It’s been two years since THE HICKEY UNDERWORLD released their eponymous debut album, featuring the radio-friendly hit singles ‘Future Words’ and… Actually, that’s it. So what have the boys from Antwerp been up to in the mean time?

Younes Faltakh (vocals, guitars, keys) is about to launch his own line of perfume, enticingly labelled ‘Vagrance’. Elucidates Faltakh, ‘it’s aimed at the great untapped market: the homeless. Basically, ‘Vagrance’ is a fragrance for vagrants -or the ‘derelict chique’, as I like to call them. I’ve always felt a deep sympathy for bums: in fact, if our new album flops, chances are high I might join their ranks. I’m already scouting for a warm, dry spot near the Antwerp Central Station. And I’d rather be cuddling up to a pleasant-smelling hobo than a stinky one, wouldn’t you?’ Faltakh’s signature perfume is said to contain the subtle scent of wet dog fur, the rusty tang of small change, and the slightest hint of week-old urine.

Jonas Govaerts (guitars), on his part, recently contracted a freaky ear disease called ‘Schmenières’. Explains Govaerts, ‘It’s a rather mysterious illness, infecting a part of the middle-ear named ‘Shatner’s Bassoon’. There’s no known cure, which hasn’t stopped me from trying every alternative medicine out there: ground-up baboon faeces, distilled turtle excrement and fermented yak shit, all of which, I’m being told only just now, are not to be taken orally. Great.’ Symptoms of Schmenière include constant tinnitus, and an irritating distortion of certain frequencies, making everything sound out-of-tune and whiny. Says Govaerts, ‘The sensation is very hard to describe, though listening to the new Customs album comes pretty, pretty close.’

Georgios Tsakiridis (bass) has started his own adult website: ‘GG’s Apartment – No One’s Gotten Laid (So Far)’. Clarifies Tsakiridis, ‘It’s kind of like ‘Mike’s Apartment – No One Stays For Free’, only my place is more tastefully decorated. I always thought Mike’s digs were kind of tacky, which tended to distract me, the viewer. So I made some investments: I got me some awesome elephant wallpaper and a stone dolphin that’s also a fountain.’ Another big difference with Mike’s Apartment: there’s no actual porn to be found on Tsakiridis’ site (though members do get to see a clip of him trying -and failing- to install the fountain, flooding the apartment in the process). ‘I’ve actually mailed Mike about that,’ sighs Tsakiridis. ‘I mean, how does he get those boarders to have sex with him? Don’t they pay any rent at all? What about dishes? I’m beginning to suspect it’s all a scam, and those chicks aren’t boarders at all, but, you know, prostitutes or something.’ The site is not a total failure, though: ‘It’s actually had quite a few hits, though mostly coming from young families looking to rent an affordable place in the Borgerhout neighborhood. Unfortunately, when I explain the concept, they tend to lose interest.’

Jimmy Wouters (drums & percussion), finally, is getting ready for some extensive plastic surgery, tired of constantly being confused with that other, actually successful drummer Michael Shack. Moans Wouters, ‘Everywhere I’d go, I’d hear things like, ‘Great column in De Slagwerkkrant again, Shack! Love how you keep on bitching about other musicians just trying to make living!’ or ‘Kudos for banging that hot transsexual Kate Ryan, man!’ At first, Wouters thought it was just a matter of trading his glasses for lenses, but that made matters even worse: ‘Spotty boys in scout uniforms kept coming up to me, offering me oral pleasure for an acoustic version of ‘Ayo Technology’ or ‘You Don’t Know’. For the last time, I’m not Milow, nor a priest! Speaking of molesting: on my recent trip to Stuttgart, I was raped by a rabid pack of middle-aged housewives, all humming along to ‘One Of It’. Quite traumatising. I might try Berlin next.’

P.S. The Hickey Underworld will also have a new album out on September 24th. It’s called ‘I’m Under The House, I’m Dying’. Produced by Das Pop, mixed by Dave Sardy. It’s got flutes on it and shit.