HOODED FANG and PHEDRE with MOON KING, DOLDRUMS and L CON as part of DAPS REVUE VOL. 1 at the Great Hall (1087 Queen West), Friday (February 24), doors 8:30 pm. $10-$12. RT, SS, TM. See listing.
When we spoke to Daniel Lee and April Aliermo over speakerphone from the family bathroom in Toronto's Pearson Airport, much of the conversation revolved around their recently-released side project, Phèdre.
That's no big surprise - that woozy electro-pop collaboration with Doldrums' Airick Woodhead has been blowing up over the last few weeks - but they also had some interesting tidbits to share about their primary band, Hooded Fang.
"Phèdre is totally getting more attention than Hooded Fang," says Aliermo. "That's kind of funny because it was just a fun little project that we put together in a few days with no real expectations. It's awesome that it's exploding into the world like this, but Hooded Fang is still our main focus."
Hooded Fang, however, is going through a few changes. Those accustomed to the band's full six to seven-piece lineup, for instance, might be surprised to see a much slimmer Hooded Fang at the Daps Revue this Friday at the Great Hall. Last December, the band bid farewell to founding members Nicholas Hune-Brown and Lorna Wright, who left to pursue other projects. Both are doing well outside of the band - Hune-Brown is a successful freelance journalist, while Wright has landed an acting part on the John Grisham-adapted TV series, The Firm.
But the now core four-piece lineup (aided by some occasional brass accompaniment) better represents the direction Hooded Fang already headed on its breezy, ‘60s-influenced surf-pop sophomore album, Tosta Mista, a noticeable departure from the glock-inflected twee-pop of their debut, Album.
Lee and Aliermo admit they purposely waited less than a year after Album to put out Tosta Mista to avoid being pigeonholed as "that kind of band."
"It's all pop music," says Aliermo. "But we're trying to play songs that we can really get into and just make the music as tight and as fun as possible as a live band."
"When you play in a band that's really orchestrated, you tend to sacrifice some spontaneity," Lee elaborates. "We can't pull off the little nuances of Album to the same degree with this current lineup, but we don't really want to either. Album was a pretty clean, crafted pop record, and that's not really where we're at as a band right now."
Where Lee and Aliermo have multiple side-projects to explore their different musical impulses - Phèdre, but also Hut and Tonka & Puma - they're apparently all coming together to form the next Hooded Fang record, which they say explores their more "rhythmic, groove-based" side.
"Tosta Mista was a pretty straight ahead surf-pop record," says Aliermo. "The next album is going to be more of a bridge between a lot of different influences, rather than a tribute to one exact genre. Hopefully it'll just get more interesting."
"I mean, we're pop music fans," adds Lee. "And I think anyone who appreciates music tends to want different styles. The older you get, you kind of go through these different genres of music and research the shit of them. I think it would be unfortunate not to try to explore all those different ideas."
Hooded Fang has already started demo-ing the next album and aims to release it by the end of 2012. If you plan to catch them Friday at the Great Hall, keep an ear out. According to Lee and Aliermo, the show will mark the debut of at least four new songs.