[Originally posted on UK Arts Directory]
I recently came across a band who are making some very original music. The Manchester band,”Some Kind of Illness”, was formed by two brothers, Mark and Paul Hinks. Their debut album is brilliant and reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd in parts with the melodic sound and the voice-over parts on some of the songs. The album is made up 10 tunes that will take you on a relaxing journey with ambient, chill-out music.
You can get the album on Bandcamp: https://somekindofillness1.bandcamp.com/album/some-kind-of-illness
While you’re on Bandcamp, check out their other music.
After listening to their album, I was keen to interview the band and find out more about them.
Interview with Paul Hinks and Mark Hinks of Some Kind of Illness
Mark: I bought a Fender Telecaster electric guitar back in the ’90s , taught myself some basic chords and tried to play the songs I liked: Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones.
I also had a green Westfield acoustic, I started writing songs and recording them on a really rubbish microphone that we got free with our computer… It was the biggest and slowest computer ever and the quality of the recordings was terrible but the songs were very strong.
I was writing about the town we lived in, about friends that were heroin addicts, and about the girl I loved.
We had this cheeseburger bean bag in our room and I would sit on that drinking wine, writing poems, learning the blues.
Those old songs are still unreleased and sort of got lost in time. It would be great to get them on the new album but we will see.
I also play the harmonica. My Grandad Albert used to play. I never go anywhere without it because you never know with this band.
As well as playing gigs, we play at train stations, in bars, at parties, anywhere.
We went to Portugal last year and played a gig in Cascais. We got caught in a rainstorm in Lisbon and took shelter in a butchers shop, drank port, and played our music to the owners.
We wrote some songs off the new album over there, great holiday.
Paul: I used to play Mark’s guitar when he went to work. We shared a room and he told me not to touch his CDs or guitars when he went out but I ignored him.
I had a friend called Mike Pye who also played really well, very talented… He taught me how to play my favourite Verve tunes.
I wasn’t really interested in music until I heard The Verve. They just changed my life completely. I used to be a decent footballer at school and then I played roller hockey for a team called Wigan Werewolves. We played against some of the best teams in the world in tournaments in England, Wales, Holland, and France. Those trips away gave me the travel bug.
One of the lads from the team, Oliver Maguire, was a big fan of The Verve too. We went traveling together , busking around Europe. When we got home, we recorded some songs that we had wrote when we were away, in a studio in Chorley. We called the EP “Crazy Train”.
Then I moved to Italy to work on a 5-star luxury camp site just outside of Florence in the Tuscan hills; I had lots of time to sit in the sun and write songs and get better on guitar. I fell in love with a girl called Bryony and eventually moved back to Manchester.
We lived in a house in Longsight and had a recording studio/practice room in the basement. It was horrible in there: damp, mouldy, and smelly, but I loved to sit there on my own, get stoned and play keyboard.
I neglected Bryony when she needed me the most, she was homesick and we broke up because I was an idiot but I can’t remember what I was really like back then because I was so smashed all the time.
She moved out but I stayed in Longsight and lived with a load of musicians. My old friend Dave Collins lived there. He had his own record company, Team Hifi Records. Dave was a very important part of my journey into music. He believed in me from the start and pushed me to do it. He also taught me how to record my music and told me what equipment to buy.
A few years later, I met a girl at an open mic night, she was watching me play and I asked her to get up and do a song with me. It turned out that she was a brilliant piano player and songwriter; she wrote some songs for and sang on the latest Durutti Column album.
Me and Mark became friends with Vini Reilly through her and we recorded some demos with him.
Me and the girl had a horrible break up and the only good thing to come out of it was that I had no more nerves or anxiety about playing solo gigs anymore. It was a turning point in my life. It’s hard to look back and think it was meant to be, but if I hadn’t gone through all that heartbreak then maybe we wouldn’t be doing this thing.
What happened since then has been unbelievable really. We have played some of the most iconic venues in the North West and we released our first album.
Sounds like an interesting journey so far! 🙂
How and when did the band form?
Paul: I Think it was 1999. Our friends used to come round for jam night at our house every Friday. At first it was just for a laugh but we came up with some interesting sounds and took from there. Mark was writing some great stuff and I knew it could go somewhere if we wanted it enough. It just didn’t happen straight away.
Mark: I don’t think the other lads wanted it as much as me and Paul and then we went traveling/living away, so the band wasn’t together again for years. I lived in Japan for a while and played some gigs over there. We never stopped playing music wherever we were in the world.
I think we knew we had something even at the very start but just had to wait until our lives settled down and it was the right time and place.
“Some Kind of Illness” is an intriguing title for a band. Who came up with that, and is there a story behind it?
Mark: It was at one of those early jam sessions when we were, should I say, spiritually and mentally enhanced, but our bass player Paul Anders was more enhanced than the rest of us and disappeared for about 30 minutes.
