- “Hootin” is a mashed-up contraction of my last name: Houghton. The nickname first made an appearance during my days with The Party on High Street. My favorite animal is an owl, when our guitarist found this out he started hooting at me while we were on stage. Eventually this morphed into sounding like my last name. From there I couldn’t escape it and decided it was best to just embrace it.
I take inspiration from a lot of different artists. At first the list might seem quite eclectic but it has a theme. What makes a great artist to me is one that I feel is truly expressing an idea, something personal or tangible. There is a lot of music that just picks a catchy phrase and repeats it over and over in hopes of getting it stuck in your head; often there is no greater message to it. Artists that catch my ear are trying to tell me something whether that be with the lyrics, the instrumentation, or both. If I feel like a song is just trying to get my attention I lose interest pretty fast.
Off the top of my head, for amazing lyrics you really can’t beat Laura Marling or Tom Waits.
For pure energy, there is a well known underground funk band from Vancouver called Five Alarm Funk that constantly tours across Canada. Their size varies but usually consists of no less than 6 members, their music is primarily instrumental but is some of the hardest hitting, energetic, danceable music I have ever heard. As a drummer by trade, it’s impossible to not be inspired by them. Unlike most ensembles, Five Alarm Funk sets up their live performance with their drummer front and center. Nobody else does that as far as I know.
There is another Vancouver based artist named Matthew Goode, his raw expression is unbeatable. If you really pay attention to his music, it’s like sitting in on a therapy session. I also find expression in the way you perform extremely important, and for that my first stop is Jordan Rakei. The tone of his voice, the soft diction, it creates so much texture to his music… I find it irresistible.
Here is a little list of others I really enjoy: Tom Misch, Lianne La Havas, Still Woozy, Erik Sumo, FKJ, Half Moon Run, Pinegrove, Mike Snow, Amber Mark, Neil Frances, Rudy Norman.