You may not know Little Rock’s Knox Hamilton yet, but you will. The single, “Work it Out,” is still in its infancy, and the full length record is forthcoming. It’s misplaced dance rock in the tradition of Wild Cub, that is, it doesn’t sound like what you are expecting from a “Southern” band, but it’s executed flawlessly, and in this case, they maintain the drawl.
Weld spoke to lead vocalist Boots Copeland before Thursday’s set at Bottletree about the band’s ascent and what to expect from the show.
Weld: I initially thought Knox Hamilton was an individual artist rather than a band. What inspired the name?
Boots Copeland: I used to work at a thrift shop and I was looking through a 1972 high school yearbook – it was a Little Rock high school yearbook – and I spotted a dude who was pretty rad looking. And his name was Knox Hamilton, so it was a no-brainer from there.
Weld: When I think of Arkansas bands, there’s Lucero and then my mind starts drawing a blank. What is the scene like there?
BC: It’s, uhhh…Lucero. And that’s it. It’s Lucero and it’s hard rock. That’s all we have.
Weld: How did you end up doing a dance rock thing? Is there a scene for it? Was it difficult finding people to play your music for in Little Rock?
BC: We’ve never been huge in Little Rock because there isn’t any kind of a scene. We did what we all grew up on – ’80s pop and ’90s alternative pop. We were listening to bands like the Killers and Phoenix and stuff like that. We wrote what we liked to play and what we were best at playing.
Weld: When you have a small scene like that and there aren’t a lot of other people playing that type of music, how do you meet? How did you find other guys that wanted to do this project?
BC: Me and Cobo, the drummer, we’re brothers. We’ve known Brad since we moved to Little Rock 12 years ago. We all listened to the same type of music. Drew started playing with us a few years ago; he’s been here a while. We all like different stuff, but we all like playing that type of music.
Weld: Have you self-released anything before the single? Because all that’s widely available for now is Work it Out.
BC: We took it down, per the label, so that we could re-release some stuff with newer tracks. We’ll have new music coming out pretty soon.
Weld: How long have you been on the road?
BC: Well, as of today, a month. We’ve never really toured before. This is our debut tour.
Weld: So you’ve never left Little Rock until this tour – were you playing shows in town before?
BC: Oh yeah, but we’ve never played more than, like, two shows in a week. All of a sudden, we’re playing 60 shows in two months.
Weld: What can we expect from the live show?
BC: The live show is just us having a good time and hopefully giving people some music to dance to; we like for people to enjoy it with us. It’s an alt-rock dance party.
Weld: What drove you into music when you were young? I know there are pockets of scenes down here, but I have no idea what’s going on in Little Rock.
BC: Cobo and I were raised in Sherman, Texas, which is 30 minutes north of Dallas. Our dad is a pastor. So we literally played the music in the church service; we were the worship music.
Weld: You’re in the middle of SEC country and it’s that time of year – are you football fans?
BC: Absolutely. Last Saturday [Arkansas v. Alabama] was a heartbreaker, man. We had it in the bag and, like always, let it go.
WELD: Who are the top five American rock bands of all time?
BC: That’s a great question, but it’s terrible because I’m going to disappoint a lot of people. I’d say the Killers, right now, are the greatest American rock band. Can I put Bruce Springsteen down?
BC: Alright, E-Street. Journey. Because my mom would be mad if I didn’t put Steve Perry in there somewhere. I want to say the Beatles so bad [Laughs]. Let’s put Hall and Oates in there. And Wilco.