Kate Hinote from Ether Aura

Kate Hinote from Ether Aura

by Jason

Hello.  Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us who does what in the band?  How did you form?  Are there any interesting stories or details you leave out of your bio on the webpage about forming the band?

Hi.  I’m Kate Hinote and I’m the vocalist for Ether Aura.  I also write melodies and lyrics as well as play the tambourine at our live shows.  It’s taken me some time, but I’ve developed some mad tam skills.  Seriously, it’s not as easy as it looks!

Tony Hamera writes, records and produces all of the music and plays lead guitar.  He also happens to be my husband.

Bret Haupt plays bass and wrote melody and lyrics on two of the tracks on “Crash,” as well as co-wrote a few songs with me.  He basically formulated the initial sound of the vocals, I’d say.

William King is our kick ass drummer who keeps the mad beats.

Alex Bongiorno is the latest addition to the band and provides the rhythm guitar.

The story of our formation is pretty much exactly what it says on our Bio.  Tony and William have been playing in bands together since their teens, starting with a metal band called “Fatal” and most recently (prior to EA) deathgirl.com.  Bret is the founder and front man of the electronica/industrial band SweatySuedeLips and these boys have all known each other for several years from being in the Detroit “scene” together. When Tony decided that he and I were going to do a project together, William happened to be available and not long after, Bret agreed to play bass for us and help with some songwriting.  It basically just started as friends getting together and playing a few songs and bullshitting, but as more songs were written and more live shows were played, we got a bit more serious about it and then, all of sudden, we had enough songs for an album.

Alex played guitar in another band of Tony’s, the industrial/electro Firewerk, and agreed to join us back in June, I believe, and he’s been a great addition.

One interesting story/detail that’s not in our bio is that Tony and William were in a deathmetal project called “Lords of Algol” when I first started dating Tony, and I sang some back up vocals on the CD that they released and played keys and sang/spoke a teeny bit for their one live show.  It was pretty crazy.

How does your band write music together?  What are the dynamics like when composing a song?  Kate, do you write your own lyrics and, if you do, what inspires their content?

Well, basically, Tony writes an entire song and records it with all the elements.  He then gives it to me to write the vocals over.

Like I said, on “Crash”, Bret contributed a great deal to the writing of the vocals, and helped formulate our sound early on.  To me, it’s pretty clear though where Bret and I differ in our writing styles.  He’s been doing it for years, and prior to this band, I had never done any songwriting.  I think it shows, whereas I’m far more literal and Bret is definitely more metaphorical.  It ended up being a nice balance when we wrote together though and I think those songs ended up being the most interesting and musically sound on our album.

This time around, for our second album I mean, I’m trying to go solo on the writing, so we’ll see how it turns out.

As for the content, I think most songs you hear anywhere, from any band, are about relationships in one way or another, and mine are no different.  For me, all life is is a series of relationships, some are brief, some are powerful, some are trivial, some are meaningful, some rip your guts out…  what else is there to write about?

What artists influence your work?  Are there any authors or painters that inspire your music as well?

I can’t speak for the whole band on this, but I think it’s safe to say that we’ve been influenced by a great many artists, ranging from Patsy Cline and Etta James to N.I.N. and The Cure and people wouldn’t be out of line if they compared us to Curve or Garbage or even The Jesus and Mary Chain.

I, personally, worship Shirley Manson and Toni Halliday, and I love Sonya Aurora Madan of Echobelly, as far as female vocalists go.

Kate, how did you get started in music?  Is it something you live off of, or do you have a “day-job?”  If so, what is it and how do you balance that with your passion for music?

I’ve been singing as long as I can remember, and my earliest memory of performing is when I was three years old (I think) and my mom pulled out a folding kitchen chair in our backyard, the neighbors came over, she put me in a frilly pink dress, put me atop the chair and I belted “Tomorrow” from Annie.

I was always in choir in school and had various solos and what not.  I ended up getting a music scholarship from Central Michigan University, here in Michigan, and I went for one semester.  When I realized that they weren’t going to teach me to be a rock star and that really my only option was to teach music or attempt to become classically-trained, I bailed.  I certainly wish I’d stuck it out, but it’s a little late for that.

Music is certainly not paying the bills for us, so I do have a day-job as a legal secretary at one of the top firms in Michigan.

As for balancing work and my passion for music, I don’t really have to, I guess.  I mean, we’re not doing this to become famous super stars.  We just like playing in a band together and writing songs that people enjoy.  We don’t claim to be doing anything ground-breaking, but we like to think we offer up a sound that no one else has here in Detroit.

Fortunately, I also get to share my passion for music with an audience through an internet radio show called “Aural Bliss” on Auralgasms Radio.  (www.auralgasms.com/radio)  It’s a two-hour show on Sunday nights, starting at 10 p.m. EST (a little shameless self-promotion there for ya) dedicated to shoegaze/dream-pop/trip-hop, brit-pop and electronica.  I took over duties as the host of show back in April of this year and I love it.  I’ve certainly developed a taste for indie music (some of it), and I’m able to incorporate it into the show.

What is the scene like in Detroit?  Is it a difficult place to become known?  Do you think you will ever branch out and do a national tour?

I honestly can’t say how the Detroit scene is because I don’t really participate in it that much.   I do know there are a million (exaggeration) bands here, some of which are incredible, like Outrageous Cherry, Ghost City, Deadstring Brothers, Twilight Babies, Blanche and I’m sure quite a few more that I’m not thinking of right now.

I’d say it’s a difficult place to become known, but I’m a newbie to the whole music scene since this is my first band.  My band mates would definitely be more knowledgeable on that subject as they’ve all been playing out in various projects for years.

I can say that we’ve been playing out for a year and a half and I’m fairly certain that not many people know who we are, but that’s nothing.  Almost all the bands I mentioned above have been playing out a lot longer, and I’m sure they’d say it’s not easy to make your mark here because of the sheer volume of bands.

A national tour doesn’t seem likely any time soon, although I know I wouldn’t be opposed to it.  It’s hard when everyone has responsibilities here like families and jobs and the like.  Obviously we don’t know what opportunities lie ahead, so I can’t say anything for certain.   I would think we’ll venture out a bit with the release of the second album.  Let’s hope so.

You are in the process of writing for a new album.  How has your sound developed and changed?  Do you see any differences in how you are approaching these songs as opposed to the prior tunes?  How far along are you in the process?

I was waiting for this question  Let’s see.  I guess we’re slightly more aware of our “sound” and we’ve grown into it a bit.  I think what we’ve written so far the for the second album is a lot more interesting and dynamic than a lot of the stuff on “Crash”.  We’ve got 7 songs written and demo’d, so we’ve got a bit more writing to do before we’ve got an album.

Tony has been doing this for a long time, so the holdup is definitely me.  Sometimes things come to me as soon as I hear the song and other times, I’ll listen to the same song for a week and never hear anything worth keeping.

As for how I’m approaching the songs, I don’t think that’s changed much.  I still sit down with it, listen to it, listen some more, and hope that an idea pops in to my head that I can work with.  Every now and then, I have an idea that I want to explore lyrically, and that helps me find the rhythm of the vocals, but it’s usually the melody that I come up with first.

Do you have a favorite song off of Crash?  Why is it your favorite and what’s the story behind it?

That’s really tough.  As far as quality of song, I’d have to go with “Crash”, itself.  It’s the most interesting musically and lyrically.  My favorite song to sing live is “Waiting”, hands down.  We always close with it, and I get to sing my heart out to end the show.  We actually recorded it before we’d played it live, and before I’d really gotten familiar with it, so it’s much more powerful in our live show than it turned out on the album… I think.  And as for the most personal, I’d have to say “I’m All You Need’.  If you listen to the lyrics, I don’t think it requires my explanation.

What are you listening to right now?  What, if anything, are you reading right now?

Right now I am obsessed with Aqualung, Camera Obscura and Trespassers William.  I’ve also been listening to The Perishers, Metric, Josh Rouse, Keane and Delays.  Coldplay and Garbage still hold strong as my all-time faves though.  Well, if you don’t count Patsy Cline and Otis Redding.

I’m reading a few different books right now.  I’m trying to make it through The Chronicles of Narnia.  I just picked up some classics that I’ve always wanted to read, Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights.  I know.  It says a lot about my schooling that I haven’t already read those.  Honestly though, my most recent reads are the latest Harry Potter and various chick-lit novels… oh and Jane Magazine.  Does that count?

Any other comments?  Any more information you would like to share with us?

I guess just that people can check us out at http://www.myspace.com/etheraura or http://www.etheraura.com and right now we have one of our new songs up on MySpace, one I’m pretty proud of actually.  Oh, and our cover of The Smiths’ “Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me”, which is downloadable from our MySpace page.

And also, thank you for taking an interest and for all your kind words.  We really appreciate any support or encouragement that’s thrown our way.

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