Sleep deprived, perhaps, but jovial nonetheless. And really, why shouldn’t he be?
Formed while its band members were still in school, Down With Webster and their mix of rock, hip hop, funk and more have snuck into the Canadian pop consciousness with their infectious hits like Rich Girl$, and Your Man and Whoa Is Me, the group has sold more than a quarter of a million digital downloads in Canada alone.
As a part of Moncton’s Canada Day celebrations on Sunday, Down With Webster will be performing in downtown Moncton. The show gets under way at 5 p.m.
Before Down With Webster even had a release to their credit, the group was routinely selling out shows throughout southern Ontario. As word of mouth buzz spread about the group, it wasn’t long before a string of labels started nipping at their heels, eager to get their piece of the pie.
Among those clamouring to work with the band before they signed to Universal-Motown Records in April 2009 was mega-producer Timbaland as well as KISS mastermind Gene Simmons. But having nurtured and worked their hardest to bring the band to the level they had on their own, Hunter insists that the band was not readily eager to hand over the reins of the band to anyone else, no matter how famous the suitors were.
‘I think each of us felt that it was more important for the band to chart the course that felt right for us,’ Hunter says. ‘We’ve been doing this since we were 12 years old so the band has always kind of been our baby and we simply didn’t want to give it over to someone else. It was our general thought that popular musicians make great music but we just weren’t sure about being business partners with them. We didn’t want Down With Webster to become known as the band that Gene Simmons or Timbaland signed. We wanted to stand on our own.’ After the group’s eventual signing to their current label, both the label and the band wanted to get product to market as soon as possible to help capitalize on their rising stock. This resulted in the group’s label debut Time To Win, Volume 1, be released in October 2009. The seven-song EP spawned three Top 10 hits and a #1 video on Muchmusic in addition to securing a 2010 Juno Nomination for Best New Artist.
Hunter shares that the unexpected success of Time To Win kept the band busy for the following 18 months thus somewhat happily delaying the release of Time To Win, Volume 2. Although the band had intended to release the follow-up to Volume 1 in a more timely manner, Hunter reflects that waiting to release Volume 2 was probably the best thing that the band could have done.
‘In retrospect, I am very glad we waited to release Volume 2 because the songs got better but we also matured as performers,’ he says.
‘Some of the songs had changed quite a bit compared to the first time we had written them while the ‘extra’ time also gave us the opportunity to meet and work with new people.’ Hunter shares that in between Down With Webster shows this coming summer, the band intends to start writing the follow-up to Time To Win, Volume 2.
So far, the band is not working off any timeline to have the record completed. Coming up with the right mix of songs is the group’s biggest concern at the moment and is one they are not willing to compromise.
‘We are in complete free-fall at the moment, in some ways,’ Hunter says. ‘Just like our previous records, this next record is on us right now so however long it takes is how long it takes. We would love to have something out as soon as possible but the songs have to come first and foremost. If the songs aren’t there, we aren’t going to force the process for the sake of getting something released.’
Article published in June 29, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript