Hollerado Still Feel Like They Were Born Yesterday
After a decade together Hollerado have been around the block, and things were getting repetitive. So after a few years off, which consisted of non-stop work to refresh their sound, they finally managed to make things feel fresh with their new record Born Yesterday. After a stepping stone record that never came out, more work with their Royal Mountain Records label, and non-stop work they've finally gotten to where they want to be. We sat down with singer and guitarist Menno Versteeg to talk about their work ethic label and just how they'll be relaxing after their upcoming gig at the Bronson Centre on May 12.
Ottawa Life: Born Yesterday sounds more poppy and polished than your last records, was this where you felt your sound was going or were you guys trying to find something new and landed here?
Menno Versteeg: I think maybe we just learned to tighten up our song writing chops. Learned to trim the fat a little bit more and take less detours. The other thing is our ear always go to the catchiest stuff, that's what we all like. We wrote so many songs for this record with catchy stuff to pick from that the songs that made the record had that catchy sound. We wanted to scale it back more from the higher production of our last record and "Firefly." This one we wanted to sound like four guys playing in a room together.
I know you guys also wrote a pop record initially and then sunk into the rock side, so is Born Yesterday a shift on that record or did you guys throw out a lot of material?
We have a whole record that didn't come out. A couple songs evolved and made it to this record but basically after we finished the first crack at it we just kept going. We settled into our groove that we're a rock band and want to play guitar and we don't want to necessarily sound like the sound of the moment, because guitars definitely aren't the song of the moment these days, but it's what we like best so we stuck with it.
Has this change made the band feel fresh again for you guys? Did anything else contribute to this?
Yeah it gave us that feeling which is why we decided to call it and that song "Born Yesterday."
Does it feel kind of surreal to play Grief Money now even though it was written without the context of Donald trump and more about someone like him?
Those kind of people have always existed throughout history unfortunately. I can't wait until this planet is ruled by women. But those kind of greedy men trying to assert their will over less powerful people has been a theme since the dawn of human history. Playing that song I have that feeling of anger and vinegar that the song is about. I love playing that song because it gives us a boost of energy and sense of why we're doing this.
There was definitely quite the break between records this time, did this have to do with trying to shift the sound or was that just a result after you guys leaned back on the writing after so long?
We didn't want to put out just another record, we didn't take a minute off. We're more tired from working now that we're going to take some time off this summer because we've spent so much time on the record prepping it and touring it, it'll be the first summer off since we started the band. We just wanted to keep honing these songs til they were the best statement of where we were now in our lives.
How has Toronto shaped you since leaving Ottawa?
I like to feel that it hasn't changed us too much, that we're still the kids from Manotick with a small town outlook, and I mean that in a good way because there's crappy small town outlooks. When we first moved to Toronto we tried to make friends with our neighbours and none of our neighbours wanted to make friends with us. It's more competitive, especially in the creative field. In places like Ottawa it's so small there's no sh*t-talking because you're all in it together, but here there's definitely factions and one band can't stand this band. We try and stay out of it but it's hard to not get caught up.
You guys started Royal Mountain Records quite some time ago, what's your proudest accomplishment form the label so far?
I love that we've been able to help out bands that we love. Recently we've been able to sign some more established acts but from the beginning and now it's about finding a band that's a diamond in the rough or formed and amazing but doesn't have the attention yet. We help them get some money, and some gigs to get their feet of the ground and see what happens. When you see what they do you can't help but feel kinda satisfied.
Where do you hope to take it?
Just keep working with bands we love. I have no expectations, things can change at the drop of a hat. The business evolves so much you never where you'll be in a year. I definitely intend to try and listen to all the good music I can, try and help out and see what happens.
Do you ever worry it interferes with the band?
When the label started it was just me, the guys and our manager, and we had some help. It's gotten bigger and busier, we've hired people, and our GM has really started running things. It's taken the pressure of me to juggle the band and it.
What's next for you guys besides the tour?
In the fall we're going to be touring Europe and the U.S. and the rest of the world to promote the record, but it'll be nice to take a break the summer. We're definitely the best we've ever been playing as a band, even though I know it's not very indie-rock to say.
Don't forget to check out Hollerado with PS I Love You and Everett Bird at the Bronson Centre on May 12.