The Wireless presents the premiere for Hans Pucket’s new EP Jalapeño.
It’s been a solid two years since the release of Hans Pucket’s self-titled EP. The garage pop-rock act, originally from Christchurch but now based in Wellington, have since rounded out their line-up with a third member, and they've also kept busy making a name for themselves amongst the capital’s house party scene. Their latest release Jalapeño may have been a long time coming, but the band - made up of twin bros Oliver and Callum Devlin and drummer Jonathan Nott – haven’t exactly been sitting around.
“Part of what took so long was how hectic the last half of last year was for all of us,” says Oliver. “We organised a tour, Callum and I were finishing our degrees, and I had a few theatre commitments to navigate.
“The other part was, being a self-managed band, it took a long time to figure out how to finish and release the thing … In the end it took a really long time to do the exact same thing we did with the last release, which is chuck it up on Bandcamp and tell as many people as we can that it’s out.”
In the end it took a really long time to do the exact same thing we did with the last release.
The boys laid the EP tracks down over a couple of days at Jonathan’s house last June, and they describe the five songs as being born out of a period of “wintery angst”. The finished product differs from their debut release for a few reasons, says Oliver. For starters, it was the first time they had written and recorded music as a trio, which was a crucial change, and it led them to think about their approach and figure out a sound that works for them as a unit.
“I’ve been listening back to the first EP and like to think my lyric writing has changed but it hasn’t really. Hopefully they’ve improved - bit more specific, less cryptic. The songs are all a bit slower. Also we went nuts on the lo-fi psychedelic/tape-saturated/reverb thing last time. Jalapeño is a lot clearer.”
With Wellington venues like Mighty Mighty and Puppies closing down, Hans Pucket have spent much of their time over the past couple of years playing shows amidst the emerging house party scene in the city, which Eyegum Music Collective have helped to establish. It’s meant that the band were able to perform more than ever and, despite a few challenges, they say that it’s helped them to find a home in the community.
“It is a very different vibe as a performer,” says Oliver. “It’s unpredictable - you have to be able to deal with people being right up in your face, kicking your pedals out of the power supplies, not being able to hear yourself, being able to roll with mistakes or a more rough performance and stay positive.
The fact it’s a house party space with alcohol rather than a regular venue would keep some younger people away.
“The benefits are the thrill of a really excited crowd, and - especially in Eyegum - being part of a community of musicians and artists and friends who give each other a lot of creative energy and encouragement.”
As for where things are venue-wise in Wellington at the moment, Oliver says that there’s some good spaces which seem to be pretty accessible, but he’d like to see an all-ages/alcohol-free venue like Palmerston North’s Great Job!
“Whether that’s possible in Wellington, I don’t know. Eyegum are doing really good things about making house party shows safer spaces, but the fact it’s a house party space with alcohol rather than a regular venue would keep some younger people away.”
Now that Jalapeño is finally out though, the band are working on releasing the EP on cassette tape and also say that they’d love to put together another tour or at least get up to Auckland again soon.
Keep an eye out.
Download Jalapeño via Bandcamp.