Interview with Hog Meets Frog
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Well, what I would do if I didn't get into music is hard to say because music has been an important part of my life for so long.
I came to music because my father and also my mother were very fond of music. At home, we listened to a lot of music – whether opera, pop, rock, country or chanson. And when the music wasn't coming from vinyl, CD or cassettes, the radio was on.
It was also important that my father played guitar himself and played and sang with us again and again.
Fun fact: today, I am the only member of HOG MEETS FROG who has a classic civic job - I work in research marketing.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I live in Vienna (Austria, Europe). Here there is a very strong, centuries-old coffee house culture. And I'm one of those people who sit in the coffee house for hours. When I'm alone, I watch people, read newspapers or write a bit; when I'm out with friends, it's usually discussed, philosophized and politicized. All of this has a big influence on the music of HOG MEETS FROG – both musically and in terms of content.
How long has your band been around?
HOG MEETS FROG was founded in 2002. Since the first day, we are around to confuse people’s minds with our music and performance.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
HOG MEEST FROG is an international, Vienna based power trio. The Vienna I mean is the one in Austria, Europe – the motherland of e.g. Mozart or Falco, Harakiri for the Sky or Bilderbuch.
I am the Austrian part of the band and as I mentioned before
What - or better- who originally made music an important part of my life were my parents. Because my father and also my mother(s) loved music very much. At home we listened to a lot of it– whether opera, pop, rock, country, singer-songwriter or chanson. And when the music didn't come from vinyl, CD or cassette, the radio was on.
Another very important influence was my father as a social role model. When I was a kid, he played guitar even more often, and sometimes my big brother and I played and sang with him.
Finally, I started playing bass when I was 17. And I got my first bass when I was almost 19.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
‘HOG MEETS FROG’ the band’s name was a joke about ‘Dog Eat Dog’. As soon as I made the joke, I had the story of a pig and a frog meeting and having fun with each other. But it should take some time before a band was gifted with the name and the story of the pig and the frog was told for the first time.
The name 'HOG MEETS FROG' means a lot to me today because it, or the band itself, stands for a long time in which a lot has happened, in which I have learned a lot and hopefully also developed further. Maybe HOG MEETS FROG is also simply the face of one of my alter egos?
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
There were many concerts that I remember fondly. But the funnier stories are the ones that happen after a concert.
For example, I’ve been asked by a guy if I could give him an autograph on his penis. Well, I told him if I don't have to attack him, that's fine with me. So he opened his pants in front of all the people, pulled his dick long and I scribbled at his pen with a pencil. I was amused - like all the others around us – and he was happy.
Or I was once invited by some fans after a show to drink liquor or whiskey or smoke a joint with them. I thankfully declined, saying that I don't drink or smoke, whereupon I was asked, ‘Really? And how do you get ideas like that without alcohol or drugs?’
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
There is actually nothing like a favourite venue for us. We just want to play and feel comfortable where we are treated friendly and fair by the organizers.
Like probably most bands, we would like to play on big festival stages all over the world, like Bonnaroo Festival (US) or Roskilde (Denmark).
In the end, we just love to play live, whether it's open-air or halls, clubs or bars – the main thing is "live".
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
This question is hard to answer because there are so many bands we would like to play with. It doesn't have anything to do with the style or how good a band is, but whether it fits interpersonally.
I would love to be on stage with Tom Waits as much as with Metallica, but also with KNORKATOR (a genius German band) or Psychostick, Primus or Bilderbuch (an outstanding Austrian band). But, as I said, there are so many bands that would be fun to play with.
The good thing about our music is that it fits together with the live performance to very many bands of different genres.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
A piece of advice that I would give to everyone - even my younger self: play the music that you enjoy and don't let others tell you what to change about your music. That doesn't mean you should become an isolated loner. Of course, the input should always be welcome. However, this does not mean that they all have to be adopted.
There is no right or wrong in the creative process. Whatever you like, that's fine.
Oh yes. . . what else can I say, a band is a social fabric. It is all about working together – however far that goes – and this should be respected and nurtured.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
This may sound strange, but all songs from HOG MEETS FROG have meaning for me. That's because they all originated at certain times in the band's history and they tell me about everything we've experienced, what we've dreamed about or what has occupied us socially or politically. . . and of course, they also show the musical development of the band – like a diary.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I like to play all our songs. I think it's a pity that we can't play all of the songs we've ever written. Of course, there are gradations on a scale of 1-10, where 1 means 'I don't like it' and 10 means 'YEEHAW!', but this varies between 7 and 10.
But if I had to name a couple of 10-tunes, I would say: 'of snakes 'n' moles 'n' bulls 'n' dough', 'fat bat FRED' or 'man with the chicken-ass hairstyle'.
As far as the request is concerned, this is actually as good as it does not happen.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Musically and lyrically, the biggest inspiration for me in songwriting are the people I talk to or watch on the street or at the coffee house and try to understand their (inter)actions and stories.
But also the rhythm of an escalator, the sound a dog makes while walking or even a simple fart in the underground are just as good sources of ideas as world events, documentaries, science and many other things.
What I like to write about in my stories is - as with most - what moves me, what interests me. I like to mix observations of social developments and currents with scientific topics or (world) political issues.
I often tell these stories in the form of fables. I liked this form of storytelling very much as a child and also later at school when we read the Roman poets in Latin.
By the way, this is one of the three levels on which the EP title 'humaANIMALization' is based. It describes the transformation from human to animal.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We often try to convey important content in a fun way, because fun is a very good way to communicate it. Keywords to our messages would be open-mindedness, respect for one another or friendship.
I think we also show quite well what we don't like, for example racism or homophobia, predatory capitalism or antisocial behaviour in general.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Yes, of course, we don't always agree within the band. Then we discuss and rarely, but still, we argue. But we are all willing to talk about things or to listen to them from each other. Fortunately, at the end of the day, we all understand that compromises must also be made and that dialogue is the only way to resolve conflicts, even if you don’t always get what you want.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Of course, we are also working on new songs and stories and on masks for the new characters of the next HOG MEETS FROG performance.
But at the moment I'm working on the promotion for our EP 'humANIMALization', which is currently in progress and still takes quite a lot of time.
That piece of music will be published on Feb 24th 2023.
Song Stream - Peeping-Bear’s Exegesis of Not Peeping -