In September, I had the honor of interviewing one of my favorite new bands, Hollerado. On a tour opening for fellow Canadians The Stills, Hollerado pretty much kicked their ass onstage. Yes, they are that good.
Hollerado just released their debut full length ‘Record in a Bag’ after their ‘Demo in a Bag’ series they have become famous for. The new record starts off with a hilarious little tune called ‘Hollerado Land’ which sounds like it was left out of the movie ‘Juno.’ Don’t let that fool you though, the album really takes off from there. We’re talking about 12 songs of guitar driven, ‘catchy as hell’ indie rock. Seriously, just when we couldn’t think that it was possible for this band to get any better, this record blows us out of the water more and more with every listen.
Menno Versteeg’s voice is infectious on every track, and the added harmonies from the rest of the band weld perfectly within every song, especially on ‘Juliette’. Hollerado takes it down a notch for a bit with ‘Fake Drugs’ which is quickly becoming one of our favorite songs (of all time). The band included the brilliant Dave Foley-starring-music-video-song ‘Americanarama’ which is always a fun tune to have around.
‘Got to Lose’ starts off with what appears to be a Rhodes piano, and though it starts off slow with the most amazing harmonies we’ve heard since a late 90’s Sloan record, the song grows in pace and the vocals get even tighter. ‘Hard Love’ delivers us a touch of the blues while ‘Riverside’ brings us a bit of indie pop. There is nothing Hollerado can’t do.
The overall performance of this album is really astonishing. From Jake Boyd’s Dave Grohl-esque drumming, to Nick Boyd’s and Dean Baxter’s dead on playing and Menno’s smooth flawless voice, Hollerado is destined to be huge.
Hollerado is perhaps my favorite new musical discovery of the year. When I heard that they were opening for The Stills at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City, I was very intrigued to see what they had to offer live. The Montreal quartet will be a name to look out for in the next few months. Quite frankily, they gave The Stills a run for their money onstage that night.
I had the opportunity of sitting down with the band after the show for an interview. The band is made up of singer/guitarist Menno Versteeg, guitarist Nick Boyd, bassist Dean, and drummer Jake Boyd. These are the nicest and most entertaining guys you’ll ever meet.
As I turned on the tape recorder to start the interview, Menno looks at it and says “Thats the part where we get unfunny!” At this point the whole band stares at it and agrees, but its only the beginning of the amusement.
How did the band come together?
Menno: We lived on the same street. We grew up in the same neighborhood. These guys (Nick and Jake) are my next door neighbors and they’re brothers. Then we met Dean.
Jake: Where is Dean?!
Menno: Who knows! at this point Dean returns
Who are you influences?
Menno: Very wide ranging. I like the classic American bands. Tom Petty’s my favorite, Billy Bragg, Bruce Springsteen.
Nick: I like British people like The Beatles and David Bowie.
Menno: Did you say The Clash?!
Nick: Oh yea The Clash for sure.
Jake: As far as drums go for me, Nirvana, Dave Grohl, the obvious ones. Some say Ringo or John Bonaham, so I pick Dave Grohl as my favorite.
How does the new record differ from the ‘Demos in a Bag’ idea?
Menno: Well we just hear the new record yesterday so that makes me not qualified to answer it (laughs)
Dean: Its a lot slower, its more diverse…
Jake: Its more one headspace!
Nick: Yea, “Demos in a Bag” we were recording it at different sessions that were months apart from each other.
Dean: We were in different times and all and doing different things, different friends getting drunk at different times. This time we all got drunk together!
Jake: And tea, we drank the same tea. I think it was Lipston, it was totally only Lipton. I guess the other one (“Demos“) was all different types of tea and the new album is like Lipton Tea…
Nick: And there’s coffee a lot on the last one too
Jake: Yea we weren’t drinking any coffee
Nick:I had. I couldn’t get to sleep at 4 in the morning and I had to drink 6 straight beers. There was no way I was getting to sleep. I prayed to God I could get to sleep.
