A band’s work can be roughly divided into two parts: live performances and studio work. HemlockHotel began experimenting in the studio in a rather unexpected way: we applied to an ad in a local newspaper!
Ottawa has some excellent recording schools. The Audio Recording Academy (TARA), which is a part of Raven Street Studios, regularly looks for local musicians to spend a day at their studio so students can test their recording techniques. Unlike lab rats, musicians are happy to indulge them as they typically get a demo out of the process.
We did just that! In the winter of 2020, Burke Johnson invited us to record our song "Paper Bag Princess” which eventually made its way onto our first self-titled release. Burke, who was then just beginning his recording career, would continue to work with us in recording 6 more songs at Raven Street Studios.
Once the tracks were completed, we headed to Montreal's Studio Mandragore with David Fournier, one of Rod’s long-time friends. David mixed and contributed to some of the album's arrangements.
Our second EP, Tailwind, was recorded differently. We didn't want to feel pressured in producing a whole EP in a single session so we decided to stretch it over two periods. In November of 2021, we recorded “Angry Young Man” and “To The River” at Audio Valley Recording Studios. Then we returned in April of 2022 to record: “New Friend in my Life,” “Eye of the Needle,” “Messy World” and “All Alone”.
Steve Foley, a talented multi-instrumentalist, mixed and co-produced Tailwind. His years of experience in recording a variety of genres allowed us to explore hitherto uncharted sonic landscapes, most notably in the ballad “All Alone,” a Dantesque wink and ode to the late Gord Downie. The second EP has yet to be released and we are already planning on returning to the studio in the spring of 2023. We can’t wait!
More news from The Grove in our next issue.
Until next time.