Cobourg, Ont. band Gentlemen Husbands just released their debut EP, House of Cards, but is a band who knows what they want.
In fact, the band’s Derrick Ballard can’t quite understand why some bands shun success as their careers progresses.
We’ve seen it time and again with countless acts over the course of the last 50 years. Anonymous band from any given community becomes successful and either records a less commercial followup or decries the success it’s been afforded.
It raises an all-important question: If, as a band, you were content to have your music heard by a select group of people in your hometown, why on earth would you take measures to afford yourself greater success, such as touring or releasing records? It is not an easy answer by any means but one that Ballard, performing with Gentlemen Husbands as the support act for Matthew Good at Casino New Brunswick next Wednesday night, is happy to share his opinion on.
“I feel as though bands that say that they don’t want fame don’t quite understand what it is all about,” he says. “When you’re a kid, you want to be a rock star and then as you grow up, you realize you’d love to be able to make a living doing what you love. If the opportunity is there and you can find a way to make a living at it, I don’t get why bands think it is shameful to be successful.
“The way we see it, you don’t have to compromise your integrity to be successful. There are plenty of natural draws for every band that get people to listen to your music in the first place.”
Remaining true to themselves is something that Gentlemen Husbands can proudly boast. This doesn’t mean that the group didn’t take their time to define their sound and identity as a group. The band came together approximately six or seven years ago when Ballard, writing original acoustic music, crossed paths with the members who would eventually comprise Gentlemen Husbands.
“The other guys were in a hardcore band, playing heavy stuff. It was a scene I had kind of extracted myself from but the four of us had become friends through different band connections.”
To move from being a hard-core band into something slightly more palatable (in the form of a modern rock group) is quite a musical shift and is one that was not necessarily an overnight revelation.
“I think they kind of realized that playing hard-core music was really performing for a niche market and even the biggest bands in the genre were only reaching so many people. More than that, however, I think it is more a matter of their musical tastes having matured. I don’t think they would be able to physically play hard core anymore,” he laughs.
The four songs that make up Gentlemen Husband’s House of Cards were recorded and produced by Gavin Brown (Billy Talent, Barenaked Ladies). Asked what Brown had to contribute to the making of the record as producer, Ballard says the producer’s approach to songwriting included getting back to basics before they even laid a note down on the record.
“We ended up spending several days going through our songs acoustically, wanting to ensure that they made sense,” Ballard says. “When it came time to track the record, Gavin was very hands on in terms of tones and the sounds we were getting. Working with Gavin was a bit of a learning curve for us. We learned a lot from him but also learned a lot about ourselves too.”
What: Gentlemen Husbands, special guests of Matthew Good
When: Wednesday Oct. 16, 8 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Drive, Moncton
Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 on day of the show. Advance tickets are available at the Casino Gift Shop, by phone at 1-866-943-8849 and online at www.casinonb.ca