Sam and Tim Aitken are brothers, blessed to be born into a home where music wasn`t just a mere leisure option. No, in the Aitken household, music was oxygen! a life giving substance that filled every room, powered every car journey, and defined every family gathering.
And so it was merely part of the Aitken natural order that while on holiday in Thailand, older boy Tim, still just 11 years old, dragged his guitar to the front of a bar and performed in public for the first time. The song? Five For Fighting`s `Superman`, the moment? life changing! It may have been the `Oohs` and the `Aahs` of the adoring tourists, or it may have been the sight of his hat stuffed full of Thai Baht, but from that moment on Tim Aitken developed a performance itch that just couldn`t be scratched!
Under the adoring gaze of younger brother Sam, Tim started busking. Firstly around the Aitken`s hometown of Caloundra, but then as confidence grew, across the whole of Queensland`s beautiful Sunshine Coast from Growers Markets in Noosa, to School carnivals in Maroochydore. If there was a crowd to be entertained, Tim would set up and perform.
Tim knew that performing was his calling, but he also knew that something vital was missing. He won a busking competition and with the prize money bought his younger brother Sam his first Cajon; (Peruvian box drum in case you were wondering). With Sam in the line up, the young buskers spent every weekday learning new songs off the radio and every weekend using these pop hits to transform street corners into their own stadium gigs. They lifted their act, they got good and developed something of a reputation. On a number of occasions the boys fell foul of the local constabulary as police were called to break up the huge crowds that had stopped to watch their performances.
They came up with a band name; Hoo8Hoo and started writing their own songs. They performed further afield (Brisbane, Gold Coast) and they entered (and won) many busking competitions which carried all manner of incredible prizes; most notably a recording session with world renowned producer Nick DiDia, and a slot on the Byron Bay Blues festival, handing the boys the record as the Blues Fest`s youngest ever performers.
Somewhere along the way Sam and Tim realized that if you want to make it in the entertainment industry you need to develop a little bit of (but not too much) bare faced cheek. The boys used these new skills to great effect, firstly asking Brisbane Council for permission to busk for the fans waiting in line to see the Passenger gig at Brisbane River stage. They got more than they bargained for as Mike Rosenberg arriving for his show, watched the boys perform and was so impressed he invited them backstage, giving his fellow buskers some great advice. He even dedicated a song to the lads. Quite a night!
Next up it was `Project Ed`. How to get to play outside of Ed Sheeran`s sell out Suncorp Stadium show? Easy, Ed`s a good guy, just email him and ask! The approval they received back from the king of all buskers meant that Tim and Sam were the first buskers ever to be given approval to perform outside of the iconic stadium.
It was this same youthful fearlessness that drove Sam and Tim to Facebook stalk the cast of Channel Nine`s `Today Show` when they showed up on the Sunshine coast for an outside broadcast. They boys worked out which local hotel the cast were staying in then high tailed it down to the foyer and started busking in case Karl, Lisa or Richard were to pop out for a evening stroll.
Their instincts were spot on; Karl and Richard noticed them, watched them, then invited them to perform on the show the following morning. A golden lesson for all budding entertainers.
As Hoo8Hoo grew their repertoire of original material they also filled out their sound. They added a bass and a guitarist. Tim moved effortlessly between Guitar and keyboards and Sam progressed onto a stand up cocktail drum kit ensuring that the two Aitken boys were always front and centre. The big signature sound for Hoo8Hoo however became Tim and Sam`s pristine harmonies that transformed melodies into glorious moments.
While still devoting time to busking on their beloved street corners the band also started performing in proper recognised venues.
Throughout these years of musical self discovery and budding success, Tim and Sam were constantly reminded by their parents that they were leading a fortunate life and that a lot of other children were not as lucky. They played a multitude of charity events each year and recently decided to set up their own charitable foundation called Kids For Kids. In September 2016 Tim and Sam staged a concert at Sunshine Coast`s Aussie World which raised $20,000
for two local families with sick children. Not bad for a couple of lads aged 14 and 17!
Around this time the band attracted the attention of former music executive and TV personality Ian `Dicko` Dickson.
`I`m so impressed by the ease at which melody flows from the boys,` explains Dicko. ` It is as though music is in their blood. It`s their life support system. The sibling harmonies are glorious and their original songs are so mature for their age. They have a folk honesty which is merged with this slick blue eyed soul sound. It`s really fresh.`
Dicko formed Manboomen Management along with Tim and Sam`s father Tony Aitken and signed the boys up.
`Tony Aitken has done a remarkable job with his sons` Says Dicko `It is due to his hard work, encouragement and musical instincts that the boys stand on the edge of an incredible career as musicians and songwriters. I feel very fortunate to be part of Tim and Sam`s wonderful story`.
Tim and Sam are young. Tim just turned 18 and aged 15, Sam has just started year 10. Their talent is undeniable but their managers insist that patience is the key to a successful career in music.
To this end, they have decided that 2017 will be about developing the boy`s songwriting and taking their live performances up a couple of notches.
A big factor in helping to develop Tim and Sam`s impressive songwriting talents is the fact that the band has just signed a long term deal with Publishing giants Sony/ATV.
`If you want to have a stella music career then you have to write great songs` says Dicko. `The team at Sony/ATV are the best in the business at developing young writing talent and as the largest publishing group in the world can throw some scary big names into the collaboration process. This will be a very exciting year for us!`
Sam and Tim have decided that the name Hoo8Hoo belongs to an earlier passage of their lives, and the new chapter they are about to write needs a new name.