December/January 2016

by Andrew Smit

Fresh Talent: Skinny Hobos

by Andrew Smit

Fresh Talent: Skinny Hobos

“We’’ve actually known each other since about 2006 when we played shows together in Auckland as members of Save Tom’’s Dog and Midnight Trio,”” remembers Alex Ferrier, aka Alex Elvis, guitarist of progressive Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos

“We toured together in early 2008 as members of Malford and The Harlequin Academy. After that tour we lost touch for about five years when I moved to Canada and Sam [Holdom, aka Texas Holdem] moved to Dunedin. It was purely by coincidence that we reconnected, both being hired to work in the same music shop towards the end of 2013.””

A kindred spirit soon led them to have a jam, and like their music, it was a natural progression to form a band. Audiences have noted their chemistry, the two impress with the gritty and full rock sound they produce with two instruments, fine harmonies and just how much fun they have on stage. Their sound is big, achieved with the aid of Ferrier’’s large rig according to Holdom.


“In 2012 Alex fell in love with gear. There was a lot of hit and miss, trial and error involved, but in the end he’s ended up with something that he’s truly stoked with”.”

Ferrier’’s preference is for Ibanez semi-hollow guitars, played through vintage amps he has customised himself, with an impressive collection of about 20 pedals of all different brands. He’s constantly changing them every few weeks when he finds something else that’’s cool.

A guitarist who knows his way around a drum kit, Ferrier talks positively about the fact that when presenting a new song to his bandmate, there is an instant understanding. “He seems to know what I am thinking and plays intricate drum segments just how I imagine it.””

The two-piece drum/guitar set up is not a copy of similar bands like Royal Blood or NZ’’s own Cairo Knife Fight, they insist. “It just happened naturally before we had even heard of them”.”

For Ferrier another advantage of being a duo is that it’’s “…very convenient” to not have to discuss potential rehearsals or gigs with more than one band member…”

As for the quirky band name, that’’s rather tongue in cheek.

“It was one idea of many, but Skinny Hobos seemed to fit. And no, it’s not based on us, although we may look like hobos, we’re clearly not skinny!””

After gigging almost every weekend for the last year, the guys have recently been finishing a self-produced debut album, recording with engineer Nick Poortman at Roundhead.

“We came back a few months later and did some vocal and guitar overdubs but overall it is a live sound recording,”” describes Holdom.

As motivated as they are, they admit that it would be great to survive from just playing music, and maybe one day have a nice home, but in the meantime they continue with day jobs selling musical instruments, and head out at night to perform at pubs and bars. Over summer Skinny Hobos will tour the country and no doubt tempt you to take home their self-titled debut album.

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