From music videos, to YouTube cat/rap parodies and online games, it seems like Steady Hills are perpetually dominating cyberspace. With the release of their latest music video “Dark Room,” the Halifax duo prepares for their third tour of Eastern Canada.
“Most people found it slightly creepier than we thought,” said Andrew Dahms of the video, the band’s drummer and backup vocalist. The band was able to creatively — and creepily — capture viewers’ attention while filming in a Halifax art gallery, despite their non-existent budget. The video shows the band playing in what appears to be a vacant lot filled only with taxidermied animals and unnerving monkey statues.
“We really lucked out when we got this art gallery,” said Chad Harrington, the duo’s lead vocalist and guitarist. “We kind of like to focus on YouTube in general,” he said, but both agreed some musicians can get too caught up in the whirlwind of social media.
With a handful of videos readily available on YouTube and a selection of tracks on SoundCloud, Steady Hills has amassed quite a following since the release of their debut 2012 EP Alone in the Marquee. With an altogether eclectic sound, the Halifax two piece have been described as a clash between The Decemberists, The Black Keys and Johnny Cash. Although flattered, they don’t necessarily agree.“It’s something like that but it certainly isn’t either,” said Dahms.
“I feel it’s getting a little folkier, but some people respond by saying ‘No, it’s even more rocky’ […] but I don’t know, everybody interprets it a lot differently,” added Harrington. They admit being a two piece band can be challenging at times, most notably if something were to happen to one of them, “there’s not a whole lot holding it up,” he said.
“More important than the music: the long drives. I just can’t hear the same stories over and over,” joked Dahms.
Any technical challenges are certainly outweighed by the creative rewards. “We’re not trying to impress anybody by just being two people, we’re kinda just trying to make good music,” said Harrington.
Despite personal challenges along the way, the guys remain optimistic. “I think any half-sane musician second guesses being a musician,” said Dahms. “If you love it, it makes it easier.”
“I kind of ignored it for many years because I was just kind of making money and following that path of taking over the family business,” said Harrington. Familial expectations aside, Harrington could not get music off his mind. “I gave up a lot of things to pursue music […] and I started nurturing that creative side again,” he added.
Although optimistic, the folk-rockers’ album Alone in the Marquee displays a strong sense of mature realism. “The song “Today” really wraps it up […] don’t worry about what was in the past or what you didn’t do; if you want to do something just do it now […] life kind of sucks sometimes but that’s just life so keep truckin’ and while you’re alive get some things done that you wanted to do,” said Harrington. “Most of the songs just spurted out as I was paving a new path.”
This idea of acceptance ties in well with the name of the band itself. “Life is a series of hills to climb and there’s ups and downs,” said Harrington. “And we thought we were pretty steady guys,” he added cleverly.
“It’s kind of like putting all the negative shit on the table and acknowledging it and still figuring out how to put a smile on your face,” added Dahms.
The duo have much to smile about with a slew of upcoming Canadian fall tour dates. Not to mention some increasingly popular music parodies available on YouTube, the most popular of which boasts over 15,000 views and features Harrington’s cat sporting some bling to the tune of LMFAO’s “Shots”. “It’s actually a sort of almost but not at all viral video on the Internet on my strange channel,” he laughed.
When all is said and done, Steady Hills has come to terms with the fact that life is filled with struggles, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing them down in the least. “Know that you’ll always be constantly overcoming something and just get comfortable with that,” said Harrington. “You’re better off once you realize that life is always a bit of a struggle and once you accept that, the sky’s the limit I guess.”
Steady Hills play Bar Spectacle l’Escogriffe on Sept. 19.