Jake: Coffee is a crutch man, I’m off that.
Menno: So we were praying a lot during the record…This record in conclusion is more tea and more praying.
Jake: But nondominational praying, its not a specific God we were praying to.
How did you come up with the “Demos in a Bag” idea?
Nick: Its cheap! We found out when we went to try and make it, that packaging costs more than what you put into it. We had a bunch of plastic bags hanging around…
Was it a specific brand like Ziplock? Did you try anything else?
Menno: We tried a demo in a vase but it was a pain in the ass. We also had a demo in a box.
How did you get Dave Foley (From Kids in the Hall) to star in your video for “Americanarama”?
Menno: We asked him nicely!
Jake: Yea, its just a really good way to get what you want in life. Just ask them nicely.
How did you get to be on tour with The Stills?
Jake: I think we actually asked them nicely too! (laughs)
Menno: We also have the same manager so that made it easier.
Jake: We also asked our manager nicely (laughs)
What is your least favorite part about touring?
Dean: Waiting around like the last 4 minutes before you go on stage and you have to ‘poo’. Usually we deal and talk about how badly we have to go.
Jake: You need to be full of shit when you’re onstage!
What is your favorite part about being on tour?
Dean: The 4 minutes after you get off stage!
Jake: Hanging out with the other bands man.
Where did the name Hollerado come from?
Jake: I think we asked it nicely! (laughs)
Menno: Sam’s cousin! Sam’s cousin came up with it. That kid right there (points to a guy in a blue sweatshirt)
Which album do you wish you had written?
Menno: Bruce Springsteen “Born in the USA”
Jake: I don’t know, probably a photo album with pictures of parties and people looking like they are doing fun stuff.
Nick: Thats a different kind of album.
When is the new album out?
Menno: Uh we have no clue. If it comes out we’ll be stoked (Laughs)
Nick: Around November or December we think. Late this year.
Do you have a name for the new album yet?
Dean: We have nothing yet.
Jake: Melissa, do you have any ideas?
Yea I got nothing!
Menno: I like “More Awkward Than Heavy”
Band nods in agreement
Nick: Thats cool, yea. I like that lot.
Jake: How about just “Awkward”? We’re pretty awkward guys (laughs)
What do your parents think of your music the first time that you played it for them?
Nick: You mean Hollerado?
Dean: They like Hollerado.
Menno: They like it because its so much better than all the other shit I ever made, like throughout my life. We take it seriously and they’re really happy for us.
Okay, last question…What game can you totally kick anyones ass at?
Dean: MONOPOLY JR! (with such excitement it was hillarious)
Jake: Really you said Monopoly?!
Jake: Oh then, real Monopoly.
Nick: I don’t know. I’m not a great board game player….Oh! Risk!
Jake: When we were kids Nick would want to play Risk and I’d be like ‘Dude, we have to play Monopoly so I can beat you!’
Just in time for the interview to end, The Stills were hitting the stage. Hollerado was excited about seeing them play tonight. Maybe its because in a year they’ll probably be headlining the Bowery Ballroom themselves. Trust me, they will.
Hollerado is quickly becoming one of my favorite new bands. Hailing from Canada, the indie rock 4 piece just sucks you in by the first listen. “Americanarama,” is already on my year end “Top 10 Songs” list for 2008. I just found out last week that they will be opening for The Stills in New York City next weekend. I can’t wait to see them live. It looks like it will be a treat for sure. Be sure to check out their Myspace for upcoming tourdates. You won’t want to miss these guys! www.myspace.com/hollerado
Hollerado is currrently working on their first LP, but you can check out their website www.hollerado.com to purchase their ‘Demos in a Bag’ series.
Also check out their video for “Americanarama’ here. Yes, that is Kids in the Hall’s Dave Foley starring in it. Your eyes do not decieve you.