I first met Dearly Beloved’s Rob Higgins in 1997 when my band toured through Western Canada with Change of Heart, the group for whom he was playing bass at the time. While my musical aspirations have long since taken a back seat and though Change of Heart unfortunately disbanded at the end of ’97, Higgins has continued to be one busy dude. He has been a part of a few different projects since the late 90’s but perhaps the most dynamic of all of these bands (with all due respect to his other ventures) is Dearly Beloved.
Dearly Beloved’s sound is not an easy one to pinpoint. Owing as much to stoner rock as they do to the shoegaze and punk scenes, their latest record Hawk vs. Pigeon was birthed without any real intention for the songs.
To get some perspective on Hawk vs. Pigeon, let’s back track a couple of years.
In 2010, Dearly Beloved was set to unleash Make It Bleed via Anthem Records in Canada and Rounder in the United States. Just three weeks before release date, the band’s American booking agent bailed on them, leaving them, as Higgins puts it, “devoid of any tour dates in the US to support the record.”
Rather than mope around home about their misfortune, Higgins and his band mates decamped to Joshua Tree, California to do some recording with Dave Catching, which ended up inadvertently giving the band their newest record.
The MusicNerd Chronicles recently had the chance to chat with Dearly Beloved bassist-vocalist-nice guy RobHiggins about their new record:
Hawk vs. Pigeon sees you guys switching record labels. How much did the ball being dropped on you a couple of years ago lead you down this road?
Higgins: I think we simply came to realize that we weren’t in the same ball park with those we were working with. We performed some shows with Sloan as a part of their 20th anniversary tour and after we got home, it was tough to realize that we were the only ones really looking out for ourselves. It was tough to navigate because we didn’t know where we stood with different people.
Was recording Hawk vs. Pigeon more therapeutic than anything else in light of everything that was happening on the “business” side of the band?
Higgins: After our touring plans fell through, we decided to take that opportunity to go do something pure and creative. It was outside the realm of support from our label. We simply wanted to do something in the absence of our touring. It was such a gratifying experience to record there. As opposed to when we had wrapped up the tour with Sloan, we returned home from having recorded in Joshua Tree feeling like we had picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off.
Did the lack of specific plans on what to do with the songs you were recording totally change the atmosphere in the studio?
Higgins: The process was very informal and spontaneous. We would get a basic song arrangement down and then lay down the bed tracks and vocals. Then we would start all over and do it again. We have always felt as though the first 20 minutes of a rehearsal can end up producing some of the best material we could come up with and so that was the spirit that we used to guide us. We just really trusted our instincts and let these songs lead us.