Hedley weathering the Storms

Since their self-titled album was released in 2004, British Columbia’s Hedley has been one of Canada’s most consistent success stories.

In the past eight years, the group has earned 15 Juno nominations and has sold more than 550,000 records in Canada alone. In 2010, influential music industry outlet Pollstar included the band in their list of the Top 100 tours of 2010.

After needing to postpone their Moncton show back in March because of frontman Jacob Hoggard’s throat troubles, Hedley takes the stage at the Moncton Coliseum on Wednesday night. Show time is 7 p.m.

Hedley’s latest record Storms, released late last year, could not have been more appropriately named. While arguably one of the group’s most melodic records, a significant amount of strife found its way into the studio. As Hedley guitarist Dave Rosin recounts, it wasn’t so much band conflicts as personal life changes that some of their members were dealing with.

“Some of the guys in the band were faced with some pretty grim situations as we headed into the studio to make Storms,” Rosin says. “And even though it wasn’t strife internal to the band, I think each of us had to learn to rely on the guys in the band. I think that the whole record touches upon what everybody in the world goes through with life. You have friends that get sick, you lose family members, new family members are introduced; all these things ultimately affect people’s emotions and I think with Storms we wanted to show people that even if you’re feeling like you are knocked down, you have to get back up.”

Asked if the group was concerned that Storms was too honest of a record in the respect that perhaps they were letting fans see “too much” of the personal side of the group, Rosin states that it had never really crossed their minds. He says that while front-man and lyricist Hoggard had some recurring themes running through the songs on Storms, the group had never intentionally set out to make a concept record.

“Storms is definitely one of the most personal and emotional records we have made,” he says. “I think that Jacob always tries to put a bit of himself in each of the songs and wanted to show that no matter who you are or where you are in the world, you are going to encounter a lot of speed bumps through life.”

With music fans tastes in the present day changing as often as the weather does here in the Maritimes, Rosin expresses much gratitude that Hedley fans have stood by them over the past eight years. As the sound of some bands evolves over the course of their career, they are not always fortunate enough to keep their core group of fans. Not only has Hedley kept that core happy, they have continued to attract new fans with each record.

“I like to think that we are the type of band that will always continue to build. From day one, people welcomed us with open arms and we are extremely lucky for that. Despite how fickle the business can be from one year to the next, we have the chance to play to great crowds in arenas right across the country and it’s all because of our fans. We owe a lot to our fans.”

While Hedley’s songs have continued to evolve over the past eight years, so has their live show. Recalling that one of the first Hedley shows in Moncton was at the Capitol Theatre, the group has a much bigger catalogue of material to draw from when it comes to putting together their live show. Although some bands devise a set list at the start of their tour and never stray from it, Rosin says that tweaking their set list by adding and removing songs helps to keep things fresh for the band.

“When we are putting together our live show, we love trying to figure out how to present some of our material differently. We find it is a lot of fun to simply have fun with our songs and breathe new life into them. We are not the type of band that wants to do the same thing over and over every night. We would never want our fans to walk away from a live show thinking that we are just a bunch of guys on stage that aren’t interested in giving less than 110 per cent when it comes to our live show.

“The hardest part about putting our set list together every night is trying to narrow down an exact set list, especially after you release a new record. You want to expose people to that new material but you don’t want to completely neglect the songs that helped put us on that stage. I think we have found a way to balance things out and give the best of all worlds. We’re packing a lot of music into the two hours that we are on stage and we couldn’t be happier. I think our fans are in for a bit of a treat.”

Article published in May 28, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript