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hue Interview

Hailing from Toronto, Canada and London, California, the band hue embraces a sunny sensibility that would cheer up even the gloomiest emo kid. Their work is just beginning though, as their recently released new installment, “Starting Fires” proves. The album enhances their easy pop-rock likeability.

hue are comprised of Danny Paton, Andrew Schmidt, Darcy Finck, Andrew Jooze, and Jessica Paton. The band took some time to answer a few questions about their inspiration, the industry, and the release of their new album.

MVRemix: “Starting Fires” is both your album title and a track title on the album. What is the significance of this song to you as a band?

Danny: It was one of the first songs we worked on for this record. The lyrics, groove and everything is a great representation of all our music styles coming together as one for the first time.

I guess you could say it’s the song that started the fire which is now the record.

MVRemix: I saw on your Twitter that you recently recorded a music video. What was your concept behind it, and how do you feel that it will enhance your message?

Danny: The concept behind our video for ‘The Bump’ was pretty simple. In a nutshell, it’s a glimpse into a party at our house which is also known as “the bump.” I don’t want to get into the video details too much because we haven’t released it yet. Coming July 21st,

The Bump is an upbeat piano driven party song; people who’ve met us would generally agree that we are happy and fun people to be around. The song and video pretty much says have fun, be happy, be awesome! My mirror hears that every morning.

As far as enhancing, we hope it will be a nice introduction video to the mainstream world, and we’ll see where it goes from there.

MVRemix: There’s a very ethereal quality to your cover art. How do you see this artwork furthering what you communicate through your music?

Danny: We asked Geoff Watson of The New Beat to listen to our record and see what the music inspired him to come up with. He came back with a few ideas, but the first one (the current art) blew us all away.

We felt it really emphasizes our sound. Using bright powerful colours and the original photos taken by Geoff himself while on tour in AUS/NZ for Skate 4 Cancer. It’s so hue. Without even seeing our first record he even chose photos with wind turbines, which was a shock to everyone. The photos of the road imply coming and going, fitting with the lyrics from ‘The Bump’: “Where you going? Where you coming from? Where you going to?”

Little cool fact: The recurring image of the 2 figures and a dog are actually of a photo taken in 1968 that our drummer Andrew Schmidt found in his basement. The photo was awesome and we wanted to use it somehow.

It’s simple and complicated at the same time. Its fun but has depth the more you look at it. That’s like a hue song, catchy upfront but has depth the more you listen. Bright colours and small fonts all came together to let the images speak rather than the text.

MVRemix: You guys seem to be pretty active with social media. How do you feel that this enhances your experience as a band, and your fan’s experience with your music?

Danny: Social media is one of those things that needs to be done right to give any sort of experience. We look at our fans as friends, so we treat them as such on Facebook and Twitter. We try and ask questions and keep conversations going and involve people as much as possible. Rather than our FB fan page being a billboard where we spew announcements, we want it to be a kitchen party where you can hang out and be involved.

MVRemix: What has been your experience in the music industry? Do you feel that it’s easy to succumb to pressures to conform?

Danny: Our industry experience has been pretty good so far, we’ve been praised for having a different sound. I think being different and writing what we want will take us further than copping out for a few bucks. One of our favourite bands is Sam Roberts and he’s a great example; they write what they feel. And it works. Creative integrity is important to hue.

We’ve never really been in a position where we were pressured to write music a certain way because it makes more money, but either way there isn’t much money in Canadian music these days. We don’t play for the money. We play because we love playing. At the end of the day we hope we can make a living playing music.

MVRemix: Do you feel that remaining unsigned has helped maintain your musical integrity?

Danny: Yes. We don’t want a label until we need one. We have control over everything we’re doing and no one is accountable but us. No pressures to write certain songs and lyrics, we’ve been able to market ourselves exactly like we want, which is a great feeling.

We have been working with a number of people such as our publicist, our producer, our creative director for the album and our good friend and manager since 2007. We are open to the idea of working with a label, but for now we feel really confident in our music and our presentation that it would have to be because they can offer us something that we can’t do ourselves.

MVRemix: Do you feel that the revolution in the way fans access music, online and itunes, has helped or hurt artist’s ability to remain true to their mission?

Danny: Getting your music out there has always been hard to do independently. The internet has created a whole new playing field where everything is accessible worldwide. Musicians view it in different ways; positive and negative.

I feel like if people want to download our songs it’s a compliment in a way. Just knowing that people are listening is a great feeling. Our mission was never about making millions of dollars so i don’t believe it’s hurt our ability to stay true to ourselves.

It irks me to hear a major record label complaining they are making only 20 million instead of 60 million, when so many artists and bands are struggling to make a living.

MVRemix: What inspired this album?

Andy: It was just the right time to make another record. Seeing as we had two new members and a growing pile of material and ideas, it seemed like the right time to formulate a new record. We were really excited to have more people in the band that were capable of bringing forward interesting ideas that would help move the songs in creative directions. On top of that, we were really excited to release new material, which touches on slightly more serious and mature subject matter than our previous record.

MVRemix: What has you writing/collaborating process?

Andy: I will usually come up with a progression and/or melody for a song on piano or acoustic and introduce it to the band. From there, the song will begin to shift and grow as it is played over time. Other times songs will spark from something played in a jam, such as a bass line or piano part, at which point lyrics are applied and the song moves from there.

MVRemix: Who would you cite as some of your influences?

Danny: We’re actually most often inspired by other Canadian artists, such as Joel Plaskett, Big Sugar, The Tragically Hip, Matthew Good, Sam Roberts and Neil Young. Artists that are gifted songwriters and aren’t afraid to explore other musical territories and meld genres together.

MVRemix: Where do you see yourselves fitting in the current music scene?

Danny: hue is pretty versatile when it comes to fitting in. For our CD release we`ll be joined by Halifax pop/folk singer songwriter Rebekah Higgs and 2 days later we’ll join the super party duo USS in London and at no point will we be out of place. Its great that we have that kind of broad reach.

MVRemix: You seem to have quite a bit of pop influence, yet your sound is very unique. How do you maintain your individuality while working within genres that are constantly being saturated with repetition?

Andy: That’s always been an interesting crossroad for us. We generally know where to draw the line when it comes to songs that aren’t distinct to our sound. There are dozens of songs that don’t make the cut and they almost become one of those funny “Remember when?” stories. In terms of individuality, as a band we really embrace the “no idea is a bad idea” mentality. With that, we really allow ourselves to explore those ideas together and hopefully form something special and unique to us and the music.

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