Hundred Reasons: “Everyone’s got a voice in a way that they didn’t before”

The 00s alt rock band's guitarist and co-founder Larry Hibbitt talks us through their long-awaited return with Glorious Sunset

Its always tough when your favourite band decides to call it quits, but it’s harder when they just disappear without saying anything. For fans of Hundred Reasons, who rocketed British alt rock to its apex at the turn of the millennium before quietly fading into hiatus around 2007, fingers have been crossed that Colin Doran, Larry Hibbitt, Andy Bews and ‘The Andy’ (Gilmour) would return.

In October 2022 the wait was finally over, with the band announcing news of their fifth full-length, Glorious Sunset. Ahead of its 24 February release and accompanying UK tour, guitarist and album producer Larry talks us through the new record and the refreshing feeling of reconnecting.

Photos by Matt Higgs

Larry, it’s been 16 years since Quick The Word Sharp The Action. You never really ‘broke up’ per se, but does this feel like a proper return?

We’d been talking about this for quite a long time, actually. We had the dates booked before Covid, in fact. We initially started talking about doing just one show, but doing one gig in London seemed a bit random, so we started asking why we wanted to do shows… which lead to conversations about making new music… which lead to us making a new album. The writing process went better than we were all expecting, so that one gig turned into a tour and now here we are, years later, actually about to finally do it. 

When we stopped doing stuff the first time round, it was because we’d got to a point where the show sizes were dwindling. We weren’t really connecting with what we were doing and we thought our output was probably getting worse. We have a desperate desire to never end up in that situation again, so whilst it’s never going to be a full-time thing anyway, we also don’t wanna just play all the time just because. So we want to make sure it’s special, and that people come and get something from it, and not bored of us again. But I actually really love that. We get on with out lives and do other things and then occasionally, when the stars align and it feels right, we come back together and make a new album. It feels good to do that without any expectation of it ever happening, which it’s quite freeing. That’s at least how I see it. 

Hundred Reasons - Replicate (Official Video)

I was struck with how comfortably it fits and flows with the rest of your back catalogue. As a producer yourself, how conscious an effort were you making to take us back to that time without getting too lost in the past? The title ‘Old School Way’ seems to nod to that a bit.

I think that was definitely a conscious thing about how the record should sound. It wasn’t when we were writing it, because that was very in the moment and they were very short and instinctual writing sessions. But when we came to recording, and when I produced the record, it was definitely a case of thinking, “what’s the record we’re going to make now?”. It can’t sound like the ones we used to make, and it needs to reflect the experiences that we’ve all had, in the same way that Colin’s lyrics do on this album; they needed to back that up and be in that same place. It’s not an album written by young men anymore, it’s an album written by people that have been away from it for 15 years, so we were riding the balance between nostalgia and needing it needed to be in its own space, like nothing we’d done before. I think we did that. I think it’s got a bit of depth and it feels like it runs at its own pace. It isn’t trying too hard, I think. 

In the years since, you’ve developed as a professional record producer. Did working on the album yourself feel like a new experience?

It did and it didn’t! I did the album coming off a really busy period making other peoples’ records, so actually in a way I was just turning the targets on ourselves. One thing I did find difficult about it was not working with the band. For long periods of time making the record I was just in the studio on my own. I found that quite challenging, and it also meant it took me a long time to get it finished. I don’t particularly like working on my own, normally I’ll have a band or at least an engineer with me, but I had none of that. I was just left to my own devices. I did the classic thing of leaving it all to the last possible moment then I did it in a panic in about four weeks [laughs]! 

You’ve said elsewhere that that level of spontaneity helped shape the record, but do you think each other’s writing style had changed too?

It did feel like time had passed, because we all had a lot of respect for each other in this process and we allowed each other their space to do their thing. That’s the kind of thing that comes with experience and confidence. So from my point of view, as producer, I wasn’t trying to micromanage things to any extent like I was before. We all found our space on this record and we were all allowed to exist in that space and do our own thing; working like that aids spontaneity and allows it to flourish in a way that we hadn’t managed before I think. 

Hundred Reasons - So So Soon

The standout for me is ‘So So Soon’, the recent single. Were there any particular songs or moments during the process where you kind of all looked at each other like, F*ck Yeah?

That song didn’t present itself as a goodie until quite late in the day, and I think it wasn’t until Colin put his lyrics on it. Before then it was just that Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age kind of riff, and it was a weird song. The demo lyrics were very different from the ones he delivered on the finished article. I didn’t really get that song until he’d put his lyrics on it and then it became one of my favourites, so it was a late bloomer for me. The first track we wrote for the record was ‘Right There With You’, and I think there was definitely a moment, having got together and written that song in one evening, I remember us listening back to it at the end of the night being like, That’s a pretty good Hundred Reasons song, I think this could work! So that was definitely the moment we realised we’d created something good here and we could be on to something. 

Your record label troubles and misfortunes are well-known. Was it a relief to work with SO Recordings?

Adam from SO actually manages me as a producer, so I work with him all the time and he sort of ended up managing Hundred Reasons by default, and then putting the record out. I met him when I was working with Dinosaur Pile-Up, who he also looks after. So it’s definitely low-pressure and it’s lovely that no one’s talking about another album. The whole process with SO has been really natural, they get it. Label relationships have always been a bit of a battle, unsatisfying and unsatisfactory, and we’ve either not known what’s going on or been disappointed at some point, so our experience of the industry from that standpoint has never been particularly great. It’s been nice for that side of things to make sense at the moment. 

Music aside, has the whole process enriched your personal relationships?

It has, it’s reinvigorated them for sure. I can’t remember a time with this band where we’ve all gotten along like this. Again, it feels like everyone’s got a voice in a way that they didn’t before. Things are less precious and there’s fewer opportunities for people to, you know, get the arse with each other.

Glorious Sunset has echoes of finality to it. Is this Hundred Reasons chapter its awaited closure or the start of something new?

I don’t know, is the answer to that question to be honest! It wasn’t actually meant to sound like that, it’s developed a double meaning. The Andy made the bones of that song on his own, and sent them over as a basic demo which we then worked on, and that demo was called ‘Glorious Sunset’ as a working title. It stuck throughout the process as these things occasionally do, and Colin took that phrase and wrote the lyrics around it; that song is about his mum and the last moments of her life, so it had a meaning there. And yeah, it felt like that meaning could extend to the band as a sort of swan song. But never say never. We might do another record when we’re 60. Who knows. 

Hundred Reasons take new album Glorious Sunset on a UK tour in February & March. Tickets are available here.