House of Hats!
“House of Hats revel in complex simplicity…behind vocal pyrotechnics that suggest a younger Crosby, Stills & Nash, there’s a solid songwriting heart and the production by Pete Smith transcends any folk clichés.” —Q
"A Brighton quartet whose often dazzling close harmonies sugar some extremely incisive songs" - Sunday Express
Brighton’s House Of Hats are Alex Gigante (vocals guitars), Al-Anoud Al-Omran a.k.a ‘Noddy’ (vocals, guitar, piano), James Kuszewski (vocals ukulele,), Rob Gigante (bass, percussion, vocals).
Surfing a musical wave out of Brighton are House Of Hats, with their debut album, This Love co-produced by the band and Grammy winning Pete Smith. The most immediately striking thing about This Love is the ensemble singing. With Noddy and Alex alternating in the lead role and James adding a third voice, they create lush and richly layered harmonies.
They are a tight knit bunch and Alex recalls meeting Noddy and James at college, some eight years ago with all of them studying music. They each had their separate musical endeavours going, but became firm friends. Alex then coaxed his brother Rob down to the south coast with the promise of a new bass guitar and a place in his band. Rob duly immersed himself in music making and also the whirlwind social scene centred around a big shared house called The Blatch. James described their lives as like an endless Mad Hatter’s tea party and The Blatch became the House Of Hats.
When the fates conspired in 2012 and all of the various bands they were individually involved with ended, it was actually Rob who joined the dots and realised that rather than all heading off in different solo directions they should work together. They each brought their own songs and ideas to the table as they met up musically for the first time. From that very first encounter the magic flowed and the unexpected harmony of their singing proved the glue. Noddy describes it as an explosion – the big bang that set the House Of Hats in motion.
Armed with nothing more than the inspiration they took from each other The Hats sound started to take its own unique shape. They quickly and collectively realised the merits of putting their sumptuous harmonies to the fore and not burying their gift under layers of music. A shared love of the raw power of acoustic guitar and voice proved the template that had the benefit of unifying their sound, whether recording or playing live.
The reaction to a hastily organised gig confirmed what they were feeling and The Hats turned the creative tap to full juice. A superb set of songs emerged and they busied themselves recording. But when Alex, on his old day job in a mobile phone store, met and befriended Pete Smith, the final jigsaw piece slotted home. By their own admission The Hats benefitted from the combination of experience, passion and energy that Pete Smith introduced in helping them finish what they had started.
They are now at the heart of the buzzing Brighton music scene and The Hats have their own quarterly night called the Harvest Sessions, to showcase local talent, friends and other acts gathered up on the road. They’ve found their place and in doing so found each other, bonding over parties, heart to hearts, highs, lows, food, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan – they are family. Having just returned from touring Europe together with Will And The People and with more gigs scheduled in Holland and America, This Love is already picking up strong reviews and radio support. Q Magazine and Acoustic Magazine have called them the new Crosby, Still and Nash. 2014 could well be the year of the Hats.