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Seeds of success

Hey Rosetta! cultivate tight approach for new record

Paul Bogdan
A&C Writer

“From day one with the first show that we’ve ever played we’ve had a cello and violin playing with us, and it just kind of became what we do,” explained Hey Rosetta! guitarist Adam Hogan. “When we record records, we generally like to get some horns on there as well. If the song calls for it, or if we think it might be exciting, then we go for it; we definitely don’t hold back on the number of instruments present on a record or a certain song.”

Hey Rosetta! are a six-piece indie-rock band out of St. John’s, Newfoundland. They are comprised of the usual guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, but also make use of a small string section consisting of a violin and a cello. This, paired with lengthy songs and an energetic live performance, has led people to describe their music as “epic,” according to Hogan.

“I don’t know if that has to do with song length or the change in dynamics and the large dynamic range that we put across,”

Hey Rosetta!’s latest release, Seeds, just got released (“finally,” said Hogan) on Feb.15, and Hogan remarked that the band feels they’re building on 2008’s Into Your Lungs.

“The way we wrote it was similar; generally, with [frontman] Tim [Baker] bringing in the songs to the band and the rest of us just kind of banging away at them and developing them and structuring them in the rehearsal space.”

Their unique, eclectic sound also furthers itself on Seeds. “I don’t think it’s a great departure or anything from the last record, [but it’s] a little tighter, a little more cohesive, maybe a little more mature; I think the songs get to the point a little quicker,” Hogan remarked. “There’s less six-minute songs [and] more four, four-and-a-half minute tunes. I hope that … it’s more mature and the song-writing is better and the playing is stronger, because it’s been a couple years since the last [album], so hopefully we’ve all grown as musicians.”

Deliberate and well-planned song structures have always played a large part in Hey Rosetta!’s music. But the band never forces the length of the songs.

“If a song needs to be long, it needs to be long,” said Hogan. “Often it might be because Tim has three or four really good verses written or something like that; some of the tunes are fairly lyric-heavy, which has always been what the band has kind of been centered around. If there’s a certain message or certain idea that needs to come across in the lyrics, the song [sometimes] needs to reach six minutes to get there. It just kinda happens.

“Hopefully, the long ones don’t ever feel that long,” he added. “I always think that if [a song] doesn’t feel long, then it’s okay if it runs long”.

While the material may not sound drastically different on Seeds as opposed to past releases, Hogan feels that he and the other members of Hey Rosetta! are growing as musicians. “We’re slowly getting there and starting to experiment with new sounds; it’s good to change, and it’s good to grow, and it’s good to try new things, so that each record doesn’t end up repeating itself. It’s natural that you do grow, and that your interests change. I hope we continue to go that direction”.

Experimentation with the writing process has played a key role in the making of Hey Rosetta!’s music, and Hogan said that much of the recording process for Seeds saw the band trying to approach their instruments in a new way.

“It’s nice to surprise yourself, try something that you normally wouldn’t think of, and go against your instincts perhaps,” Hogan mused. “Often it probably won’t work, and your instinct ends up being the right idea in the first place, but it’s good to explore and make sure that you have no regrets when the song is recorded, that this is the way it’s supposed to sound”.

Hey Rosetta! are playing at the Exchange on Tuesday, Mar. 1. Tickets are $15 advance and $18 at the door, and they are available from Vintage Vinyl, Zeus, or online at admission.com.

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