Unless you are Canadian many of you may not have heard HEY ROSETTA! before, yet they have been receiving high acclaim in their part of the world, winning awards and being short-listed recently for the prestigious Polaris award (alongside heavyweights like Arcade Fire and Austra). Much like The Jezabels (whom Hey Rosetta! will be supporting as part of their upcoming tour) the band has made a solid reputation locally, but an ever-increasing listenership reveals a global ripple effect. Guitarist Adam Hogan explains that they saw The Jezabels when touring with City And Colour in Australia earlier this year. “We caught their show while we were in Melbourne,” he says. “The crowd was amazing! It seems like they have a good thing going on.” Awards, responsive crowds… Good things going on all round, then.
After initially changing band members a few times, Hey Rosetta! have solidified as a band, dolling out an exuberant array of prepossessing music. I even detect a Celtic sound, which may be a result of their Newfoundland roots. “I think we’ve been influenced but it’s not conscious,” Hogan ruminates, sounding somewhat unsure of my suggestion. “It could be the strings that bring it out in our music so maybe it seeps through… It seems like more and more, the stuff we’re listening to is Canadian. [Canadian music] is pretty vibrant and has been for a few years.”
Whatever the overall style of their latest album Seeds, each song (written primarily by frontman Tim Baker) has been written independently, compared by the band to seeds (hence the album name), which may grow in the listeners’ minds as intended. “Tim brings in lyrics and some basic chords on the piano or guitar and maybe a skeleton of a song,” Hogan explains. “It’s nice to have a songwriter come up with these really nice songs, and bring in this canvass that we can paint all over. We’re pretty comfortable with our roles and how we work together. There are a couple of songs from Seeds where I’ve tossed in a couple of riffs that I’ve been kicking around… But it doesn’t happen that often with us.”
This approach gives Hey Rosetta!’s songs a level of focus, while each band member draws out the breadth of sound with which a song may be performed. As Hogan sees it, “Each band member has their own preferred style and particular preferences… I think when the six of us put it all together it allows us to vary, album to album. We don’t think too much about what our unique sound is. It’s hard for us to identify this because we’re on the inside. It’s probably easier for our listeners to identify what we sound like… Our goal is to make the best music we can at any given moment.”
Along with the marvellous Alpine, Hey Rosetta! will be supporting The Jezabels as part of their nationwide tour, at ANU Bar on Wednesday October 19. Tickets are $30.65 through Ticketek, and doors open at 7.30pm.