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24 September 2018

INTERVIEW: Heavydive.

Canadian trio Heavydive’s recent release, Warn the Dark, immediately caught our attention with its deft, hypnotic blend of shoegaze and post-punk. Equal parts moody and euphoric, the band manages to sonically capture a snapshot of the world around them that feels authentic and powerful. To get a sense of how emotionally compelling the group can sound, just listen to “Room 213” as the song hits the 01:47 mark. Chills. That was the exact moment we knew Heavydive was special.

We’d like to thank Juan, Randall and Santiago for graciously answering our questions. Enjoy getting to know scene newcomers Heavydive in the following interview!

How and when was the band formed?
Juan and Santiago Ortiz are Colombian born brothers who immigrated to Canada at a young age, meeting Calgary-born Randall Squires in high school. The three of us began making music several years after meeting, officially forming Heavydive during the summer of 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (any new releases, tour, etc.)?
At the moment we are gearing up to tour the Canadian west coast at the end of the month! We will be playing alongside some great Canadian bands such as Palm Haze and Sleepy Gonzales. All the information is available on our Facebook page, but we will be performing in Abbotsford, Vancouver, Victoria, and possibly Kelowna.

Do you consider your music to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?
We make an effort to make sure our music fits somewhere within the shoegaze scene. While often playing with feelings of edginess and melancholy, we gravitate towards post-punk and often stray away from some of the more traditional shoegaze styles. We feel this makes our music have some distinct characteristics vocally, rhythmically, and melodically. Whatever scene we fit in, we feel that is for our listeners to decide.

What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites?
There are so many modern shoegaze/dream pop/psych bands that we love! Some (but not all) of our favourites are: Bloody Knives, Palm Haze, Nothing, Fleeting Joys, Asobi Seksu, The Foreign Resort, Alvvays, and A Place to Bury Strangers. 

What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer? 
We—like many bands—consider every aspect of our sound to be important, but if we had to choose one thing it would probably be the bulk of tone that we get out of the guitar. Juan plays one of his many Jazzmasters through a modified 1964 Fender Pro Amp with several guitar pedals, (some of which he has built himself under his brand Tone Hungry Effects) but two of his most defining effects are the Electro-Harmonix Freeze pedal and his Old Blood Noise Dark Star Reverb.

What is your process for recording your music? What gear and/or software do you use? What would you recommend for others?
We record live off the floor using our stage amps and instruments when we are songwriting and recording demos. When doing so we have had good results with using only 5 drum mics on the drum kit, 1 Shure SM57 on the guitar, and recording the bass with a DI. We used Logic Pro X to mix our demos, but we recommend hiring a professional sound engineer to track, mix, and master.

When it comes to label releases versus DIY/Bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any?
We think it’s important for anyone to get their hands dirty when it comes to pursuing something they love. We often tinker with sound, whether it be through improvisation or gear selection/modification. Ultimately though, we believe that certain tasks are best left to experienced professionals, and most labels will likely do a better job releasing an album than we ever will.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?
All three of us love vinyl but are chronic streamers. Even though vinyl is our preferred method of listening to music, internet radio, podcasts, and certain streaming services are our main form for digesting and discovering new music.

What artists (musicians or otherwise) have most influenced your work?
There are so many artists that have influenced us, but (if we had to narrow it down) we would say: Nothing, A Place to Bury Strangers, The Killers, and Savages.

What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?
Honestly, we just believe in the merits of hard work.