Exclusive Interview with Chicago's Funkadelic Faves: Hood Smoke 794 words · 4 minute read

Comprised of five veterans of Chicago’s diverse music scene, Hood Smoke grooves funk rock songs that are as hot and sultry as summer in the Windy City. Bassist Bryan Doherty stopped by the Music Dealers office to discuss their newest album, Rough Around The Hedges, which they’re promoting at Chicago’s bar The Hideout this Friday with a CD release party.

Give these bluesy tunes a listen and discover what brands Bryan thinks Hood Smoke might sync best with in our interview below.

1) What was the creative process like for Rough Around the Hedges?
I spent a fair amount of time trying to perfect each song on the album. I wanted to make sure there weren’t any moments of meandering or losing the listener’s attention. I wanted to keep the songs focused. Kind of short and to the point. There are so many ways to compose, and I am a fan of most ways, but this time around the crafted pop song…though not pop at all in modern terms…more like 70’s pop….was my goal.

The lyrical content was abundant to me at the time. I was going through a lot of personal things during the writing of The Hedges’ songs so it was easy for me to write from the heart about such things as moving on, lifting heavy burdens, nightlife, losing friends, trying to keep up the good work, etc., what I consider to be things people can relate to. It’s one of those, hey life happens, kind of things. Sometimes one can make up stories for songs, and those are songs that I love, don’t get me wrong, I’ve written several myself. But this time around I was able to get the “direct from the source” type of narrative which I hope I don’t have to live again!!!!!! but I think it helped to make some good songs.
2) If you were limited to five words, how would you define Hood Smoke’s music?
Mind Heart Booty Songwriting Creative
3) What television show or brand do you think Hood Smoke’s sound fits with?
I am a big fan of the show Louis because Louis C.K. doesn’t adhere to the norm and is able to get across, in a compelling way, the real complexities and awkward moments of life. Something I strive for when writing.

I think any type of hooded sweatshirt brand would suit us. I own a plethora of hoodies myself and with the band name, well, you get the rest. Big fan of the hoodie.

4) Who are the top influences behind your music?
Sly and the Family Stone, The Beatles, Frank Zappa, Radiohead, Grateful Dead…..etc. etc. etc. etc.

Editor’s Note: Bryan named 84 artists to which he credits TOP Musical influences. We took the liberty of including the first 5 from his list.

5) How does being from Chicago affect Hood Smoke’s style?
I think being a successful working musician in Chicago requires versatility. Each band member in Hood Smoke is very versatile.

6) Deep Dish or Thin Crust?
Sorry Chicago, I like thin crust.

7) How is the band promoting Rough Around the Hedges?
We have released a few music videos for the songs “Jade Lights”, “Alluring Bedlamite”, and we just premiered “Anything But The Answer” on May 17th. They are all directed by our good friend Nicholas Flandro. We’re very happy with what we have come up with. We hope you enjoy them as well. And we’re doing some touring this year. Mostly Midwest dates, be sure to check our website to see if we’re coming to a town near you.

8) How many bottles of whiskey were consumed during the making of Rough Around the Hedges?
Bottles of whiskey? I don’t think very much. But cans of Modello? That’s a different story. We definitely like to let loose and have a good time, sometimes maybe too good of a time, but usually when we are working in the studio there is not a ton of intoxication. Sorry to be a buzzkill. Motor skills are important when playing music. Some people can play when they’re all wasted, but I’m not one of them. Now when it comes to writing…..yes, whiskey, plenty of it.

9) If you were deserted on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?
Lighter; Knife; Canteen

…That’s my practical answer

10) Favorite venue to perform at?
The Hideout (Chicago)

Anything else you want to add…
Thank you! Be sure to grab your copy of Rough Around The Hedges, come by The Hideout on May 20 for the release show, and continue to support original music!

Show details:
1354 W Wabansia Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
9:00 pm CST