Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ The High Dials

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The High Dials
Montreal’s The High Dials have delivered fresh indie-rock with a unique psychedelic flair for over a decade now. I remember long car rides with my family when I was younger and blasting their debut EP, Fields In Glass. It’s that kind of nostalgia that makes interviewing bands like this so special for me. Before their shows at Canadian Music Week (see all events here), I gave The High Dials’ Trevor Anderson a call. Read the interview below as we discuss their forthcoming album, new line-up, hockey, and varied music tastes.

AMBY: Thanks for speaking with us today!

The High Dials: Thanks so much for having us.

AMBY: It’s our pleasure. I’ve been listening to the band since the release of your Fields in Glass EP back in 2004, still one of my favourite releases.

The High Dials: That’s a long time [laughs].

AMBY: Yea, it’s great to be speaking with you.

The High Dials: I’m glad we’re still around.

AMBY: Same here! [laughs] I wanted to start off by discussing your upcoming album. The band recently announced that there’s a new record coming out this August and that your Pledge Music campaign is chugging along. How long has the band been working on this new record?

The High Dials: Basically, we’ve been working on it since… There was a writing process, then a lot of experimentation, then waiting, and we never were really rushing ourselves. We didn’t have a deadline from anybody and we knew that the only thing that mattered to us was to do something really interesting and inspiring for ourselves. So that doesn’t make it a fast process, you know? We’re also doing it properly in a studio and everything, so we’re working with a producer and his schedule. There’s a lot of different reasons why it’s taken so long. That’s why we decided to put out the EPs as well because some of the music has been ready for a while. We thought to pick a couple and put them together on EPs as we continued to work on the next record. I guess we’ve been working on the album on and off for three years.

AMBY: Tell me a bit more about the album – when it came to recording it, who were your biggest inspirations or influences?

The High Dials: At this point, we’ve been making music for so many years that there’s been so many phases and so many influences. People that are familiar with the band know that we come from a very sixties background in term of taste, especially all the psychedelic stuff from England in the late sixties. Over the years, we’ve been gradually incorporating a lot of that stuff that excites us. This album was weird; we didn’t really have a clear vision for it because we really wanted to be as open as possible to everything. I think there’s a lot of variety. I think the first EP has a more clear sound but there’s other stuff on the album that’s very varied, and I find that usually High Dials’ records are. Well, the last one not so much… The last one was a little more one thing.

AMBY: Got it. Well,  I really look forward to hearing the new record. You’ll soon play Toronto’s Canadian Music Week. Will you have time while in the city to explore a little?

The High Dials: Normally when we come into Toronto it’s not that enjoyable because we usually leave the day of the show and then play and leave right away. The nice thing about Canadian Music Week is that we’re doing three shows, so there will be a lot of time to look around and see some other shows.

AMBY: Awesome. Will this be the first time you’ll be playing new material from the upcoming album?

The High Dials: Yea, we did a few of the songs at our first come-back show in Toronto back in January. We’ve been adding a few new ones and are starting to add some older tracks because we have a couple of new band members who have been learning some of the old catalog. We’ll definitely play some stuff that people haven’t heard before.

AMBY: Having quite a few touring experiences over the years, what would you say is one of your most memorable ones?

The High Dials: There are some that are obviously so memorable because they were special in terms of playing to a lot of people or meeting bands we admire. The festival shows are always amazing, and the tours we did years ago in the UK were great. Recently, it sounds corny, but the last few shows have really been some of the most special shows for me. I’m really feeling this line-up.

AMBY: When it comes to playing shows, do you prefer those festival sites or playing the more intimate shows like the upcoming CMW ones?

The High Dials: It all depends on a lot of different things… Sometimes the intimate ones are more exciting because it’s more direct and a lot of times you come with low expectations to play a small show and find that you have very dedicated fans that are really into the show. That in the end can make for a better time. I love it all [laughs].

AMBY: I can understand that. When the band isn’t playing shows or making music, what do you do for fun?

The High Dials: These days, we’re watching hockey pretty hardcore. I mean, Montreal Canadiens… We’ve had different people in and out of the band, but there’s always at least two or three people who are serious hockey fans. Right now we’re buzzing on that. A lot of us are DJs, so when we aren’t jamming we’re often DJing.

AMBY: For the last question, what’s something about The High Dials that nobody knows yet?

The High Dials: Good question.

AMBY: Thank you.

The High Dials: I think a lot of people misunderstand the band. I think a lot of people might think we’re very narrow-minded musically for some reason. I don’t know why but the band has often been pigeonholed. The thing that people would be most surprised at is how crazy and varied our record collections are.

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Thank you The High Dials, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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