Hotel Fürstenhof, 2009
The morning after his gig Chris Hooson invites us to the hotel he is staying at in Vienna. Clear-minded and unagitated, the Leeds-based musician sets to work, which means blanking distractions from outside and immerging into his fragile and heart-rending sound universe. Chris’ lugubrious and sentimental songs stay convincingly naked, creating an image of his family-life at the sparse North of England or his exigent day job as a social worker dealing with imprisoned offenders. Besides his personal ups and downs, Hooson draws some down-home inspiration from his beloved football club Everton FC, to which he dedicates a song now or then. Apart from his one-man appearances he keeps experimenting with a loose band collective, employing cellos, violins, harmonium and electronic bits on throughout instrumental tracks. With Wintersong (http://www.wintersong.ch/), there exists also a denotative film on Dakota Suite that captivates the charm of so much unagitatedness. So no wonder that our unobtrusive setting in the hallway and lift of Hotel Fürstenhof can not belittle Dakota Suite’s low key sound. On the contrary, Chris Hooson turned this grey and demure morning in a contemplative one.
Fürstenhof is a popular accommodation for alternative musicians on tour. The family-run hotel on Neubaugürtel next to Westbahnhof offers special discounts for artist. The house was built more than a century ago; dark red carpets, wooden furniture as well as the dedicated family working behind the counter all contribute to an old-fashioned, yet warm and friendly ambiance. The wall in the lobby is full of photos from bands that have chosen to stay at Fürstenhof. It is quite likely to have breakfast next to some musicians in here. During the Bluebird-Festival the number of musicians might have even outreached the number of non-artists.