Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones

Posted by drew On September - 25 - 20152,936 views

lara hope (1)Lara Hope and the Ark-tones are hell raisin’ hepcats from the Hudson Valley. My lovely wife very wisely brought me to one of their Austin shows this last winter and I was charmed not only by their rock solid mixture of classic rockabilly and roots rock sounds, but their extremely energetic live show. Naturally the next chance I got, I set up an interview!

First off, tell us about yourself and the history of the band?

Lara Hope has played in numerous bands over the years. Lara Hope and the Champtones was her first rockabilly endeavor. After Matt’s band, the Arkhams (an internationally recognized Psychobilly band) backed her up for a summer of shows, the band became Lara Hope and the Ark-tones, as her previous collaborator, Jeff Kadlic, who builds custom Telecaster style guitars under the name “champtone guitars” parted. The one and only “Tiger Piss”, Lara’s punk N Roll band (where she plays bass and sings) is still active after 8+ years.

lara hope (2)When most people think of New York, they think of Manhattan, but the Hudson Valley has an altogether different vibe. What is the music scene like there?

The music scene in the Hudson Valley is awesome. We have just about every genre strongly represented and there is a lot of mutual respect and support. We enjoy the occasional weekender down to NYC, but we always enjoy heading back upstate.

Having been in your area during the winter, I know the winters can be brutal. Any stories about shows during crazy snow storms or the like?

Anyone who’s performed music here in the winter figures out pretty quickly that you can’t win a fight with mother nature. We went on tour this past winter, and after that we’ve decided it needs to be a yearly tradition, because palm trees in January are awesome. Even with that, we had to race an ice storm across Virginia on the way home.

lara hope (4)How would you describe your sound and who are your influences?

I would say we are a new take on an old sound. It’s been described as ‘pan-americana’ which I guess means we use all areas of early rock and roots music as a creative launchpad. Where it goes from there is anyone’s guess, because while we appreciate old music, we don’t want to write songs that have already been written. Bands we get compared to most are Imelda May, Kim Lenz, and Reverend Horton Heat, but our influences are wide and vary among the band members.

What has been your favorite place to tour in?

We have a great home base in the Hudson Valley, but other than that, the Florida Keys, Austin Texas, and New Orleans were really good to us. We also have a lot of friends in Virginia and North Carolina who we love to party with. We are big fans of the south!

Rockabilly has a reputation for being a bit of a boy’s club at times. Being a female fronted band, do you ever feel like that affects people’s reaction towards your music?

I don’t know how it works for other bands, but I think I’ve been lucky in being well received in the community as a female performer. I think it’s important (for everyone) not to take yourself too seriously, and remember to have fun. Keeping this kind of attitude makes it easy to fit in, make friends and gain a good reputation (in addition to our two most important rules: show up & be nice!) The “boys-club” mentality stretches far beyond Rockabilly culture, in my opinion. Look at the lineup for any major or indie label festival, it’s almost always strongly male dominated. I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing, and playing shows with as many other female musicians as I can!

lara hope (3)Favorite song to perform live?

A musician’s favorite song should be the one they are playing!

Anything in closing?

Check out our music video for the single “Whiskey Pick”, which was an official selection in the 2014 Woodstock Film Festival, and stay tuned for our next video which will soon be in the works! In March 2015, Lara was on the cover of UK Rock n Roll Magazine. Our website is where you can see our full tour schedule and order merch.

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