The Toronto garage-pop bangers Hooded Fang have spent a lot of time on the road as of late. But they also just released a new record.
Gravez is a welcome follow-up to 2011’s Tosta Mista, filled with the same kind of rough-edged and catchy tunes that have come to be expected from the Canadian tour monsters.
Frontman and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Lee spoke with SoundDiego recently from a tour stop in Minneapolis about the new record and his love of comics.
SM: How’s it going?
DL: Things are going well. Tour has been great.
SM: New album means new set lists.
DL: Yeah, it’s been awesome to work all of the new stuff in.
SM: You write all the songs. Tell me a little about the process.
DL: I just write when I feel like writing. Like “Ode to Subterrania” from the new record is something that’s a little older.
SM: It’s an incredibly catchy song.
DL: Thanks. It was written in Calgary. We were on tour and were staying at a friend’s place. We had a day off, so I wrote it there. I liked it and knew it would have to go on the new album.
SM: So there’s no set routine?
DL: There hasn’t been in the past, but everything’s a bit more regimented now. We’re scheduling things around each other these days. I still write whenever, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do it that way. Like on the road, it’s hard to complete stuff. I do get stuff down, but it’s just such a different mind space. Being on the road is like purgatory. There’s just so much waiting. And it’s hard to commit yourself to anything because there’s always something coming up.
SM: What’s the band look like these days?
DL: It’s a four-piece right now. But we do currently have an extra guitar player with us. It’s just for kicks because we want him around, but the core group is the four of us.
SM: You guys have side-projects and do DJing as well. Do you find them bleeding into one another?
DL: Completely. The more time goes by, the more they cross over into one another. Definitely. They still sound like different projects, but ideas will blend. For me, the way writing works, if I’m into something at the moment, it just goes into everything that I write. The lines are starting to get blurred [laughs]. And it’s always kind of been like that, but that’s fine with me.
SM: Toronto seems like such a great scene these days.
DL: There are a s--- ton of bands in the city. There are so many genres represented as well. And most people have never heard of the really good ones. There are a lot of people who just stay in the city and make music but don’t tour it. It’s nuts. But I think there’s always been a lot of great music in Toronto, and it’s just lately that it’s been getting exposure internationally. Take a band like Metz. They’re crazy. But they’ve been around Toronto for a long time, and they finally just did it and got signed to Sub Pop. There’s a really great thriving music community in the city as well. Everyone whose in it plays in different bands and collaborates on different projects. But as a whole, Toronto is great. Any night, you can see as many shows as you’d like. It’s a little overwhelming.
SM: Artist Patrick Kyle did a video for you guys and now he did your cover art.
DL: I’m not superdeep into the visual-arts community, but I do like comic books a lot, and Patrick makes great ones. I was at the comic shop a while back, and I bought one of his. It was hilarious, so I kinda just cold-called him. Now we’re buddies, and he does a tremendous amount of cool s---. And he’s the one who introduced me to the whole comic book scene, and those guys are like celebrities to me. I hold them in such high regard. It’s just not a world that I’m a part of -- I mean, I draw and make T-shirts, but I’ve never done anything like a comic. I’m always around famous musicians, and I’m like, “Aw, whatever.” But get me around some comic guys and I’m like, “Oh, my God!” It’s funny.
SM: What’s next?
DL: We’ll be in Toronto for the summer and then go to Europe in September. Me and [bassist] April [Aliermo] have a record ready for our band Phédre, and we’re deciding how to release it. So we’ll be making videos and rehearsing, and all of that stuff. It’s good to switch it up.