Hilltop Hoods – High Expectations

Hilltop Hoods – High Expectations

She has been a sweet summer of amazing concerts and festivals. One of the most anticipated was arguably Eminem’s ‘Rapture’ tour. For some, I personally know they attended the concert in Wellington for one reason and one reason only. To hear the badass tunes of Australia’s Hilltop Hoods.


I caught up with the guys in their hotel on the morning of the concert to see how everything has been going for them. For one, it was a morning that could have gone down well with some greasy bacon and eggs. If only they knew what I had in store for them.

KJ Panui: “So guys, before we start, first thing is first…are you guys quality or quantity beer drinkers?”

All three: “Definitely quality!”

Just as well as I only brought Panhead supercharged, a great NZ craft been from Lower Hutt, to drink with the boys – when in Wellington, right?! This becomes a segue into hearing about one of the band member’s interesting walk the night before along Wellington’s stunning waterfront. From that story I know the boys are super stoked I brought in a six pack of Supercharged Panheads to help wash those hangovers away.

KJ Panui: What has it been like on tour? It must be pretty cool to have Eminem hang out with you guys

Matt: We have had a ball, and tonight is our last show.

Dan: It’s just so nice to just rock up and perform. And we will fire up, don’t you worry.

The boys are stoked to be on tour with Eminem. They say there is no amazing story as to how it happened. Not that having 8 albums, over half a billion streams, 9 Arias, and many other accolades is amazing.

The guys have just released their new album ‘The Great Expanse’.

KJ PANUI: How has the release been? Did it take long to create?

Dan: Only two years. Only two years of slaving away. It’s hard to put a timeframe on it really. But there is no break from the circus that is in my mind.

That’s deep. And kind of explains some of the craziness that makes those true influencers of music.

We basically go; album release, tour for a while then straight back into the studio.

The creation of an album can happen from the time the tour of the last album wraps up, to during the creation of a current album. In fact, since releasing their album this year, the boys have already began to look at some ideas for their next project.

KJ Panui: If you could collaborate with any artist dead or alive who would it be?

All three hardly need to think and come up with the same fine artist. Biggie. It shows how in sync these guys are, as well as gives some explanation to some of the sound they create.

KJ Panui: And the ultimate venue with Biggie?

Matt: Wellington. (definitely no influence there)

A bit of info for those new to Hilltop Hoods. They comprise of three great musicians; Suffer, Pressure and DJ…. From the city of Adelaide, these Australians have been on the music scene for over twenty years.

Their albums consist with a specific artwork. A faceless figure is on the cover of all their albums, including their recent. As hardcore Iron Maiden fans, they influenced the idea of ‘Armagadeon’ and he became somewhat of a goodluck charm for the band.

It is kinda like a comic strip with the designs and the titles, each albums pieces together.

The title ‘The Great Expanse’ came from so many songs that 13 tracks we weren’t sure how they fit together until we put them into a playlist with every song telling its own story. The name makes on song fit all.

The HTH boys enjoy to mix it up and collaborate with different artists. If you look at some of the very talented artists these guys have worked with; Nyssa, Timberwolf and Sia are just to name a few. I want to know how to get into these kinds of circles.

KJ Panui: You guys have collaborated with a lot of artists…do you guys mainly find them or how does it work?

Dan: Most of them came from us knowing the people, having some sort of relationship with the people, being organic. But we did have one or two fresh faces on the scene.

Ecca Vandel is one of those fresh faces, with her smokey voice that reminds me of New Zealand’s Gin Wigmore in a way.

Dan: She came down to the studio and played us some beats. The beats were so good that it ended up being two songs; “Be Yourself” and “Exit Sign”. We gave her a call when she moved back to London to come do some more vocals and we flew over to the studio, even though she was mid-Incubus tour as a supporting act.

You know when you can call someone to leave Incubus to do some vocals for a record, that you have some power.

What’s next for HTH? Groove in the Mood in May. It’s Australia’s biggest touring festival. That and working in the studio towards their next album – the wicked never sleep!

I finish the interview with a kiwiana feel and introduce HTH to ‘the Vortex’. If you don’t know what that is it’s spinning your beer to create a tornado effect and sculling it back. Check it out. It’s the next best thing since ‘the Floss’. When you’re talking to a girl who is Taranaki Hardout you have to be ready. The guys are impressed with New Zealand’s creative ways in drinking and Dan is the only one who isn’t won’t let his hangover get in the way. Tūmeke boys!

A definition of rapture is ‘a feeling of intense pleasure or joy’. These guys bring that feeling to not only the true fans, but to anyone who hears their music for the first time. The first time I heard “1955” I knew it would be a solid jam. Perhaps it is because “1955” is about being from a small town (not that you can call Adelaide small) and the feels you get when you get out into the big smoke.

These guys are wicked, if you ever have the opportunity to see them, do. They owned the stage and build the crowd up for Eminem like no one’s business. I felt like they were definitely singing some of the songs to me. I cannot wait to talk smack, see them crack it live and have a vortex with the boys again. Chur!

HILLTOP HOODS have today announced the ‘THE GREAT EXPANSE WORLD TOUR’ 2019, which will see the band play in 14 countries across the globe. The New Zealand leg has HILLTOP HOODS returning to play four headline shows this July.

Having supported Eminem at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium at a New Zealand record-breaking concert in March, Hilltop Hoods will return for shows in Auckland, Wellington, Queensland and Christchurch.
Presale tickets for the New Zealand leg of ‘The Great Expanse World Tour’ will be available via Spark from 10am Wednesday 15 May, before the general public on sale at 10am Friday 17 May from Ticketek.

The 2019 tour will celebrate the release of Hilltop Hoods eighth studio album ‘THE GREAT EXPANSE’, which broke yet another milestone in their home country of Australia debuting #1 on the ARIA Album chart. This brings the band’s total #1 Albums to an incredible 6, which is an ARIA record for the most #1 albums by an Australian band. The record also became the fifth consecutive album by the trio to debut #1 on the ARIA Album Chart and delivered a string of hits including ‘Clark Griswold’ Feat. Adrian Eagle, ‘Leave Me Lonely’ and the latest single ‘Exit Sign’, featuring Ecca Vandal, which also boasts a guest appearance from the Hoods close friend and ally, Illy.
Fresh from the stages of ‘Groovin The Moo’ in Australia where the band road tested the new album alongside classic Hilltop Hoods, fans were treated to a blistering high-energy-leave-no-prisoners performance that saw the band cement their place even further in our psyche as one of Australia’s most loved live acts. Expect all that and more with the 2019 world tour where crowds will be swept up in a set of fan favourites in what promises to be, yet another stand out Hilltop Hoods live experience.
Joining Hilltop Hoods for the New Zealand dates is the well regarded and respected DJ, Jordan Lee.
Wednesday 24 July – THE STUDIO, Auckland

Thursday 25 July – SAN FRAN, Wellington
Friday 26 July – CORONET PEAK NIGHT SKI, Queenstown 
Saturday 27 July – THE FOUNDRY, Christchurch
www.ticketek.co.nz and www.eventbrite.co.nz

Don’t miss Hilltop Hoods on the New Zealand leg of ‘THE GREAT EXPANSE WORLD TOUR’ this July. 
HILLTOP HOODS – THE GREAT EXPANSE – album out now and available Here

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