With a few gigs still on the calendar but the busier parts of their year now dusted off, we caught up with the band for a chat.
How did Hiaground turn their local scene into their own mini-festival? We chit-chat with one of Sydney’s most infectious upcoming acts.
HAPPY: Your music has a bunch of great genre bends in it, ho do you approach your songwriting? Is it based off of what you’re listening to? The season?
HIAGROUND: Our EP is a real insight into the first couple of years of us as a band. When we wrote the majority of the tracks on it, we didn’t have any real sense of our direction, we just wanted to have as much fun as possible. We used to play a lot of house parties and pubs that needed a really loose vibe, so we were always transforming our simple, melodic acoustic tunes into songs that could have a big energy.
Everyone in the band has a contribution to the writing process as well, it isn’t just one or two people who have control of that. Pat loves his R&B and jazz style guitar playing. Kyle grew up more or less on riff-driven rock, Jimmy’s main influences from a young age wer Anthony Keidis and Zach de La Rocha and Liam and Fernando couldn’t be more opposite in musical taste if you tried. This is what we feel makes our EP as a whole special for us, it isn’t pigeon holed into a sound that we feel every band is trying to do at the moment. It’s very uniquely us.
Nowadays, with years of hard work in the gigging circuit and recording under our belt, we are defiantly honing in more of a solid direction for who we want to be as a band and we are super excited about the new material we have been creating. Definitely channeling a bigger and more energetic vibe.
HAPPY: Tell me a bit about Dog Days Festival and how it came about?
HIAGROUND: Dog Days came about in late 2016, we had created this little music scene in our local community, all of our friends’ bands were starting to do really well, selling out venues, putting out great music, and we were like; instead of everyone doing their say 100 person shows, let’s bring it all together and put on our own little festival. We were playing venues that lots of triple j acts and bands with bigger names than any of us were playing, but we still managed to pull really good crowds. It all came from this community of bands working together and sharing success with each other.
We didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into, luckily Oxford Arts were on board because it is such an amazing venue with a really helpful crew. On April 1 we held the first Dog Days across both stages at OAF, we decided not to book any big names and only put our friends bands on. We had a local line up of eight bands who had all gigged together from the very start. Even though a venue like that was something we had never taken on, we just wanted to do our own thing with our best friends, and we feel like that vibe is what made it such an amazing night. The energy in the place was like most of us had never experienced and we sold it out!
HAPPY: And how was the festival this year? Big success?
HIAGROUND: We ran our second Dog Days on December 2, this one we feel was a really big learning curve. The night was once again super successful, but a few of the things we had planned didn’t pan out as we had hoped so we were thrown in the deep end and really had to come up with quick solutions on the spot. We had a film production crew in to film the bands live, and as soon as The Grouches were on our way of recording the sound wansnt working. So Jimmy and Pat had to drive to Bondi at a million miles per hour, get into Oscar from The Grouches’ house and pick up gear that he uses to record demos at home and make it back for their last song…
The whole of aim of Dog Days has nothing to do with making money, it’s about creating a vibe where every single person involved from the artists, to punters, to photographers to the venue staff want to be there, because we feel like that kind of vibe is what spreads. Once again we chose not to book any ‘big names’ and just ran with more local artists who we really believe in. The money we saved from not paying some booking agency a huge fee was spent on getting a film production crew in to shoot live videos from the event which shall be up soon. This time around we didn’t quite sell it out, but we couldn’t be happier about how the night ran. For Hiaground especially, definitely a highlight gig for us.
HAPPY: This latest track Lost Paradise, is a really summery playlist addition. What would you guys say are summer holidays essentials? Musical or otherwise.
- Pat to be in Australia (traitor)
- Jubes (dont ask)
- A festival over New Years (we had hoped to play Lost Paradise this year but it didnt turn out)
- Hottest 100 (DREAMZ)
- Don’t give Fernando a microphone (OH GOD)
HAPPY: Now let’s talk about the record, what triggered the direction the album would take and what are you most proud of?
HIAGROUND: The album was created with little to no direction. We had been playing live for so long, had done some really big shows that we are super proud of, yet we had no real recordings to show from it. Besides our number one hit False Feelings people only knew our music from playing live. So we gathered seven of our favourites and just hit record pretty much. It took us over a year from getting in the studio for the first time. But with Pat going away for five months we had a deadline, and finally got the album out. We can not wait to record again, this time with a bit more of an idea of who we want to be as a band.
HAPPY: Tell me a bit about the recording process, who produced the record and where did you lay everything down?
HIAGROUND: The record was produced entirely by our good friend Oscar Sharah from The Grouches. He has a studio in Tamarama whom he shares with Julian from World Champion, working with Oscar is amazing as he wants what is best for the song so will go the extra mile. Oscar is a name to watch, he’s got so manly projects going on right now, he recently recorded Clews who are this girl band that we are in love with, they played Dog Days last week and were definitely a highlight. Expect big things!
HAPPY: Back to the multiple sounds you guys manage to fit into your music, who are your influences and where do you find yourselves going back to again and again?
HIAGROUND: Our influences span broader than any answer we could put in writing. All we can say is that we are starting to figure out what Hiaground needs. Currently we are trying to influence ourselves by bands who have a live energy that we admire. Next week we are playing a mini festival on the south coast, and no one really knows us down there so we’re going to pack the set in with a few covers. We’ve chosen Maggie’s Farm by Rage, Lights Out by Royal Blood and Suck My Kiss by the Chillies… definitely going for a more riff driven sound, our new songs have a much bigger energy and vibe than on our EP and we can’t wait to get back in the studio.
HAPPY: Who have been some of your favourite artists of 2017 and who are you looking forward to in 2018?
HIAGROUND: 2017 has been an incredible year of music releases. For Kyle and Jimmy, The War On Drugs’ latest album pretty much took over their lives for a couple of months. Fernando recently dragged Jimmy to a Pennywise concert at the Enmore which was inspiring to be a part of, and they made a pact via spit in the hand handshake that one day they would play that stage. Mac DeMarco’s album was a huge winner, Anderson. Paak’s album is still getting played on repeat at the end of 2017.
We are most excited to see our friends’ bands release new music next year. Oscar from The Grouches hasn’t put out music in over two years, and the stuff they are working on right now is incredible, think Frank Ocean and Michael Jackson’s prodigy child. Mesmeriser are the next Bloc Party.
HAPPY: Any New Years resolutions?
HIAGROUND: Have as much fun as possible and love every moment of this gift we have been given. We have so much fun on stage and we don’t want to take that for granted by constantly being worried about what’s next. Although we do have big goals and a lot of vision, we really want to enjoy what we’re doing right now, because the gigs we play at the moment are so much fun.
Catch Hiaground in the flesh:
December 20 – Sosume, Beach Road Hotel
December 22 – Selina’s, Coogee
January 17 – Rad, Wollongong
Jan 25 – Moonshine Bar, Manly
Feb 24 – Get your Groove On, Bella Vista Farm