So you flip through the TV channels in South Africa and that catchy tune comes up in one of the TV adverts – “I can do anything”, you find yourself singing with, perhaps asking yourself “Who the fuck does this song?” You don’t have to Shazam it – it is done by Hedley. We flew the way to Canada over the interwebs to have a few words with Dave Rosin, their guitarist.
Griff: Between you guys, you probably have enough tattoos to refill a school of ink fish. Any tattoos that you maybe regret having done or would have done differently or not at all?
Dave: I’ve got nothing that I’m ashamed to display on my body and have only covered up one piece. Not because it wasn’t a rad tattoo, but it was taking up precious real estate for larger works.
Griff: You guys performed at the closing ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. How does that differ from a gig at a stadium or as part of your life on the road?
Dave: It’s not everyday you rehearse for a gig and see Neil Young playing to an empty 60,000 cap arena in front of a lit Olympic Torch. Also, probably the most intense security checks and clearances I’ve had to go through. That didn’t stop us from bringing a torch of our own to light up après show.
Griff: Which type of gig do you prefer? Big stadiums, smaller clubs or “secret” pop-up type surprise events?
Dave: Stadiums are fun because you bring all the video and lights along for the ride! Creating a giant spectacle with a few thousand people singing along is a rush. That being said, we started in clubs and still love getting back to basics. Intimate places can brew a different energy especially if it is a secret show filled with die-hard fans singing at the top of their lungs.
Griff: Name some of the weirdest items you have received from crazed fans.
Dave: “Date Night In A Bag” consisting of flowers, candles, wine and a DVD copy of Sleepless In Seattle.
Lots of great baked goods come our way. Our crew and local hands are great at helping us not leave anything to waste.
We’re so blown away by all the good humans that are Hedley fans and wouldn’t be a band without that support.
Griff: Do you in some way feel like you have to represent Canada as it seems to be the case with smaller countries outside the US? I don’t get that feeling from American bands or artists.
Dave: We are proud to be Canadian and enjoy talking to people about where we call home. When traveling, we love to experience the local customs and cultures. Maybe that’s how we represent our country, respecting the differences that make this world unique.
Griff: Was it very hard to break into the international market and do you feel that you need to work harder at it because you’re in some sense competing more on an American level (because of proximity) than let’s say Britain or Europe?
Dave: Playing music together is fun and hope we can hit all points of this globe doing just that. Wild Life is an important record to us, so it feels great knowing this is our most wide spread release to date. You’ve always got to work hard as a band regardless of where you call home.
Griff: Your “anthemic” type songs seem to lean more towards the rock genre than pop – do you agree and do you feel that you guys would at some stage lean more towards a certain element of your music? Metallica for instance became more “accessible” in the last 30 years because of their shift and I guess “growth”.
Dave: We’ve always focused on good songs and over the past years and 5 records have strived to grow and always are searching out new ground musically. If we’re leaning it’s probably cause we just put back a few cold ones.
Griff: I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like the Quietest Concert (as far as live music is concerned anyway). Who came up with this idea? Is it based on something that has already been done (which I am unaware of) or was it a shot in the dark?
Dave: The Quietest Concert was a combined effort between Hedley, The CBC, Sennheiser and the Parks Board of Canada. I’d heard of silent dance parties, but a silent rock show in the middle of the mountains was a first for us. We debuted Wild Life to a field of headphone clad winners without disturbing any squirrels or mountain goats. The crowd was the loudest part.
Griff: Was the song Headphones specifically written for the concept or was it the other way around?
Dave: Happy coincidence. I love that track; to me it’s about music making everything better.
Griff: Still with The Quietest Concert – any plans for another innovative way to bring music to your fans? Perhaps all the band members playing together in different corners of the same venue / town with a stream linking it up?
Dave: Thats a cool idea! We jammed with a fan online just recently. She had done a great cover version of “Crazy for You” so we teamed up during a Google Chat with a bunch of fans. I’ve always wanted to do a jam party. Get together and do a song while eating good nachos. You write, record, eat and party.
Griff: People buy less and less “physical” music like CDs but at the same time LPs are increasing in popularity in sales. Physical mediums need visual attraction. What makes for a great album cover and if you had to release “Wild Life” on LP, would the design of the album cover be influenced otherwise?
Dave: A great album cover is an extension of the work put into the music. I think Sgt. Peppers is a visual eye candy while the simplicity of The Black Album is equally fitting. We created the Wild Life Cover using light painting out at the Scarborough Bluffs in Ontario, Canada. I’d want to get some multi-colour vinyl happening if we release on wax. Our last album we went the picture disc route.
Griff: What is your a) immediate future plans and b) your 5 year plan? Everyone has a 5 year plan, right?
Dave: Immediate plan is to finish a handful of shows this year and keep working on new tunes. We just keep recording, rehearsing and touring so the 5 year plan keeps moving with us day by day. Setting new goals keeps you looking ahead.
Griff: If I think Canada, I think Justin Bieber, maple syrup and snow. What else is there?
Dave: I’m not a mind reader so thinking what you’re thinking might be a bit out of my area of expertise. But if your picturing toques, hockey and beavers too….I may have to switch professions.