The Southern Companion is a Country/Americana band based in Hampshire. Consisting of members, Darren (vocals, guitar), Simon (guitar, vocals), Stuart (bass, vocals), Lee (keys) and Olly (drums, vocals) who have a long history of working with some of the most well-known names in the industry, including Tom Jones, Lulu, Lana Del Rey and Rumer. Nominated for 4 British Country Music awards, including UK Album of The Year, these lads are making Country cool again and we are thrilled to be collaborating with them.
We caught up with lead singer, Darren Hodson, who answered everything we want to know!
Do you play any instruments? If so, when and why did you start playing?
I play guitar, my dad played when I was a kid and he bought me my first electric for my 13th birthday.
Were your musical tastes influenced by anyone?
I spent my early years playing all my dad’s old records so I was heavily influenced by his love of British blues and rock, I met my wife when we were still teenagers and her dad turned me onto a lot of the west coast, laurel canyon scene stuff as well.
Who are your favourite musicians?
The list is endless really, I’m a long time Black Crowes fan and Marc Ford was always one of my favourite guitar players, same thing with Mike Campbell from The Heartbreakers, Derek Trucks has pretty much reinvented guitar playing, we could literally talk about musicians I love all day, the main thing for me is my favourite players all seem to be the ones who serve the song an say something relevant with their instrument rather than just blaze away for 16 bars and show off.
What’s the best music festival you’ve performed at?
We’ve just done Maverick Festival last week, that was great.
What’s the best music festival you’ve attended?
I don’t really get chance to go to any as a punter, to be honest I’m much more of a fan of small intimate gigs anyway so I’m more likely to wait and catch the artist I want to see at gig of their own rather than on a massive, multi- band festival kind of thing. Saying that I did enjoy C2C this year, I had the Sunday off and got to see some great UK and US bands there.
What’s been your most embarrassing on stage mishap?
I toured in Europe in 2015 and on the Berlin show I may or may not have enjoyed a little too much of the “rider” and German hospitality before the show, I walked out on stage to a silent room and walked straight into the mic which made a hell of a boom! That was pretty embarrassing.
What advice would you give to beginners in the industry?
Just do it for the right reason’s, it has to be about loving the music you’re making, the odd’s of ever making it work to the point it’ll break even let alone make you any money are pretty shitty these days so it has to be simply for a love of the music.
What songs do you listen to when you need motivation?
I don’t really, I enjoy music as part of pretty much every part of the day, it’s as natural to me as breathing really, It’s just there, I don’t have playlists for this and album’s for that kind of thing, I like to just have on whatever I’m into at that time
What one song do you wish you wrote?
Oh man, again we could talk all day about songs that have floored me the first time I heard them and I’ve thought “why didn’t I think of that”, of the top of my head… there’s a Foy Vance song on his new record called “Unlike any other”, it’s just beautiful.
Which country would you love to tour in?
I’ve just a little tour on the East Coast of the States, I’ve dreamt of playing there my whole life, I’d love to go back and tour it properly over a few months, East to West coast kind of thing.
If you could go back in time to meet anyone from the past, who would it be and why?
I don’t know if I could think of just one person, so many of my musical hero’s are from a time where a lot of them are dead and gone. I guess I’d love to have a beer and a chat with George Harrison, he was always my favourite Beatle, I think he’d be great company after a few beers and would love to hear his stories.
Where do you go to find inspiration?
I don’t really. Songs or at least ideas for songs tend to come when I need them, sometimes they can be very personal and biographical, other times I can get an idea after watching a good movie with characters that interest me,. The main thing I think is to be open to inspiration and recognise when an idea is coming and then make time for it, get in to your “space”, grab a guitar and try and “pull that one down” and make it into something.
What is your song of shame? (or in other words, the song you secretly love but hate people knowing)
I don’t really have one, there’s lot’s of music I’ve loved and still love that has never been “cool”, whatever the hell “cool” is anyway but I really don’t care, if it’s good and I like it I’ll listen to it, play it, talk about it with anyone. I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of connecting with any kind of music, if it does something to you and make’s you feel something then that’s all good man, let your flag fly you know.