From our Tour Bus in the 90's to an App on your iPhone: The Making of An Accidental Hit

Twenty years ago, before kids and mortgages and startup jobs, our band EVERYTHING played the Colorado circuit every winter, sometimes twice if we were lucky. From Boulder to Telluride, we would play a 2-3 week blitz of every ski town that we could fit in (because any night of the week is a party when you’re at Steamboat!) We had amazing experiences, (a few life threatening), and we found many simpatico friends and fans among the powder junkies of the Front Range.

It was about 36 hours from our homebase in Woodville, Virginia, to Colorado, and we usually drove it straight (switching drivers of course). On one of these journeys through the endless flat of Kansabraska, the song “Hooch” was born in the back of our airport shuttle ‘tour’ bus. It first took shape as an acapella with four-part harmony, and then we dropped it into our epic go-go jam called “Soulfish.”  The middle of that song was basically anything goes, so for months we would just break it down and all sing “Who Got the Hooch.”

When we signed with Blackbird/Sire, our producer,Jim Ebert, suggested that we turn that acapella into an actual song. We fleshed out the music in one afternoon session in the Pre-Civil War estate where we tracked the entire SuperNatural album. We even recorded the harmonies together on the back porch, as the sun sank behind the Blue Ridge.

“Hooch” was the first single released off SuperNaturalin 1998. Intended to be the lead up to the ‘big hit’ called “Good Thing,” it had performed a bit… well, underwhelmingly, in the marketing tests for radio and we never expected it to become a hit. Lo and behold, it broke open on KBCO in Boulder and then sort of ran away with itself for the next few years.  It became a cultural meme a la “oh, I know that song, but not who sings it.”

Fast forward about 15 years, and our company Light the Musicis about to release a version of the visual music app called ORO HOOCH. Inspired by the music and trajectory of the original song, and the spirit of our younger selves singing on that back porch, this app offers users the opportunity to recycle parts of our hit song in creative ways.

As the metaphorical “first single” of the ORO app, Hooch continues to do what it’s always done– function as an expression of  the magic of making music together, remind people (even non-musicians) that creativity is often a thing received rather than manufactured, and provide an acapella that can be remixed into something greater than the sum of its parts. In this way, the message of the song (“the sweetest thing in the world”) becomes the medium of the app. Which is fitting in so many ways.

Craig and Steve -Founders and Musicians