Today, we feature The Hues (aka Alex Calder) of Edmonton, soon to be a Vancouverite. He's been sending us tracks for about a year now, and we figured it's time to show him some 'spect up in the place. We talk about how pirated software and brutal Canadian winters can have an effect on your musical productivity.
Here's his latest track, In Town, exclusive for the inhabitants of the Electric Sound Basement dwellers...and for good measure, here's one from a while back, Ellen Brown.
And without further ado, our interview with The Hues!
GS: What's up with Edmonton and all the synthesizer geniuses who come from there? From Cadence Weapon to Nik Kozub's Nrmls Wlcm to the now-Toronto based expats Pilotpriest and DVAS, and now The Hues, are we in for an Edmontonian global takeover?
TH: Haha I'm not too sure actually. I dunno if I'd classify myself with those guys though, they're the synth geniuses.
I think most of the reason some people here work on music so hard is because of the shitty long winters we have. Also, there is never anything going on, none of the bands or shows people want to see ever come here, so people stay in their rooms a lot more and make music with their free time.
Yeah, Nik Kozub and Cadence Weapon really keep it together here. They really promote Edmonton as much as possible as a city with lots of good talent. I will be moving away to Vancouver March 2nd, so I guess I won't be in Edmonton anymore making music.
It'll always be my home though. Actually, I'm sure I'll probably move back here in a year or something when I get too scared out in Vancouver haha.
GS: Imagine The Hues was more than just Alex Calder. What if The Hues were a full-on, several member touring spectacle? What would that look like?
TH: Well, originally, it started out as me and all of my friends actually.
There were like 8 of us. We played one show, it went horribly! It was just a bunch of us dicking around on a stage with no rehearsal whatsoever.
Afterwards, I wanted people to think that there were lots of members in The Hues, but in reality, it was just me making the music, hence me keeping the name. I used to make lots of music with friends, but after a while, I just realized I find it really hard to make music with people. At least the music that I want to make.
But also, speaking of The Hues having more members and playing live, I have been getting together with some of the guys from the group DVAS who still live here.
We will be opening up for Shout Out Out Out Out on Feb 28th and March 1st at the Starlight Room in Edmonton. I am pretty excited, we'll be using real instruments for the entire thing.
GS: Tell us about how you make your music. Where do you start and how do you know when you've hit something right?
TH: That's a tricky question. Most of the time it starts with a keyboard line.
My music making has changed a lot in the last couple of months. I switched from using the program Reason to using Ableton, it was a really nice switch. But when I got Ableton I started to make songs much differently.
Unfortunately, my pirated version of Ableton that I had doesn't work anymore, so making music lately has been very tricky. If it's done one thing though, it's made go back to playing all of my instruments again. I've also taken a liking to using Garage Band to record things into.
But yeah, when I figure out something that I think is catchy, I really just work around it so much. I can sit for hours and hours just working on one part of a song.
Other times, I can make a song in like 15 minutes.
Pretty much all the music I make, especially the songs I put lots of work into, I absolutely hate afterwards.
GS: What's on your mind these days as far as inspiration? What makes your creative clock tick?
TH: Kind of weird actually.
I find when I don't listen to any other dance music, I make the best dance music.
I've been listening to a lot of people like Ariel Pink and John Maus lately. It's kind of the more lo-fi side of pop music, if that makes sense.
But I feel when I get ideas from listening to songs, it's never really dance music.
Don't get me wrong, I love listening to all the latest Breakbot remixes and Shazam songs that come out, etc. I dunno, maybe it's more like, I can't compare to those guys at all, so when I hear their songs it's such a love/hate thing.
I could get really deep into it and say something about how when I am feeling the most depressed and out of place I make the best music and feel the most creative, but I think that's the same for everybody. When you're not content you strive to feel content, so I guess that's what spawns creativity in people.
GS: Are there any other musical ideas you'd like to be involved in? Like, I dunno, some kind of down-tempo side project, or a marching band?
TH: Well, I really like the idea of a punk band. So hopefully when I move away I will start a two or three piece punk band with some friends. I just love seeing punk shows, although it's seldom that Edmonton gets them. That's another thing that I have a love/hate relationship with.
Punk music fans always seem to be such elitists, so I really treat my punk music listening as a guilty pleasure that stays behind closed doors haha. I think punk music and dance music a quite similar in a lot of ways. I think they stir up a lot of the same emotions. But yeah, I will keep doing The Hues stuff for a long time, I'm sure.
It would be nice to start a punk band, even though I am pretty ignorant of punk music.
I think ignorance is what it takes with punk music though.
ESB PODCAST 2/24/09
THE HUES - In Town
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE - My Girls (Hatchmatik Disco Bootleg)
CIRCLESQUARE - All Live But The Ending
KUSTON BEATER - Automat Aux Tomates
LARRY HEARD - 25 Years From Alpha
FAN DEATH - The Best Night