Band Spotlight: Hoi-Poi Farplane Wind

Interview by Sarah Williams.

There’s nothing quite like a confusing band name to occasionally make you take notice. We were chuffed that we did with Hoi Poi Farplane Wind as their EP Dread and Vision turns out to be a great slice of gruff, melodic punk, ideal for fans of Iron Chic, Hot Water Music or Sunny Day Real Estate.

Hailing from Thessaloniki, Greece, Hoi-Poi have a fuzzy, nostalgic and geeky take on modern punk that’s instantly appealing. We quizzed the band to learn more, and were entertained to find them recommending Japanese melodic hardcore, offering cures for the Greek music scene and referencing Dragon Ball.

Where on earth did the name Hoi-Poi Farplane Wind originate from? It’s quite an odd choice.

Well, we want to destroy the world with our music, so we Frankensteined items from franchises we loved as kids and teens (hoi-poi capsules from Dragon Ball and Farplane Wind from Final Fantasy) and we ended up with a WMD of a band name that also serves as a handicap against bands with actually cool names – it gets our competitive drive going! We’ve been recently pulling an Uncle Acid and going by just Hoi-Poi for shortness, though.

How would you sum up Hoi-Poi for someone who’s just discovering you?

We’ve been using a new motto lately: “Bad for health – good for nothing”, which we believe sums up the Hoi-Poi experience. To elaborate though: emotive punk/hardcore delivered by the four unluckiest dudes you’ve met. Rarely party, often brooding, constantly memeing, never taking ourselves too seriously. And the shows are demented sweatfests.  

Tell me a bit about how Hoi-Poi came to be – how did you meet?

We started off as a trio of Kostas, Theo and Alex just trying to get away from the drama between the metal bands we played in together and to try something new, in the indie rock direction. That experimentation started off with noisy and grungy renditions of Neutral Milk Hotel songs and Scott Pilgrim Original Soundtrack covers (we even used an electroacoustic guitar through distortion pedals – the whole deal). The first few original tracks were recorded and independently released as our muddy Powerhouse Dynamics EP, during the live show promotion of which, Andrew (friend of Theo’s from uni) showed interest in joining. Eventually he made his way into the band (and our hearts) and we saw our music evolve into something better and increasingly dangerous year after year.

You released an EP, Dread and Vision, earlier this year. How did you pick the title, and how does it fit in with the theme of the release?

The title is a play on the t-shirt motif of the boy in the cover, who is the protagonist of Kiseijuu (aka Parasyte), Shinichi. The shirt originally read DREAM AND VISION. By switching it into Dread and Vision, Kostas wanted to express the two extremes he feels life constantly fluctuates between. Times of excitement and positive creativity are followed by times of despair and disillusionment in a constant circle of self-doubt, leading to the paranoid expectation of the bad in times of good. The title is also a reference to the duality of our music to date: Andrew’s tracks (e.g. Asleep in Sorry and Far Out) being “vision”, with “happier” and more upbeat riffs and melodies, and Kostas’ tracks (e.g. the title track) being “dread”, with darker, murkier and more aggressive sensibilities.

What inspired you most musically when writing for Dread and Vision?

We were delving into more and more emotive hardcore albums and (for the first time in a good while) Kostas and Andrew saw nearly eye-to-eye regarding the songwriting. Most of us got hooked on certain bands such as Iron Chic, Off With Their Heads, et. al., and through this shared exposure and common influence, we managed to create mostly uniform tracks (as opposed to the songwriting in our previous release, Forever Knows Best which proved too diverse) that still manage to represent our signature musical diversity.

Which bands kick-started your interest in music when you were younger?

Our common starting ground (circa elementary-middle school) mainly centers around Iron Maiden, System Of A Down and the absolutely magnificent revelation that is the Need For Speed: Underground 2 Soundtrack. Other than that, each of us took his own path through a ton of music genres we refrain from namedropping. At some point, however, everything culminated in collectively worshipping Neutral Milk Hotel‘s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, immediately followed by Dinosaur Jr and Misfits.

The rest is history.

What band are you most obsessed with at the moment? Recommend a song for me.

Alex contracted Kostas’ obsession with Brand New’s Science Fiction recently – definitely check out the opening track Lit Me Up. Kostas has been non-stop blasting Revolution Summer bands such as Rites of Spring, Moss Icon and One Last Wish. We’d recommended My Better Half by One Last Wish. Andrew’s been continuing to get into all that Japanese melodic hardcore scene, with bands such as And Protector, Country Yard and Castaway – he urges you to check out And Protector’s Twilight. Theo, apart from introducing Kostas to the find of the summer, eastern youth (check out “街の底” – Machi no Soko), he’s been hooked on Gesu no Kiwami Otome and recommends Romansu Ga Ariamaru.

You’re based in Thessaloniki, Greece. What’s the music scene like there?

There’s a lot of passionate bands here, a lot of shows and a fair amount of venues to play in. Only thing is, it’s mostly run-of-the-mill stuff that’s popular. There’s not enough bands that strive for something unique or special, venturing outside the box. Gig-goers basically do the same: the logic is “only go to bands you know guys from, rarely go to a show just to check out new music”. That makes it hard for us to make our fans give other bands a chance.

We’ve managed to make friends with bands in Greece that we believe make interesting music, but if people only come to see the band on the bill they’re already familiar with, it makes for a reluctant and rapidly depleting audience most of the time. All that coupled with our town’s music show DNA, which usually dictates poor gig etiquette towards local bands (e.g. talking loudly in the front rows, sitting for most of the set, being on your phone the entire time), makes it hard to say there is a Thessaloniki scene per se.

What do you like to do when you’re not playing music?

Definitely playing Jak X. Other than that: Andrew skates and studies Nanoscience, Kostas is an art student, he used to play rugby but now he just lifts, Theo makes more music with his solo project, Bonfire Realm and studies Chemistry, and Alex just studies Electrical and Computer Engineering.

What are your ambitions for the band in the future?

Our main ambition at the moment is to stay a band, since studying and military obligations are currently threatening to tear us apart… Other than that, we have potent new material in the works, currently working on demo versions of what we hope will become our next full-length release. This year was our best in terms of touring, recording and making new friends so we hope to extend to that direction in the near future, hopefully with a new album and shows abroad!

You can keep in touch with Hoi-Poi Farplane Wind here:

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