When people discuss a certain band, for whatever reason they generally talk about it in terms of geographical location. Ever since musical explosions in Seattle and Montreal, the general population assumes that where you're from shapes your musical output more than other factors, like talent or musical influences.
Which is why when you hear about the band Hey Rosetta! and the fact they're natives of Newfoundland, you immediately wonder if they sound a little Celtic, or if they use hand drums from time to time.
"People like to think about it, and we're proud to be where we're from, but to what extent there is a distinct sound to a Newfoundland band, I don't know," says Tim Baker, leader of Hey Rosetta!, whose new album Seeds is released on February 15.
Baker seems pretty bored by the idea of regional influence and stresses the fact that people think about their Newfie background a little too much. "I certainly get questioned on it quite a bit, 'What degree does being from Newfoundland affect the way you sound?' I think none, really," says Baker, laughing. "Sometimes that idea works, but I think it has to be a specific time and place and sound."
But it's hard to blame the majority of Canadians for associating Newfoundland's cultural output predominantly in terms of Great Big Sea, a few major league baseball players and the gastronomic abomination that is Newfie poutine.
Rock criticism aside, Hey Rosetta! has somehow managed to dodge (almost) any association with its home province and bands that came before their inception in 2005. This is because in the past three years of touring behind its sophomore release Into Your Lungs, Hey Rosetta! has become one of the most sought-after live acts in the country.
As Hey Rosetta! begins its current North American tour, including a free concert kick-off at Parade Square during the Canada Games on February 16, the band has already sold out shows across the country before even leaving the island. On top of that, Hey Rosetta! is set to perform sold out shows in Australia as well, but Baker concedes it's probably because they're touring with headliner City and Colour.
Still, Baker couldn't be happier about adding another stamp to the band's passport. "It's a great time to be a Canadian band touring abroad. It's almost like it's a selling point that you're Canadian."
To fully realize its sound on Seeds, the band turned to Tony Doogan, producer of Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian and Wintersleep, to create an even more dynamic sound than previous records.
"When we started out, the band was very much song-oriented and arrangement-oriented. I think you can hear that on our previous records," says Baker. "I think we've paid a lot of attention to the sounds and attempted to make every song distinct by creating moods. He made the palette of sounds we dreamed up a reality." --Matthew Ritchie
Wednesday, February 16, 7pm
Grand Parade Square