Paul: When he came back, he said he had some kind of illness and said he would have been grateful if he had been struck by lighting to which Mark started laughing and said that’s what we should call the band. It stuck and it kinda grows on you.
Your self-titled debut album is available on Bandcamp. Tell us a bit about the songs on the album, who wrote them, the inspiration behind the songs, etc.
Paul: It’s a very personal thing. I wrote and recorded it all myself, locked away in my bedroom. I was so ill, a heartbroken mess, and I really didn’t think I would ever get over it.
I look back now and wonder how I actually managed to make that album. I am so proud of it though, it flows so well; everything about it is so beautiful.
I can’t remember much about writing it but one of the tracks “Maple Leaf” features our little niece Daisy Davies. She was trying to break into my room while I was recording one day but I couldn’t hear her because I had headphones on. When I finally realised, I let her in and asked her to read a poem over the top of the music I had made that day. I had to keep stopping the track so she wouldn’t run around and make noise but we finally got it recorded and it’s a wonderful piece of music. She’s such a sweetie.
That’s definitely one of the stand-out tracks on the album! She sounds great 🙂
Do you have any favourite songs to play live?
Mark: Our song “Souls” is great to play live I play harmonica on “The Other Side Of Hate” which always goes down well.
Paul: I am really enjoying performing our new song “Seattle”. (feat. Laurenmarie)
It would be great to fly Laurenmarie over from the USA to sing with us at gigs. Me and Mark wrote the song and sent it over to her and she recorded some beautiful backing vocals and cello. It was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life when she sent it back to us and heard what she had done with it. She is amazing, super talented, and gorgeous. She has just released her debut album on Bandcamp; it’s absolutely stunning.
Who were your musical idols when you were growing up?
Mark: I love The Cure, NWA, Public Enemy, Bob Dylan, John Lee Hooker and all the late ’80s early ’90s House music.
Paul: Spiritualized, Massive Attack, Bob Dylan, but most of all Justin Sullivan and Richard Ashcroft.
If you could tour with any other band who would you choose, and why?
Mark: Touring with Nic from the American band Apex would be great fun. We are big fans of his music and you just know it would be a crazy adventure.
Paul: I have always promised Josey Marina that we would tour with her someday and she promised us too. You should check out her EP “Tired Sun”. She has been writing lots of new music in Thailand recently. Brilliant artist.
What have been some of the highlights in your musical journey so far?
Mark: Apart from the gigs, it has been meeting some of my heroes. We are friends with Vini Reilly from The Durutti Column. He is a big fan of our album, which is just crazy to hear. This guy is rated as the best guitarist in the world by John Frusciante, he is a god to some people and there he is, saying nice things about us. He is a very honest man so that means a lot to me.
Seeing our album in the shops is also a very cool thing. We always go in and make sure its at the front of the shelf.
Paul: I remember our first radio show and our first gig at Night and Day Cafe, how happy I was and how proud I felt. Then seeing how many people came to watch us at Club Academy and also the reviews we are getting for the album, it blows my mind.
You have a mini-documentary on Youtube. Who came up with the idea for that and was it fun to make?
Paul: I wish I had filmed everything from the start (of the band) but we had a massive gig supporting The Jackals from Scotland and decided to take the camera with us and I filmed the whole day.
We have some more footage that we’ll release soon. It’s great to watch back and to have captured those memories.
Mark: That was crazy few days. The Jackals and SKOI stayed at my house and had a 3 day party without sleep.
You have lots of videos for your songs on Youtube, who makes those?
Paul: I was in Poland for a gig a few years ago and met a guy called Greg Tomaszewicz. He has his own film company called Lanor Productions. He liked our music and said he would make a video for us but we lost touch after that.
Years later, I bumped into him in Manchester and he once again promised he would do something for us. He flew to Norway at Christmas time and made a beautiful video for our song “My Shadow In The Maze”. That was a very, very special moment. He is a genius that boy.
Mark: Our new video for “The Other Side Of Hate” was made by Jonathon Mcloone.
Are you planning any gigs?
Mark: We have a few big gigs coming up. This year has been pretty incredible so far. We headlined Manchester Club Academy in January, we played at The Ritz , Night and Day Cafe, Academy 3, The Roadhouse, The Zanzibar, and The Cavern in Liverpool. We have also been on lots of radio shows. Our next gig is a live session on the BBC and then our first ever show in London at The Garage.
Are you working on new music?
Paul: We have started work on a new album with help from Laurenmarie. The album will be out in December. I’ve also released an album called “Noise For Insomniacs” under the name of “Night Night Norcenni”. It’s a free download on Bandcamp.
Mark: We have a very special Christmas gig at a very cool venue. We will announce it nearer time. Thank you for your support.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Wishing you continued success! I’m looking forward to hearing the new music 🙂