With their new album La 4ième dimension finally on store shelves, fans of Moncton-based band Les Hay Babies can breathe a little easier.
After all, it seemed like not all that long ago, the trio – Katrine Noel, Julie Aube and Vivianne Roy – confirmed its intention to take a step back from the stage following a gruelling first few years during which time the band released Folio, its debut EP, as well as the full-length effort Mon Homesick Heart.
Throw in a seemingly endless run of tour dates, and you’ve got a potential recipe for undoing all of the band’s hard work via an unceremonious burnout.
“There was never any intention to permanently walk away from the group,” Noel clarifies. “We just needed to take a bit of a breather to focus on other projects for a period of time.”
Noel and Aube decided to use their time away from the group to take a complete left turn from music, opening the retro-inspired retail store OK My Dear on Mountain Road in Moncton.
Roy continued creating music, however, and used the break from Les Hay Babies to craft an indie-rock inspired EP and album under the stage name of Laura Sauvage, subsequently touring throughout Canada and Europe.
Ironically, Noel says the group remained consistently busy throughout its self-imposed break.
“I don’t really remember there being much of a break at all,” she notes, laughing. “It was a bit of a transitional time for the band as we had secured a new booking agent who would preface all his messages with, ‘I know you’re on a break, but you’ve got an offer to play…’ and it would be this really great venue that we had on our radar.”
Despite the lack of a full-fledged break from the band, Noel insists that being afforded the opportunity to concentrate on other endeavours, even for a short period of time, helped restore the group’s outlook and enthusiasm for what they have created.
“Over the span of a few years, we had maybe had a month off at maximum. Dialing back on our tour schedule somewhat allowed us time to spend with our families and focus on other things. There was never any doubt about whether the band would pick back up though; music is all we know. It’s something we love doing together. We just needed to catch our breath.”
Since forming in 2011, Les Hay Babies, as well as their audience, has grown by leaps and bounds, evolving from their early incarnation as a somewhat shy acoustic trio to embracing a broad pallet of sound with their latest record.
To help relight the creative fire between the three of them, Noel shares they rented a cottage for 10 days this past March. In addition to consuming copious amounts of Kit Kat chocolate bars and Cheetos, the time spent together also resulted in the creation of nine new songs.
From there, the band decamped to Studio Wild, located in the remote Quebec wilderness of St-Zenon, approximately two hours north of Montreal where they cut the bulk of the album’s 13 tracks in a speedy nine days.
Noel says the recording process was intense, but is confident the band is finding their sweet spot in regards to how its music is progressing.
“I know it sounds cliché, but the new album is the record we are most proud of, primarily because it reflects the personalities in the band. I like to look at each of our albums as little snapshots of where we were at that given time,” she says.
Unlike previous records, Noel says the group didn’t have the benefit of having road-tested their new songs before heading into the studio, noting it helped add an element of excitement and spontaneity to the overall recording process.
“With this record, we’ve introduced synths and other instruments into the mix for the first time. We’ve put the banjo, acoustic guitar and ukulele aside for this new album. It has been a fun, challenging process, but also incredibly rewarding.”
What: Les Hay Babies release show for La 4ième dimension
When: Friday Oct. 21, 9 p.m.
Where: The Tide & Boar Ballroom, 700 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $25 each. Advance tickets are available online at www.tideandboar.com