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NT: (An alarm rings in the background.) Did you try to steal something just now?
JH: No, no. (laughs) It's just one of those security things going on.
NT: You do have a small but very loyal fan base, and it seems to be growing.
JH: I can't explain what it is. I know that we do get fans one at a time. I also think that we keep getting back up, even after we get knocked down. We haven't won a lot of battles but we keep getting up, kind of dusting ourselves off ready to fight, and I think there's something that people can identify in that, whether or not they are musicians.
NT: Do you feel pressure from your fans, journalists or people in the music community that hold you in high esteem?
JH: Not really. Because I feel more of a pressure from the history and the growth that I feel I have made. To be quite clear, [being hailed as] the next best thing and the next best whatever, there are far better next best things than me. Because I do feel successful already, so it's not like that really has an impact. If things work out for us commercially, I think that's fantastic, it's great, but at the same time, it's trading in one set of problems for another.
NT: Are you happier on an indie?
JH: Absolutely. I think that by and large artists should own their masters. . . . There are very few bands on major labels that are able to retain control or that are able to do licensing deals. By and large they are not able to. It's a crime because my personal belief, well, my personal experience, is that the songs that we make have outlasted anyone's job at the label, have outlasted the label in some degree. And so why is it important for us to give up the rights to that?
NT: Why are you so committed onstage? What do you want people to get from a Pleasure Club show?
JH: Enjoyment, absolutely. I think I want people to be inspired, and I think inspiration can take all shapes and forms. People can be inspired to dance. People can be inspired to hook up. They can be inspired to go work on a song they haven't thought about in a while or needed finishing. When people come back to me saying, you know, "I was really inspired," I know what it feels like. Inspiration is its own life form, its own energy. And to be part of that cycle, that's an amazing thing, and, you know, do I get to be a part of the cycle every day of the week? Absolutely not. But boy, I sure do enjoy it once in a while when it happens -- when I'm on the receiving end of it or the giving end of it.
NT: (Bad piano Muzak begins to play in the background.) Are you inspired by the music in the mall?
JH: No. It's Christmas music, man. Fuckin' Christmas music!