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- Posted on Mar 8th 2010 6:57AM by Darlene Dela Cruz
St. John's, Newfoundland natives Hey Rosetta! head to SXSW off a series of 2009 accomplishments, with recognition by Canadian Music Week, the East Coast Music Awards and beyond for the band's album 'Into Your Lungs (And Around in Your Heart and on Through Your Blood).' The band, currently working on a new album, recently played gigs at the Grammys and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Spinner caught up with frontman Tim Baker before the band's jaunt to Austin.
Describe your music.
You know, I'm not entirely sure. I guess I would say we're sort of what we are. We sound like we're a singer-songwriter with a rock band that has strings in it.
How did Hey Rosetta! form?
That was many years ago now, it seems. I started the band; I had a pile of songs when I was in the university in Montreal. I hadn't really played that much, and I moved back home to Newfoundland, to St. John's. I had all these songs, and I started playing them just for fun, and then I started playing them in the mini-bars here that have people playing acoustic guitars. I played with a friend of mine for a while, but it wasn't really enough. I thought the songs kind of deserved a lot more texture and scope and sound, so I kind of just went searching around for some people, for some good people. In the beginning it was just cello and piano and acoustic guitar, and some sort of percussion, and it just kind of expanded.
What are your personal musical influences?
Growing up, I listened to a lot of Cat Stevens and Paul Simon and the Beatles. In junior high and high school, a lot of "the rock of the day" -- Nirvana, Metallica and Pearl Jam. More than anything, I think these days, it's the bands that we play with, tour with, hook up with and meet and trade CDs. I'm looking at a Radiohead DVD right now. They're just omnipresent in everyone's mind when they're creating music, I think -- certainly in mine.
How did you come up with the band name?
I wanted a name that I wouldn't be embarrassed telling people the band was called. That one is a reference to the Rosetta Stone -- this object that just opened up a whole world of knowledge and belief. Just calling to that idea.
What's in your festival survival kit?
Certainly, like, sunscreen. I always like to bring my little baby guitar and walk around the festivals. I bring a lot of granola bars around -- when you're running around and playing, you don't ever eat. Yeah, those are key. And definitely some sort of flask, "secret tankers" sort of thing. And, I don't know ... shorts?
Do you guys have any vices?
No, we're a pretty boring band. There's obviously a lot of drinking going on, but it's not really our fault, you know. We play in bars, and they give us all these free drinks every night of the week. But I actually, personally, hardly ever drink on tour. I can't really sing hungover day after day. A lot of drinking, but not too many vices, I think.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
I do have a soft spot for Phil Collins. I don't know if he qualifies as "guilty."
What's your favorite Phil Collins song?
'Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now).' Makes me bawl every time.
Beatles or Stones?
That's a good question. I like them both. They're both very different. I guess if I had to listen to one right now, it would probably be the Rolling Stones. Right now, I'm really into production, and I don't know, there's something sort of tangibly awesome about Rolling Stones' production, the simplicity of it. And there's a feeling -- there's like a swagger, something sort of indescribable that comes through. And I'm really curious about that side of production, how you get that sort of "blues-ness" and just f---ing coolness, really.
How would you compare Canada's music scene with that of the US?
I know hardly anything about the music scene in the US. I know I can sort of compare the music scene of Newfoundland to the music scene of Canada, which may be sort of like a similar comparison, but to a more extreme degree. You get a lot of bands here [in St. John's], and it's sort of collaborative, I guess. More than anything, I find that everybody is just really real. You don't really start a band in St. John's to become well-known, or to make money, or to be sort of famous or to even gain any measure of success by it. You just do it because you love playing music, and you have musical ideas that are in you and should be out of you. And that's certainly a difference I find when we go to a big city, with all the music weekly magazines and the rat race, and the fashion, and everything that we're not used to. Which has never really been the issue here. Maybe it's a similar relationship between here and the United States.
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