If you exclude the 2012 holiday-themed release, A Cup of Kindness Yet, it has been four years between studio records for Newfoundland indie-rock band Hey Rosetta – an eternity in the music business.
In the group’s defence, however, they’ve been a little busy over the past few years. Their 2011 record Seeds garnered the band attention around the world. Here at home, they were short-listed for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize while also earning their first Juno Award nomination and a performance slot on the Juno telecast.
Hey Rosetta also embarked upon an extensive international tour schedule that saw them travel across the United States while also venturing into the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia.
But with the release of their third full-length effort Second Sight this past October, Hey Rosetta ended the long drought between albums.
Just before Christmas, the group performed their annual holiday show in their hometown of St. John’s, which this year also served as a celebration of their newest studio release. Upwards of 5,000 people took in the show, a true testament to the group’s appeal.
“It was undoubtedly one of the biggest headlining shows we have performed so far,” Hey Rosetta’s Josh Ward says. “We totally went over the top with some cool lighting and having a children’s choir join us on stage.
“These days, we are primarily a touring band and don’t perform in St. John’s much at all. That makes it even more important to go the extra mile for the hometown crowd when we do play.”
Asked if there is additional pressure when performing before a hometown crowd, which inevitably includes family and friends, Ward says that the group doesn’t let those pressures overwhelm them.
“There is maybe a little bit of pressure at the outset of the show but, the enthusiasm of both the audience as well as the band carries us through any potential jitters,” he says. “The whole vibe of the holiday show is excellent. The crowd is happy and, this past year, were especially rowdy.”
As for the new album, “The biggest reason for the delay between records was the fact that when Seeds was released, we worked that album forever,” Ward says. “We hadn’t really been in a position to think about writing and arranging new songs just because we had been in the touring mindset.”
“Not only that, however, but we also have a pretty exhaustive process when it comes to writing and arranging songs. We aren’t quite satisfied until we have run a song through every possible arrangement to ensure that we are exploring all possibilities.”
Then, when the group first finished the recording process for Second Sight, they realized that little of the material would find its way onto the radio.
Buoyed by the notion of writing a radio-friendly track, the group reconvened in the studio to create the album’s infectious first single, “Kintsukuroi.”
“Previous Hey Rosetta songs that have found their way onto the radio have been a symptom of cutting down an existing song rather than writing a song from scratch,” Josh says. “It is not that we have deliberately avoided writing radio-friendly songs in the past, it was just the way that our songs have come out when we put our heads together. It was an exciting challenge to sit down and know we had to be very concise with where we took the song within the constraints of a three and a half minute song.
“We didn’t necessarily have trouble coming up with a single. It was simply something that we hadn’t done on our previous albums. When the song was done and we listened back to it, each of us were really happy with the way ‘Kintsukuroi’ turned out,” he says.
Following their performance at the Tide & Boar ballroom this Friday night, Hey Rosetta will journey down to the United States for shows in Maine, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey before returning to Moncton and other Maritime cities toward the end of the month.
Hey Rosetta will then serve as the supporting act for acclaimed indie-rock band Stars throughout the remainder of its Canadian tour, as well as in select shows in the United States.
What: Hey Rosetta
When: Friday, Jan. 16, 9 p.m.
Where: Tide & Boar Ballroom, 700 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $31.25. Advance tickets are available online at www.tideandboar.com/music