Hawnay Troof is the electronic indie solo project of Vice Cooler formed in late 2001.
Regardless of the band's American punk and electronic background, many untraditional ideas have been incorporated into its sound. Combining many elements of pop, dance-punk, electronica, soul, noise music and club lyrically covering an array of subjects such as relationships, politics, death, celebration, and tragedy. In the past Cooler has cited his daily life as his main muse. According to Cooler the purpose of the band has always been to create a unity for people through music. Since the band's inception, this has been executed by a number of live shows and records. Unifying past language barriers, the band has performed in many strange places throughout the world and put out a handful of albums to a positive response.
In 2001 a teenage Vice Cooler and friend wanted to go to a show that they couldn't afford. A plan was devised to start a band that afternoon and pose as a band during load in. They wrote the music in one afternoon and loaded in equipment to the venue. No one asked any questions so they did a guerilla style set next to the coke machines and merchandise table during the show. Word spread fast and Vice Coolers antics began to precede him. Despite having played only a handful of shows, he was invited to play similar guerilla-style sets opening for the likes of Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Coachwhips, Glass Candy, Lightning Bolt, Bratmobile, Gravy Train!!!!, and Stereo Total with nothing but a self released cdr to sell.
Eventually Cooler relocated to Oakland, California and continued to perform. He quickly became friends with Drew Daniel (of Soft Pink Truth and Matmos), Allison Wolfe, and Jenny Hoyston; all of which would appear later on future live performances and/ or recordings. While playing a show in LA that summer he caught the attention of the label Retard Disco who asked him to make a record for them. The result was his 2003 debut Get Up: Resolution Love!, a low fidelity, self-produced, dance record. With its militantly minimal sound, little more was used than the human voice and the limited pre sets on his computer (with the exception to the Drew Daniel produced "Gut A Cop" and "Til We're Numb"). Get Up caught the ears of Numbers,Rogue Wave, and the well-known indie band Mates Of State, who all invited him on tour with them. After going on the road with all three he was exposed to many new fans, though it was a very unlikely pairing.
Get Up: Resolution: Love! put the band on a successful worldwide tour including Hawnay's first shows in Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe (with a then unknown band called The Gossip). The "Man On My Back" single was released as tour support, surprising everyone with a harsher, more evolved sound. The live shows had Vice, and then tour partner Allison Wolfe, performing in their underwear. The absence of clothing was meant "be this liberating thing for people to see." But after two years of constant touring, Cooler was exhausted. His mental problems began to escalate, preventing any further touring for the album.
Dollar and Deed-Community
Instead of recovering from the two year tour, Vice opted to instead immediately start work on what would become the band's next album, an extensive double album and photobook titled "Dollar and Deed".
Cooler spent everyday from January to March 2005 in his bedroom writing, recording, and mixing the album, rarely stopping even to eat. His old friend Jenny Hoyston was again a collaborator, adding vocals to five of the tracks. Saying goodbye to the pre sets that dominated the last lp, Cooler instead traded them for new sampling techniques, and got recording programs for his computer.
Others who worked on the record were Stereo Total, Barr, and Kori Gardner of Mates Of State while being mixed partially by the band's longtime friend John Dieterich.
Regardless of the release tour being booked, the release of Dollar and Deed was moved from November 2005 to April 2006 due to time constraints. Quickly outtakes and new material were scrambled together for the release of the "Community" Ep to coincide with the tour. Guest on the record included his friends Mika Miko and Barr.
Both releases had a newfound lyrical content sound which left fans divided. In the past Coolers lyrics had focused primarily on his sex life, but now were about growing up on the road. Musically it covered a lot of his influence including ambient, punk, and glitch.
Rising high on the wings of the 20-month "Dollar and Deed" tour, Hawnay Troof played shows in Egypt and China, and was invited to many European festivals peaking with a crowd of more than half a million at the Dutch event Lowlands. Concerned that he "turned into this clown character for a lot of people" he got rid of the "underwear look" for a something more formal: custom tailored suits. Capturing moments during the tour on his small digital camera, Cooler would later release a book chronicling his experiences titled the Dollar and Deed Tour. The book sold out through Myspace within one hour of its release. Yet the album went by unnoticed by most in the press.
Regardless of the general underground status of Dollar And Deed, it was held in high regard by a lot musicians, making it onto a lot of top ten lists. One of these musicians, Peaches, named it the number one record of the year in Filter Magazine and invited Vice Cooler as a guest performer at her show with John Waters as part of their Christmas show at UCLA. British singer- songwriter Jack Lucien also cited the album as an inspiration for his creative work on his Myspace blog.
There was also a contest for fans to remix his song Out Of Teen. All of them were deemed so good that they were combined into a free download release.
The tour wrapped up with a trip to play shows in Alaska with High Places. During the Dollar and Deed tour Hawnay Troof had the band as an opener. The two bands continued to play together throughout the year and developed a close relationship.
Islands Of Ayle
Hawnay Troof began working on new music during the 20 month tour for Dollar and Deed. As with his past releases he had become bored with what he had already done. Instead of working with what he knew, he refreshed his songwriting technique by starting to work with loops created on unfamiliar programs. They were then recorded as demos during his tour breaks.
