thousand people out to a show you’re doing really really well.

Your brand new sophomore CD Take It To The Limit was just released at the beginning of November. Now that it’s done and out there, how do you personally feel about the album?
Mike: We’re actually really relieved that it’s finally out because we ended recording in May and the label wanted us to wait until November and get a couple of singles out before we actually drop the album so it’s pretty relieving for it to actually be out there. It’s doing really well, it’s number two on ITunes and we haven’t gotten our first week’s sales, actually we should get those tonight and they’re projecting high numbers and you know the response from the crowds now that we’re playing the new stuff has been positive so it’s looking like a good thing, we’re looking forward to seeing how it does and how people react to it.

Is there a particular reason why the label wanted to wait to release the record?
Mike: You know I don’t know, I personally think we could have gotten it out a lot sooner than November 4th. Sometimes they have a theory on what would be best for the album, you always want to pick a good release date when there’s not a lot of competition and you know, AC/DC came out two weeks before ours and there’s a bunch of great bands that have CDs coming out tomorrow so you know, they thought November 4th would be perfect, you know, election day, in the past it’s always been a good day to release albums. I guess in their infinite wisdom, that’s what they thought would be best.

Take It To The Limit is of course the follow up to your hugely successful debut Extreme Behaviour. How do you think the two albums differ? What did you maybe do differently this time around?
Mike: This time we had a lot more time to write the album, it’s kind of been backwards for us because the first album we wrote half of it in the studio when we were recording and this one, we had been on tour for three years and we got to write after we were touring. The experiences we were going through bleed through into this album a lot more because we wrote it about shit that was going on while we were out touring. I think it’s matured one more level up as far as songwriting and sound and influence breeding through, it’s just an overall better album in my opinion.

What was the writing and recording process like for Take It To The Limit? How long did you write and record for and how many songs did you write?
Mike: We ended up recording fifteen songs and we wrote eighteen. The whole process, I mean we wrote some of those songs and we're touring playing them live back in ’06 so we had a bunch written before we actually sat down for writing sessions. Usually the process is Austin and Cody get together and talk about what kind of stuff they want to write about and they come up with a basic idea for a song and then we all get together and you know, I lay down my bass lines and we just fine-tune it and make it into the song that it’s going to be. And then we take it to Brian our producer and he gives us suggestions or guides us in a way he feels like it would make the song better.

For the new album, you chose to work with Brian Howes again who produced your debut and has previously worked with Closure and DDT. Why did you decide to go with Brian again?
Mike: You know it’s kind of a combination of things, if it’s not broken don’t fix it right? I mean because we had such success with the first one and we enjoyed working together and he’s like one of our best friends, the sixth member of the band kind of deal. We really didn’t even think about working with anyone else because it works, our collaboration with him is going well and everything seems to turn out great so we decided to keep him and try it again.

Before forming Hinder, you started playing in cover bands doing versions of songs from bands like The Foo Fighters and Godsmack. Do you consistently include any cover songs in the band’s live set on this tour?
Mike: Yeah we try to throw a cover into our set every tour and you know we change it up every time. We’ve done some Bon Jovi, right now we’re doing “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf, we did “Sharp Dressed Man” at one point. We kind of pick songs that we like and we think will rock the crowd and we try not to do anything too new, we pick something that was a huge song back in the day that rocks out. On the shorter sets if we’re touring as direct support and we only have forty-five minutes, we try to put in as many songs as we can of ours so we don’t really get around to having covers on those sets but like on this tour we’re playing seventy-five minutes so we throw in all our songs and then one cover to just break it up.

How do you guys come up with your set list? Is that mostly Austin’s creation or do you all talk it over and figure out what you want to play?
Mike: Oh we definitely talk it over, that’s usually the longest process of putting a tour together because we want the show to flow for the fans so they don’t get bored on certain parts and go get a beer, we want them to stick with us the whole set. We actually spend a lot of time on the orders and we try and you know, make it like a roller coaster where we’ll start the show off really high energy and you know, a quarter of the way through the set we’ll throw in a ballad and then rock them out again, just try to keep them guessing what’s going to happen next.

We’re actually a Canadian publication; we’re up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. What has your touring experiences been like up in Canada? What is different about it than touring in the US?
Mike: Oh it’s great, we’ve done several cross-Canadian tours and every time the crowds have been great. We’ve been up there once, we toured when it was winter time, I think that’s probably the biggest difference between touring in Canada and touring here. The crowds are always great and you know they rock out just as hard as US crowds. The weather is a little hard to get used to; we’ve been up there... I forget what city it was, it was on the eastern part of Canada, but it was like negative forty degrees and I’ve never been in shit like that ever before in my life. It was kind of weird, the whole climate aspect of the tour but other than that it’s pretty comparable.

Hinder as a band seems to be doing extremely well right now and you’ll continue to be on tour right through until the end of 2008. What does the band have planned for early 2009 and then into summer?
Mike: Well we’ve been talking about possibly doing a Canadian tour to start the year off, we’re not sure if it’s actually set in stone yet, but that could be happening maybe the first couple of weeks of January which the weather part will come into play there. Actually, late January through March, we got a tour that we’re not really suppose to announce yet, but I think some of the songs they’ll be playing, one of them is “Girls, Girls, Girls” and another one is “Wild Side,” not telling you too much, but that’s going to be a very fun, crazy tour. [laughs]

And then I guess it’s too early talk about summer plans yet?
Mike: We want to do, once we get back, I think we might do some overseas stuff after the early tour and then we’re trying to get together another Bad Boys of Rock tour with some kick-ass bands and do that in the summer. It is a little too early to tell but that’s kind of our vision right now as to how the year is going to go.
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