Please take a look at WWW.HOWLSESSIONS.CO.ZA for videos from our Thursday night showcase.

5 Questions with Gil Hockman

1. Give us some background information in 5 key words.

Five key words? like what?

2. Your live set comprises many seemingly unrelated cover versions. How do you decide what to include?

For a start they are all songs that have stuck a chord with me in one way or another. A lot them also have something in them that I am trying to learn or understand – new chords or picking pattern, a particular lyrical idea, some different way of performing. My set is sort of like a squad that’s get rotated depending on how I am feeling or the mood of the show. Some songs work over a long period of time and some I will only play now and then. Some only get a couple runs and then I move on.

3. How does the original version influence your take on the song? Or do you attempt to completely overhaul it?

I try to find the thing in the song that I connect with and start working from there, could be anything from the lyrics to the rhythm. I’m not consciously trying to overhaul them. Its just about trying to find a way to play the songs that feel comfortable for me so that I can give an honest performance.

4. Your album includes some original material too. What subject matter do you cover in your songwriting?

Stuff that has happened to me. Aside from one which is written for a friend of mine and is about her wedding, the rest just come from personal experience.

5. What is next for Gil Hockman?

I played a hundred shows last year so I am taking a couple months away from gigging. The main focus for the year is going to be songwriting. The covers are great and have been an important platform for me to play off over the last couple years but I feel like things need to shift a bit.

Latest tracks by shortstraw

To everyone that bought the Shortstraw album and didn’t appreciate the little optical test we threw in there for you, here is the lyrics sheet in a size you can probably read. Click here.

Gil Hockman is a founder member of the influential South African band The Buckfever Underground. The band’s seminal album, ‘Saves’, was voted by two national South African newspapers as being one of the ten best albums released in the country between 2000 and 2010. In 2008 Gil left the band’s base in Cape Town to return to his hometown of  Johannesburg and in late 2009 he began performing as a solo artist.

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