Islands Of Ayle was finished mostly between December 2007 and March 2008. Three of the album's songs, "Front My Hope", "Venus Venus Piper", and "Water" were collaborations between Vice and Bretzel Goring of Stereo Total through email. The three songs were birthed from samples that Cooler had become stuck on. Cooler would pan pieces of the loops into stereo and then email them to Bretzel. He would then make new loops out of the mono tracks and email them back to Vice, who would then add more things, including vocals, on top of the new arrangements.
Other new recording techniques were incorporated such as the addition of a borrowed Moog synthesizer. This was used by Hawnay Troof to create the band's first bass lines. The original track of The Gods Are Crazy was mailed to Carla Bozulich who then recorded her vocal lines over the mp3 which was sent back to Vice. While Out Of Teen Revisited was also birthed from email: it was created by Iggybaby for the Out Of Teen remix contest and had become the staple live version at shows. Mary Pearson recorded her parts while High Places was staying as a guest at his house.
During this period No Age was recording their first record, Weirdo Rippers. The band's guitarist Randy Randall was showing Vice some of his new samples when Cooler was staying with them in Los Angeles. Randy let him sample some of the sounds which also ended up used, and manipulated, on Islands Of Ayle.
Cooler has said that the goal for Islands Of Ayle was to create a pop record, but that it ended up accidentally "damaged".
The album was mixed in two days by Vice Cooler, in his bedroom, with long time friend and Deerhoof member Greg Saunier and was released on September 9, 2008. The first edition of the CD came with an extra disc of remixes and a limited edition o-card cover.
The album's release came with an extensive world tour, opening for Deerhoof, High Places,Telepathe and Matt And Kim, which had the band spanning the same area as the previous 20 month tour over the last four months of 2008. The trip was full of extremes in luck. In August the band was towed in Chicago. Once they got it back it was then reportedly stolen by a police officer in Arizona. Regardless of the complications the tour moved on. Good luck came as the first pressing sold out within one week of its release. Shortly after the album's first single, "Connection", premiered on MTV2.
"Connection" had been shot in July 2008 at The Smell in Los Angeles by Vim Crony. It features an array of Smell regulars including members of Imafucking Gymnist, Kyle Mabson, and the owner of the club, Jim Smith. The video has been highly praised and broke through to such unlikely places as the Independent Film Channel and Vh1. The video was nominated for indie video of the year by MTV2 and surprised everyone when it won second place and beat heavyweights like Björk and Death Cab For Cutie.
October marked the release of his free, fan remixed record Remix Projection and also brought Hawnay Troof on its second tour of Australia and New Zealand. This time it was a tour with Peaches and later as a part of Australia's largest traveling electronic festival Parklife. During this time, Peaches started performing randomly with Hawnay Troof as a guest back up singer into December 2008. Shortly after the band surprised the crowd at Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest with a very memorable set, which including Vice making use of the outside stage by incorporating the ceiling and trees by climbing them throughout his set, and jumping off, working the crowd into a frenzy causing "every girl to slide out of her skinny jeans".
Unlike Dollar And Deed, Islands of Ayle was released to great acclaim. Pitchfork rated it with a 7.5 and described Vice as "[leaving] an impression of a confidence that has moved beyond the ego and into a territory that enables him to get away with just about anything" while Spin Magazine said that the album is "...a bewilderingly awesome musical gumbo. Both confrontational and congregational, Troof's beat-driven, stutter-filled jams will move your feet the way they were meant to move – with wild abandon and reckless intent." Mae Shi and High Places named it as one of the best albums of 2008 while electronic heavyweights Ladytron called it one of their top ten records of the year in Filter Magazine.
- Get Up! Resolution Love (Retard Disco/ TCWTGA (LP), 2003)
- Dollar and Deed (Retard Disco/ Southern, 2006)
- Islands Of Ayle (Retard Disco/ Southern, 2008)
- Remix Projection (Self Released Free Download, 2008)
Ep's And Singles
- Who Likes Ta? (Retard Disco, 2003)
- White Men In Suits EP (Deleted Art, 2004)
- Community (Retard Disco, 2005)
- Hollar And See (Self Released, 2006)
- RMX: 2008 (Self Released, 2008)
- High Places (Headspins)
- No Age (Everybody's Down)
- Yacht (It's Coming To Get You)
- Jaguar Love (Humans Evolve Into Skyscrapers)
- Jaguar Love (My Organ Sounds Like...)
- The Ssion (Street Jizz)
- Joanna Newsom (Bridges And Balloons)
- Barr (Half Of Two Times Two)
- Telepathe (Chromes On It
"Connection" as #2 indie video of the year (MTV2, 2008).
"Connection" as #1 video on MTVU (MTVU, 2009).
- Solange Knowles praised his fashion and music on her Twitter.
- Hawnay Troof has been invited to play such countries as Iceland, Egypt, New Zealand and Australia.
- Vice Cooler was a guest speaker at the Peaches and John Waters 2005 Christmas show at UCLA.
- His 2006–2007 Rhinestone Suit was made by the L.A. design team, Boho.
- In 2007, Henry Rollins said on his radio show, Harmony In My Head, that "I have always admired people who are all the way into their work to the point where the separation between the art and the artist disappears. Most never even get close..." when talking about Vice Cooler and Hawnay Troof.