Beauty is balancing a boiled egg on a spoon. Do it as well as you possibly can.
Like a character talking calmly to the camera in the midst of a riotous crowd scene, Hooton Tennis Club combine laid-back slacker-like melodies with torrents of inventive sound.
We caught up with lead singer, James Madden to discuss the journey so far, his sources of inspiration and maintaining a sense of balance.
Hello James, what are you working on at the moment?
I’m trying to order my life a bit now as I seem to have some free time. I spend hours lost to the escapist properties of music and reading. Being driven to make music is the best feeling and a lot of fun. I’ve been writing and recording songs with my pal Ryan in his bedroom with the intention of compiling a LP in the near future. Oh, I recently lost my job too so I’m working on my employability!
What has been your biggest life challenge and what did you do to overcome it?
Developing a fear of flying sometime last year. To combat this fear, I now have to listen to the soothing melodies of Angel Olson’s track My Woman during take-off and landing and pop a few Kalms each time I fly.
What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?
Well, for me, a healthy balance of things I enjoy doing and don’t enjoy doing. ‘Beauty is balance’ as Constantin Brancusi once said, so achieving a balance in my life is a perfect goal.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
I remember many moons ago, my good painter friend Adam and I were having a few quite sundowners in some park in Manchester and he explained to me that most people don’t ever find anything what they really want to do in a lifetime. So I guess I’m grateful for finding things I’m really interested in and grateful that I can attempt to make music and art.
Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”
Maintaining healthy relationships with people.
What do you eat to stay healthy?
Thai curry. It’s great for my soul and it’s the meal everyone gets when they come over to our flat for dinner.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new ability to aid your health what would it be?
Perhaps a bit strong; but destroying Silicon Valley before it destroys us completely would be good.
Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?
I know it’s a tame form of exercise, but I walk a lot every day. It really does wonders for my mind. I regularly go to Princes Park near my flat to see a host of goodies. Is listening to Marc Maron podcasts exercise? I really wish it was. I recently wrote a song ‘Mind Miles’ about the routine.
Here at The Mind Map, we remember playing football and ‘tag’, running around the playground every day and loving it – can you share a similar memory?
I would climb the ‘The Monkey Tree’ with my ole’ mate Callum McFadden after primary school. It was a stretch of tree’s in Sycamore Park close to where we grew up. We sort of carved a line of trees into one long tunnel. Eventually, you could climb across the tree’s for something like 100 metres, like The Chronicles of Narnia. Then the street lamps came on and it would be time for home and a bath for school the next day.
Do you think the egg and spoon race should be an Olympic sport as well as running for a bus?
I’d love to watch Pro’ bus-runners chase the 80A up Prinny Ave’ whilst balancing a boiled egg on a spoon. Why don’t we invent more sports?
Who was your best friend at school? What was the funniest thing they did?
That would be Callum McFadden. Once, we both got stuck in a section of the ‘Monkey Tree’ as our friend Joe Phelin couldn’t make it to the end. We didn’t make it home for our baths that night.
Pumps or trainers for PE?
Pumps were compulsory.
Name your top five best vegetables.
Broccoli, Cauliflower, Leeks, Parsnips, Beetroot (best)
Name your top five best fruits.
Mango (best), Pineapple, Orange, Grapes, Watermelon
What three songs lift your spirits?
What is your favourite self-help book or motivational quote?
Kurt Vonnegut is a constant inspiration. Only he could get away with this quote:
“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practising an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?
People are often scared to talk about things so I guess reinforcing the idea of talking with people you trust about your feelings. I’d also advise taking each day as it comes, and in those days try finding things you like doing and attempt in doing that as much as you can. “We are here on earth to fart around, don’t let anybody tell you different.” Another Vonnegut there for you.