Go east, young band. Go east. You could say that this has been the rallying cry for Ontario natives (and now proud Newfoundland residents) the Burning Hell. Led by Mathias Kom, his reason for bucking the trend of moving from east to west is a relatively simple one: the kindness shown to him by residents of St. John’s, N.L.
Kom, who will be performing at George’s Roadhouse in Sackville next Thursday evening, told the Times & Transcript earlier this week it was that kindness that prompted the group’s move from Ontario three years ago.
“We had been travelling to Newfoundland quite a bit since we started touring in 2007-08. We just ended up falling in love with the city and decided to not leave,” Kom says. “There are so many reasons why we love the city but first and foremost it was the people. From the very first show we played here, we have met so many incredible people. It seems like not a day goes by that we aren’t just amazed with the city.”
Picking up stakes and relocating to a new city isn’t as daunting as some might perceive it to be, especially for a group like the Burning Hell. The indie-pop-rock band has relentlessly toured Canada and Europe in the past six years. It was actually in Europe last year that the group seized some downtime to head into the studio to make the latest record, People.
“There was a month of our tour that overlapped with the Euro Cup. It was a terrible time to try to be playing shows because no one wants to see live music when they could be watching soccer,” he says.
“We ended up hooking up with a couple of producers and made the record at a nice leisurely pace. With the Euro Cup, we couldn’t really do anything for the month of June anyway so that gave us the push to go into the studio and get the record done.”
Immediately after recording People, the Burning Hell set about breaking a unique kind of record. The group embarked on a whirlwind 24-hour tour that saw them play 10 shows in 10 countries through Europe. Kom says the idea behind their ambitious undertaking stemmed from the summer of 2011, when the group realized it had unintentionally played four shows in a few different countries over the course of a day.
“It’s hard to convince someone to book a show for you at six in the morning,” Kom jokes. “But for the most part, the shows were all held in pretty standard places; bars, we played one show in a record store, another in an outdoor venue and a castle in Slovenia. It was cool to say that we did it but it isn’t really anything we’re interested in taking on again.”
The group has done a significant amount of touring through Europe, something Kom anticipates continuing with the release of People. He says while the Burning Hell still always enjoy touring Canada, the long drives between major cities can work against what makes the most sense for a band.
“It didn’t take me too long to get over the excitement of driving across Canada. We have an absolutely beautiful country. We love it and love everywhere we have played. But to pile in a van and drive for eight hours to the next show can be great sometimes and completely exhausting other times. That’s how it is when you’re driving across the second-largest country in the world. It can be hard to make ends meet.
“We are definitely doing more and more work in Europe. The treatment and the audience response that we are given there is quite lovely. I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject but I think that a lot of parts of Europe have a culture of music appreciation that has been lost in Canada. We are very fortunate to have met some really great people and promoters in Europe that make sure that the band is playing to an audience.”
Article published in the April 19, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript