Stranded In Stereo: The Stranded Local Q&A: Hi8us

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Stranded Local Q&A: Hi8us

The local spotlight this week is on a band that makes no apologies for their Boston heritage- accent and all. That’s not to say that our local spotlight artists typically cower from their New England roots, but these guys do it with some humor. Hi8us, the 4 piece -group we’re highlighting this week, draws its inspiration from a wide sample of genres and time periods, citing influences like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Curtis Mayfield, and Stevie Wonder. With these pop stars in their minds, the sound Hi8us has crafted for itself is as listenable as anything you’ll hear.

The band of twenty-something-year-olds just finished their debut full-length album, Superficial Deep, that’s set to come out the first week of August. Determined not to let it end up as an indie release that falls under the radar, the group is having an album release party at The Middle East Upstairs on Friday, August 8.

Hi8us is about to embark on a bigger scene than just Boston. The group has a tour planned to kick off immediately following the release party for Superficial Deep. The tour will take them from Canada to the West coast, making manifest destiny a part of not only America’s blood, but Hi8us’ too (go wikipedia that phrase if you were sleeping in history class).

Without further delay, Stranded in Stereo puts Hi8us on the hot-seat for five grueling questions.

Hailing from Boston makes us better than all those non-Boston bands because:

We don’t pronounce our “r”s. Those pesky “r”s slow you down when you are singing a wordy song. We can get through our material much more efficiently when we can substitute a nice “ah” in there instead of another boring consonant.

Also, we feel that we have carved out a unique little sound, having played together for several years now. There is an incubation period you go through as a group where each individual member’s style has to find its spot. Over time, the four of us have become quite comfortable with each other’s personalities as players. Having gotten to that point, we know where each of our strength’s lie, and we are able to showcase those elements in our collective sound.

As far as us being better than all those non-Boston bands… eh, “better” is a pretty subjective term when it comes to pop music. I think what sets us apart right now is that we are playing songs we want to play. Our songs don’t fall neatly into a genre. Some people want to label us an indie rock band, some want to call us a jamband. We think we are both of those at times and neither at other times. The point is that we are playing for us and not to fit in with a particular scene. We are just trying to play the music we hear in our head, not take ourselves too seriously, and have tons of fun in the process.

Name at least three bands that are still around and touring that you’d love to be on a bill with, and think it fits well:

Rogue Wave

The Roots

Hall & Oates

Your favorite Boston venue to perform in is:

The Lizard Lounge in Cambridge

Are there any genres that influence your music conceptually, rather than sonically? (In that you can’t hear from simply listening to the music, but from getting into the structure or mathematics of the song-writing, etc.)

I wouldn’t say that any one particular genre has an overwhelming influence on our songs. Instead, I feel like we have taken key pieces from a few select genres and melded them into something that is our own. For instance, we play a song called “The Crawl.” The song starts out with a relatively standard verse/chorus arrangement, then there is a complete departure from that theme and we get into a dance/house-style jam section for the rest of the song. As a complete composition, it has structural elements of a song from a band like Social Distortion, as well as something you would hear from a band like The New Deal.

We want our songs to dig deep enough so the people who listen closely are able to sink their teeth into something that we are doing, but also remain straightforward and keep it palatable. It’s rock ‘n’ roll.

Your favorite local bar to hit up when not doing the whole band deal is:

The Sevens on Charles Street.

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(Press Photo Credit: Melissa Watkins)

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