The Beat Stuff
CEV: When was it that music became an important part of your life and how is it that you began expressing this music outwardly in your life?
HG: Music has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. My dad was an amazing blues/jazz piano player and would alway be playing his renditions of Spike Jones songs and The Flight of the Bumble Bee. My sisters and I would all gather around the piano while he played and we would dance while my dad rocked out. We would have dance competitions and entertain anyone that would be remotely interested in watching us. My mom put me in piano lessons at the age of 5 (best thing she has ever done for me) and I started writing my own songs shortly after. I still remember the first song that I wrote. I think at that moment I knew in my heart that music was going to play a huge role in my life.
CEV: Tell me about late summer night jam sessions, playing in coffee shops and at the Air Canada Centre and how each one helped to form your music and inspire you.
HG: While living in Ontario, the absolute best thing to do was to head north to cottage country and party it up with friends and camp out. At night, my friends and I would sit around a campfire and pass the guitar around and jam. It's such an awesome feeling to be by a lake out in the open fresh air with friends and play music.
From there, opportunities to play shows came along and people became interested in getting involved in my project.
CEV: Since this is how you describe your music, exactly what is Folk Pop? Sounds like an unholy alliance like oil and water finally getting together. Just kidding. : )
HG: Haha...I always find it a little tricky to put a stamp on how to describe my music exactly. I have a ton of musical influences that range all across the board in terms of musical genres and so I guess that's why I find it a little hard to really specify what I boil down to. The reason why I say Folk-Pop is because my music has a singer/songwriter feel to it and it is also catchy and easy to listen to. My new and improved term for my music is Alternative Folk Rock Pop. hehe.
CEV: One last question before we talk about your absolutely fresh new EP called The Beat Stuff. How did winning The Music BC Songbird West Singer/Songwriter Competition make you feel? Don't hold back now, were you proud of this accomplishment?
HG: Of course! It opened up so many doors for me musically and really kickstarted my musical career. The contest was what gave me the opportunity to make this EP. One of the judges for The Music BC Contest was also the studio owner of Hipposonic Studios. Once he was informed that I wanted to record at his studio, he offered me studio time to make my record. Winning the contest was so awesome because it really got the word out about my music and got more people enthused and excited my project.
CEV: The new EP which is being released on August 21, 2008 is called The Beat Stuff. So what does this title mean to you and how does it relate to the music on the disc? How long have you been working on the songs that are included on The Beat Stuff?
HG: The Beat Stuff is about my relationship with music. My analogy for "The Beat Stuff" is the idea that music is what makes my heart beat. My heart beating is music.
All the songs on the album reflect that notion and are songs about feeling empowered and taking the good out of every experience even when it's really bad.
CEV: How much of material that you included on The Beat Stuff is pulled out of your own life? Is that how you typically write your songs based on your own experiences or do you pull from what you see going on around you?
HG: It's a mixture of things that I have experienced personally as well as other things that are going on around me. When I write about stuff that's going on around me it somehow becomes personal. I can't help but feel influenced by it.
CEV: You have a very large list of influences on your MySpace page but are there any in particular that listeners will recognize when they pick up a copy of your new EP?
HG: Artists that I have been really excited about in the past while and can't stop listening to are Band of Horses, The Blow, Royal Wood, MIA and a group called Bat For Lashes. People may hear influences of Tegan and Sara or possibly Emily Haines when they listen to the EP. Who knows, you will just have to pick one up and have a listen for yourself. :)
CEV: Was The Beat Stuff completely yours or was there some input from band members or your producer?
HG: The songs are all written by moi. I wrote all the songs on guitar and presented them to my producer. From there, my producer and I brought in other players to record and bring the songs to life. Juice em up a bit.
CEV: Was the time spent at Hipposonic Studios an enjoyable time for you during the recording of The Beat Stuff? How did the studio add to the finished product?
HG: The time spent at Hipposonic was such an amazing experience and was one of the best week's I've ever had. I was sad to see it end. It was so awesome to see and hear my songs come to life with other instruments and have people get excited about the songs. The studio itself is really great. Fantastic gear and people that work there for sure and in turn it totally added to the finished product.
CEV: Are you happy with what you have managed to accomplish on this EP as you turn your CD loose on the world?
HG: Absolutely. I can't wait for people to hear the songs and get as excited as I am about them. I am also looking forward to getting on the road with them as well. There's lots of songs to come which is also really sweet. It's definitely an exciting time for me and I'm anxious to get my music out there.
CEV: Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. I know you just had your release party on the 21st of August and I'm sure that was a blast for you as well. Good luck with your music and we'll be waiting for that first full length CD a little further down the road.