Friday, 19 November 2010
Hedged at The Rock Pile Bar (Nov. 12th) - an interview by Charmaine Santos
Despite the heavy fog that shrouded Etobicoke’s sullen evening sky, the hushed streets were revived as the roads trembled from the colossal reverb that echoed through the walls of The Rock Pile Bar on Dundas Street West. The cause: Saskatchewan’s own Hedged demonstrating that their music cannot be contained in small spaces. It seems fitting then that the small city brothers who formed Hedged, Colton and Cheston Schultz (Ches), would pack their gear, leave Saskatoon behind in their tracks, and move to the big city of Toronto.
Hedged’s 13-track debut album, Serving Time, has been hailed by Canadian and international admirers since its ‘08 release, and with new tracks soon to be released as an EP, the band is ready to once again give their fans more music to rock out to. This time, however, they’re emerging with a greater rumble as they welcome Calgary’s own Kadie Ziemski (Kez) as their new drummer. With the support of family and friends, Hedged aspires to thrive on a solid foundation sustained by an unwavering familial support and a camaraderie deepened by their love for music. Hedged’s music will undoubtedly proliferate the music scene as they continue to conquer each stage to cross their paths. This young band is only at its beginning, and their pursuit for fame is unrelenting.
Hedged will be performing at Toronto’s El Mocambo on November 25, 2010. Doors open at 8pm, and the show begins at 9pm with a $5 cover charge.
Listen to their music by checking out their myspace site and by becoming a fan on facebook.
TTQ - As kids growing up under the same roof, was forming a rock band a dream that you wanted to accomplish together?
CHES: Colton and I grew up with our dad playing in a blues band, and we toured on the road with him. About six or seven years ago, we started Hedged. We played at the Taste of Chaos festival in ’08, and we were in the Vans Warped Tour in ‘09. We also toured with Ill Scarlett. When we came to Toronto for Indie Week in ‘08, we decided to move here because we loved the music scene. At that time, we were also looking for a new drummer. We met Kez, and we found out that she’s also from the west. We were looking for a drummer, and she was looking for a band. We got together, jammed, and it was awesome.
KEZ: We’ve become really close and are practically inseparable now. Three years ago, I was determined to find the right band and after meeting Colton and Ches, we all knew that we were meant to cross paths. We’re very serious and dedicated to Hedged. They’ve been like family to me. They’re such talented musicians and they’ve taught me a great deal.
TTQ - How is the music scene in Toronto different from the one in Saskatoon?
COLTON: There are more people here. We outdid what we could do in Saskatoon. We had a lot of people come to our shows and everyone knew us. We wanted to go into a city where there are more opportunities for upcoming bands.
TTQ - How did you come up with the name Hedged, and what does it mean?
COLTON: Hedged is basically a surrounding or a protection of fans and family. It’s everyone who makes you who you are. Like a guardian or a protector.
CHES: It’s very important to be protected by who you are and where you come from in this business.
TTQ - As siblings, how would you define your working relationship? Are you catty like the Gallagher brothers, or are you supportive of one another like Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughan?
CHES: We’re more like the Vaughan brothers. We work really well together, and we think alike. Stevie Ray Vaughan is actually one of our biggest influences growing up. Colton and I were always covering his songs. We’re actually playing Pride and Joy tonight!
TTQ - Hedged was originally a 3-man band. Your recent change in members welcomed Kez as the new drummer. Now, being in a band is like being in a committed relationship as each person brings something to the table. How has the addition of a new member altered the overall working dynamic of the group? Has it changed the band’s sound?
COLTON: Ches and I guide the band’s direction, since we were the ones who started it. It’s always been him and I working on this project. We tried to put together a four-piece band before by getting another guitar player, but it didn’t work out because they wanted to do their own thing and we had our own ideas. With Kez as our drummer, our band has definitely grown. Two or three years ago, our sound was very different. You’ll hear the difference between our first album and the songs that we’re releasing now. We work really well together.
CHES: There’s maturity to our sound now and our songs are more put together.
TTQ - Hedged may be labeled as a hard rock band, but you have shown with songs like Secret Identity and By The Way, that your music is very flexible as you break out into a funk bass line and give listeners an aural taste of your acoustic guitar. This break from the monotonous style that we expect a specific genre to follow makes a band unique. Who has inspired this adaptability in your sound throughout the years? Who are your musical influences?
COLTON: We’re into bands like 3 Days Grace, Illscarlett, and Disturbed. One of our biggest musical influences would be Breaking Benjamin as well.
KEZ: I grew up listening to a lot classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Iron Maiden (who I love), and Rush. Drummers like Neil Peart (of course), Keith Moon, Danny Carry, and Mike Portnoy have influenced me greatly.
TTQ - If you had the chance to collaborate with any musician, dead or alive, who would they be? What do you hope to extract from their genius?
CHES: We’d like to collaborate with Breaking Benjamin, because our style of writing is pretty close.
COLTON: If we had the chance to sit down and write something together, we would produce something crazy. Breaking Benjamin has a great melodic, straightforward sound. Combined with our writing, we’d bring out the best in each others music.
TTQ - When it comes to the process of creating music, what comes first: the music or the lyrics? What’s your writing process like?
COLTON: Music comes first.
CHES: Our process goes like this: we start with the guitar, then the bass, drums, a melody line, and vocals. Vocals come last. Whatever we feel from the music would influence the lyrics. We've tried writing the lyrics first, but it doesn’t work for us.
TTQ - When do you plan on releasing your second album?
COLTON: Our next release is going to be like an EP. We have five new songs that we’re very excited to put out. We were thinking about making download cards, because we want to release them to the public. We were initially thinking of making flashcards, but we’re short for cash right now. What we've decided to do is put out our old album and include the download card with our new songs in it.
CHES: Afterwards, we’ll release the flashcard. It will have our videos, lyrics, and songs in it.
TTQ - Many musicians and music enthusiasts shun the idea of downloading songs and albums online because not only has it decreased sales, it also seems inauthentic. However, there are bands like Radiohead, for example, who intentionally ‘leaked’ In Rainbows online before putting out the tangible album. Now, as up and coming musicians, what are your thoughts on using the web as a means of exposure? How has it helped or hindered your music?
COLTON: Online media has helped us tremendously. People have picked up our music online and have spread it around. In Europe, we have a bigger fan base there than we do here, and we’ve never been there. On YouTube, people put our stuff up with our logo and our songs. All of this is happening without us actively marketing. We even have a mini-street team to promote Hedged in Europe.
CHES: Yes, Germany, Wales, England … eventually, that’s where we want to head out on tour.
TTQ - Which album(s) do you currently have on heavy rotation, and which musicians would you suggest for listeners to check out?
COLTON: Listen to Sevendust and Breaking Benjamin. They’re some of our favorite bands at the moment.
CHES: We also like Sumlin, Brownie, and other blues oldies like Howlin’ Wolf...
COLTON: Actually, our parents built a bar out of a two car garage for Howlin’ Wolf on our acreage in Saskatoon. We used to jam there all the time! We really grew up with the blues.
TTQ - Do you have any last words for The Toronto Quarterly readers and your fans?
HEDGED: Watch out for us, because we’re slamming down this city fast!
Listen to One Night to Groove by Hedged.