By Matt Woodford
Escaping the chilly grip of wild rose country and relocating to the damp embrace of the West, a band with identity takes root. Packing a punch as a live trio, Freak Heat Waves also carry an essence of ambience with them.
“The new record will have more synth and texture than previous songs, things that may not be so intriguing in a live setting,” explains drummer Thomas Di Ninno.
“[We’re] attempting to saturate the new record sonically,” adds Steve Lind, who employs guitars.
Hooking up with Chris Reimer (of the band Women) to produce the new record, and hunkering down in an old church just outside Nelson, B.C, Freak Heat Waves lived off a steady diet of hot dogs and coffee to hash out the skeletal structure of their latest attempt.
Chris Reimer was an “ideal candidate who meshed well with the band,” says Lind. He says that by taking a real hands-on approach while bringing his experience and “tonal wisdom” to the project, Reimer added a level of “solidarity and confidence with the record’s final cuts.”
Playing together in a previous outfit, Mount Royal, in Medicine Hat, Alta., the guitar-and-drum duo of Lind and Di Ninno lacked a certain backbeat. But they managed to strum something up. “It was difficult to find that fit after Clayton [the original bass player] left the band, but knowing James [Twiddy] from his previous engagements, it just melded together nicely.” Since Twiddy was a Vancouver Island native, he became the obvious choice for a newly transformed band seeking inventive players. “Having [Twiddy] living in Nanaimo can be taxing, but we make it work,” says Di Ninno.
Now with a steady line-up and a sack full of material, Freak Heat Waves hit South Island hard, playing anywhere and everywhere, including a condemned house with a rag-tag skateboard ramp as a stage. “Those early shows were fun,” says Lind, “but it was time to explore other available avenues within a studio setting.”
With direction in mind and equipped with a 16-track analog recorder, the band decided to fill the new record with multiple layers and textures. “The live show versus the record are completely different entities,” Twiddy adds. “It’s important to operate differently within each medium.” With Twiddy joining in on bass, and the live show on the back burner, Freak Heat Waves could focus on their ambitious sonic fulfillment.
“We are hoping for a fall release,” states a chuckling Lind, “but knowing this band, we’ve got a lot to talk about.” The democratic nature of Freak Heat Waves walks hand-in-hand with their respect for each other and the music they create. “The sense of community, even in this grand country of ours, allows for independent bands like ourselves to remain in creative control, then seek out label representation and distribution,” says Lind.
From writing to recording and artwork to scheduling, the band orchestrates their path with precision. With the promise of a unique recording and a tour to match, Freak Heat Waves is a band that will leave you sweaty no matter the temperature.
Matt Woodford hosts Strep Throat Radio on Mondays from 4:00pm – 5:00pm.