‘Venus on Edge’ is your fourth LP to date, and everyone before it has it soon distinct sound. How has Hooded Fang evolved up to this point? What has the band done to get it where it is at right now?
You know I was really into hip-hop and dance music. And then I moved back up to Toronto and I got into the Indy thing. The recording on the right sound are obviously really important, but I want to get the right harmonies, there’s a lot to think about in the sound. A lot of the inspiration comes from the music that’s around, and whether it’s conscious or not that’s usually absorbed and becomes part of the process just like anything else would.
The sound develops and evolves the way you hear the things around you, whether it’s music, things that you see and experience that inspire you.
Well, generally, probably so. We all have other bands that were involved in.
When you look back the releases that brought you up until now how do you see the bands development and evolution?
Well, to be honest each different release could almost be a different band releasing that each time. I don’t know if that makes any sense
Yeah, I understand what you’re saying…
It’s like the band was different every time. I know that kind of lack inconsistency might not make much sense for the fans, generally speaking, but that’s really probably the simplest way to generalize the band’s sound and it’s developed over time.
I’m assuming with everyone coming together and finding inspiration and what each individual likes, that can make for a lot of variety, creatively, to draw from.
Yeah, I can definitely see that. You know, Hooded Fang is a band full of people with other bands, so Hooded Fang itself is almost like a signpost where we all meet. Since we all play many other different kinds of music, when we all come together and Hooded Fang it’s kind of like a blender or a melting pot, if that makes any sense.
One of the things that I love about Hooded Fang is the individuality of each different instrument in the band, including the vocals and the vocal melodies. It’s almost like a controlled chaos or a controlled freeform approach.
Everyone has a completely different music backgrounds. We all know each other really well so maybe it is true that we can feel or know what one another is going to do. You know, Wayne is a really good jazz guitar player. That’s what he did, learn to play jazz music. Our drummer, Alex, he’s in to playing jazz but his style probably but wouldn’t be best served by saying that it’s strictly jazz style. He really does his own thing, musically. He doesn’t stick within the boundaries of one style or genre. He’s got a lot of personality when he plays. And he plays a lot of avant-garde material with other bands, that’s what he’s done. I believe Hooded Fang is really the only rock band he plays with.
How did you guys set about writing for ‘Venus on Edge’?
Well, it was challenging, but a fun, challenging. We were on tour a lot so that made it a little bit hard to write. I used to like to write when I was on the road, but now I find that it’s more difficult for me to concentrate on that kind of thing with the temporary nature of being stopped in one place while you’re on the road on tour.
When it came time to record ‘Venus on Edge’ did you find that you had enough material being that you were gone for a while?
You know, we usually have scraps of material left over but we didn’t really have that happen with this album. ‘Venus on Edge’ was actually the hardest record for us to write, so far. I think that that is just because of where we were at creatively. But again, I think a lot of that was due to the sporadic nature of touring.
Did you find that the creative challenges coincided with an evolution of musical style?
I think so. We definitely moved away from a lot of the pop aspect of our sound. I mean, I love pop music. I like that magic thing about a melody produced by three chords creating a hook that sticks in your mind. It can be a wonderful and unique experience that makes people feel good. So, for ‘Venus on Edge’ it almost seemed like melodies would be too easy to do. If that makes any sense
Do you mean in the sense of it being the low hanging fruit that you grab for in your comfort zone, I would imagine?
Exactly. Just lay down a few easy chords and throw a catchy melody over it and you’re done! Yeah, for some reason I think we were just real apprehensive about going in that direction. Now, there are definitely choruses on the album that can catch you, catch your ear, but we definitely wanted to do something that was different for us, maybe unexpected. You know, there were times when we thought, “We should just make this an instrumental record!”
So ‘Venus on Edge’ could’ve very easily been an instrumental record.
Well, we actually had everything recorded and it literally sat around for a while with no vocals on it at all. For some reason it just seemed like lyrics might be too difficult to have over the music, too difficult to concentrate on. It’s not an exaggeration to say that, at first, I would just mumble over the music and we would play it. But then April and I sat down, and it took about a week, but we just wrote about different topics.
That’s the way that a lot of great songs of come about, just throwing something out there and going for it no thought no real intentions.
That’s right! So yeah, we really didn’t go into it thinking about writing on anyone or two topics. We just literally thought of something and wrote about it. And even still, the lyrics are really secondary. The focus is on the music itself.
Where there really that many songs left off, that you have enough for a small release later on?
Probably so, but I don’t want to say that something will definitely happen and then have to change plans for one reason or another. It’d be great to be able to put something like that out though.
At the risk of sounding lame for a second, the way ‘Venus on Edge’ flows comprehensively has a bit of a chaotic spirit, which I think helps set this album apart in the Hooded Fang catalog.
We had a very clear-cut idea of what we wanted the outcome of this album to be. We definitely knew what kind of mood we wanted this record to have. When I look back at our second record, it almost sounds like we were putting a rock record together arbitrarily. And then ‘Gravez’ was when we thought about just going for it, musically. So with this record I think we tried to continue along that path, essentially. I love the idea of leaving things up to chance because it seems like that’s the best way to get the most honest feeling. That’s really what I want to project, an honest feeling in the moment.