United in Christ Interview: Hokus Pick

Hokus Pick

Between 1998-2000, I published an e-newsletter called United in Christ. One of my favorite features for the newsletter was a series of interviews with Christian bands (and one television personality). Presented below is my interview with Russ Smith of the band Hokus Pick.

Well, here it is…FINALLY, the interview with Hokus Pick!

Okay, alright…you probably get this question every single time you do an interview, but why the name Hokus Pick?
“Hokus Pick” is an old expression of surprise that we picked up through the Canadian bible college circuit. If you were to open up a gift on Christmas morning and it was exactly what you wanted, you’d say “Hokus Pick! It’s just what I wanted!”

These first couple questions may seem dull, but they’ll get more interesting as they go along…how did the band get started?
We started the band in 1989 after Russ and Matt had been in a different band together. Russ got together with Rick to do some recording and they were thinking about starting a new Christian band. Matt came back from YWAM in Europe and he wanted to start a Christian band too. Rick knew Dave from high school and Dave had just become a Christian, so the four guys got together and started Hokus Pick.

I’ve been lucky enough to hear a wide range of your music, but I’m sure that there’s plenty of your listeners that think you’re just a ska band…how would you describe your sound?
A pot pourri of rock and pop.

What bands have influenced your music the most?
We’ve all had different influences through the years, ranging from Bryan Adams and U2 to Harry Connick Jr. and The Violent Femmes.

You’ve been around for quite a while, but it’s obvious that you’ve gained many fans with your last album, Snappy. Do you feel offended by the fact that many people would call you a “new” band?
As long as they don’t call us “New Kids On The Block”.

What inspired you to write the song, “True Believer”?
We wanted a song to relate the struggle of living the Christian life daily. The theme of that song is similar to the songs on our new album “Super Duper” in that God is cheering us on from the sidelines saying “You can do it!” even though we keep dropping the ball.

How did the song “I’m So Happy” come along? Was it a song designed for live shows, or was it just something that you came up with while sitting around in the studio?
It’s really just a silly song, don’t you think?

Bookaboom was definitely a much more serious album than Snappy…what can we expect from Super Duper? Is there going to be another “I’m so Happy”?
“Super Duper” is a strong album with an encouraging message. I actually like every song on this album.

Was the ska bit just an added flavor to Snappy, or should we expect to hear more on your next album?
There’s a little bit on “Super Duper” and the horns are real this time.

For my last question I would like to ask you…what is the mission behind Hokus Pick? Why do you do what you do every day? It sure isn’t in vain, so put into your own words why you feel that being in a band is the best way to spread God’s word.
Our motto has been to take God seriously and everything else quite lightly. With that in mind, we continue to pursue Christ in our own lives while trying to spread the serious news of the gospel in our funny and goofy way.

Have you any other words of wisdom or advice for the United in Christ Newsletter?
Love God in all you do.

Click here fore more United in Christ interviews from Satellite Soul, Glisten, and more.

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