Two Hours Traffic return from overseas adventures

Their most recent record Territory might be a year old but the Two Hours Traffic train continues to chug along. The Charlottetown-based pop band has been busy traveling the world and is headed to Metro Moncton to perform a show as a part of the Touchdown Atlantic Festivities on Saturday September 25 in Downtown Moncton.

Two Hours Traffic has been especially busy over the past few months, having played a month’s worth of shows in Australia this past June. According to guitarist Alec O’Hanley, it was a fantastic experience and one they hope to replicate when they head back Down Under in November.

“We played a lot of the major centres in Australia but also played some pretty regional outposts and rural places. It was a very good experience! We seemed to be able to win over crowds without too much arm twisting.” O’Hanley says.

“That’s the bonus about playing catchy pop music – it seems to be a universal language no matter where you happen to be playing. It is like a bridge between music aficionados.”

The group had traveled to Australia to help promote their Territory long player, which was released by ABC Records, a company that O’Hanley equates to the Universal Music Empire in North America.

“ABC has been very kind to us so far. They have their own retail stores there, which helps ensure that our records are actually in stores.”

In addition to their Australian stamps in their passports, the group very recently returned from a one-off show in Berlin, Germany. There, the group had the opportunity to play the prestigious Popkomm Music Festival alongside bands such as LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip and fellow Canuck Rich Aucoin. Bands are an integral part of the festival, which also includes music industry seminars and exhibitions.

O’Hanley jokes that it is a “little decadent” to travel to Germany for the sake of one show however they had their sights set on building their network of contacts for future use. In all respects, O’Hanley says the trip was a great success and they hope to return to Germany in the near future.

“We definitely hope to get back soon, it was a nice little taste of the country that we were given. It was really interesting to get there and play with such a grab bag of international acts. Like Australia, we were well received by the crowd. I think the trip helped us do some good seed planting.”

While campus and community radio have been generous in their support of Two Hours Traffic, O’Hanley admits the group has had some difficulty getting commercial radio airplay on their side.

“Frankly, I think it would be amazing to get corporate radio on our side,” he says. “It has been a little frustrating for sure. But as a group, we decided that we were going to stick to our guns and play the music we want to play. We aren’t necessarily interested in making concessions for the sake of commercial radio.

“We had thought it would make sense to try to get airplay on commercial radio as like any band, we want our music exposed to as wide of an audience as possible. I see first hand what commercial radio getting behind a band like the Arkells has done; it really helped bring their career to the next level.

“It’s a tough debate, whether or not to cater to radio. Ultimately, we are not terribly concerned with it though. We will just keep doing what we do.”

Commercial radio airplay aside, the group has seen more than a modest amount of success since forming in 2003; O’Hanley will be the first to admit they have been fortunate to do all they have done, achieving far more than they ever anticipated they would.

“We are lucky in that there always seems to be a pleasant surprise of some sort in the wings for us,” he says. “That hasn’t really let up since we formed.”

Article published in September 22, 2010 edition of the Times & Transcript