Image by Jonathan Vermersch
The Hook mixtape is compiled through a series of music related questions. Each artist who fills it out can answer as many or as few of the questions as they wish, and elaborate on their choices, or let them speak for themselves.
Durand Jones & The Indications
Durand Jones (vocals), Aaron Frazer (drums), Blake Rhein (guitar), Kyle Houpt (bass), Steve Okonski (keys)
The group’s Indications’ Inspirations playlist, born from a shared dropbox of songs, has gained cult status as a source of music discovery.
“It’s telling that this group was formed by music students at Indiana University: there is something slightly scholarly about their immaculate vision of American soul...the arrangements are both fleshed and spaced out, with strings, brass and backing vocals all made quietly sumptuous, and the songwriting reaches classic status.” - The Guardian
The last piece of music you paid for (streaming doesn’t count)
Blake: Aaron found a copy of “Bridge of Love” by The Lost Weekend on 45 while we were on tour. I’d never heard it and when he played it I fell in love. I broke down pretty quick and bought a copy online.
Your favourite place to listen to music
Durand: At a good black church. When all the musicians are good and in sync, there is a true artistry that happens there that’s different from any other music experience I’ve witnessed.
A song which reminds you of your childhood
Aaron: Maria Maria- Carlos Santana. For some reason I just got obsessed with this song when I was 8 years old. Used to make my mom play it over and over again that summer.
Your go-to karaoke song
Durand: Lately it’s been Ode To Billy Joe - Bobbie Gentry
A song you’d rather never hear again
Aaron: September by Earth Wind and Fire. It’s a great song. Super fun. But it’s so burned into my brain that I don’t think I ever need to hear it again.
A song which reminds you of someone you don’t see anymore
Durand: Bing Bing Bam Bam - Gutta Gyrls - reminds me of crazy parties TCut would DJ in my neck of the woods. RIP TCut.
A song which gets you in the mood (for dancing)
Blake: Heat Up - Peven Everett. It has a great Chicago house feel without being too aggressive. It’s very smooth and melodic.
A song which gets you in the mood (for romancing)
Blake: Day Dreaming - Aretha Franklin. I recently rediscovered this one and realised how damn sexy it is.
The soundtrack to your last holiday
Blake: In October I went to the Badlands National Park and listened to Joni Mitchell's Hejira almost the whole time. Perfect music for adventuring.
A song which has changed your mind
Aaron: U Guessed It - OG Maco. My musical upbringing revolved around hip hop from ‘89-’01, so when trap blew up as a subgenre, I felt pretty skeptical about it. But the track is a really interesting example of the form. It’s minimal, but his vocal performance is wild! Super blown out, a little unhinged. It reminded me of how Freddy King wouldn’t always play a virtuosic solo, he might just focus on putting all his power behind a single note. It doesn’t always need to be heady; sometimes it’s enough just to be hype.
A song which makes you cry
Blake: Pale Blue Eyes - Velvet Underground
A song which makes you laugh
Blake: How Can I Get Over A Fox Like You - The Icemen. I love this song, but something about the background vocals always tickles me.
A song which gives you goosebumps
Aaron: My Autumn Done Come- Lee Hazelwood
A song which makes you feel empowered
Durand: Little Ghetto Boy - Donny Hathaway. He wrote that song for boys like me.
An artist you regret never having seen live
Aaron: I missed my chance to see Levon Helm at his Midnight Ramble. I was in college and didn’t have the money, but I probably could’ve sold some records, donated plasma or something. I wouldn’t look at drumming and singing the way I do without him.
An artist you hope to see live soon
Durand: J Cole
A gig you’ll never forget
Blake: Our first time playing the Troubadour in LA. There was so much love in the room that night. We played “Is It Any Wonder” about ¾ of the way through the set and people went crazy. After a few moments everyone mellowed out and suddenly the whole room was singing along. I had never experienced anything like that in my life. I’ll never forget that feeling.
An album you know by heart
Aaron: Nas- Illmatic. I used to drum along to the record on loop, until I knew it inside and out.
A cover which is better than the original
Blake: Give Me Your Love - The Sisters Love, originally by Curtis Mayfield. Curtis’s performance is unmatched, but the Sisters Love version is just an incredible production and straight up monster in a DJ set.
A song you first heard on a film soundtrack
Blake: Bobby Womack - Across 110th Street in the opening credits of Jackie Brown.
A song you love in a foreign language
Aaron: Miriam Makeba - Chove Chuva. It’s a prayer for the rain to stop falling on her loved one. She’s so elegant in every language, but her Portuguese recordings make me swoony.
An instrumental song you love
Aaron: Cristo Redentor - Donald Byrd. It’s the perfect musical embodiment of the statue it’s named after. It’s a spiritual, towering composition that makes me feel hopeful, mournful, and awestruck. Dang!
A song which gets stuck in your head
Durand: Remind Me— Emily King
A recent musical discovery
Blake: James Tillman - I came across his music a few weeks back and have been digging it a lot. It feels modern, but you can tell he has a great understand of soul music and jazz from the 70s. Really inspiring chord changes and use of synths.