Hunger Hush is a band that has taken the Calgary style of indie rock and twisted it. The music that is created by the four members, Steve Wirzba (guitars, vocals), Alastair Pollock (keys, trumpet, vocals), Andrew Smale (bass, guitars) and Ben Tan (drums), has elevated the standards of what the Calgary scene considers indie pop/rock.
“Soak up everything you can, even if you think it doesn’t apply to you, or that you’re not going to like it.” Wirzba shares a piece of advice that is universal to all artists. These young men live by those words, giving what free time they have to the art scene in Calgary. All of the members of this band have full-time jobs, or are busy with university, or both, so it was a surprise to learn that with all of that aside, Pollock and Wirzba still manage to find time to contribute to a not-for-profit art advocacy group. Wirzba explains how he spends his free time “just being in the music scene, but also taking that to a broader extent, enriching urban life and community in Calgary.”
Hunger Hush has toured through Western Canada and, in their usual fashion, only have pleasant things to say about their experiences. “The most positive thing, I think, is the general sense of camaraderie and the chance to see someone who is your good friend in a different light,” Wirzba explains.
Having played together for about three years now, you can hear the evolution Hunger Hush is making in their music. From their EP, Hunger Hush, to their upcoming album, Regards, you get a strong sense of how these artists changed their method to produce a polished album. Pollock comments on the changes, “With this new album, we took a more hands-on approach. This time around we were more confident in pursuing our artistic vision.” The collection of tracks on Regards came together organically: “We didn’t set out to write an album, we kind of just kept adding stuff on, and it has all come together,” he says.
The laidback approach to the development of Regards speaks directly to the style of these four gentlemen. Wirzba explains that what’s important to these guys is to enjoy what they’re doing and to make sure that they treat everyone with respect. “I don’t have any aspirations that our band is going to become this super famous international thing, but I would like people to look at our band as a bunch of guys who brought something sort of new to the scene and that we are really great people to work with”.
“Music is a way to channel emotions,” Tan shares, saying that not only does playing music allow that freedom, but how listening and the physical motion of playing an instrument can as well. It wasn’t surprising to hear this because, after listening to their music, you get a strong sense of emotion. These four guys have had amazing experiences with music and Pollock explains how he just wants to make people feel the way he did when he was affected by a particular song.
It’s a must see for music fans: to see how this band is taking Calgary’s long standing tradition of indie pop/rock and making it their own. Their roots are obviously in Calgary, but their influences come from far and wide, giving them a fresh new sound that the scene was looking for.
Catch the release of Hunger Hush’s powerful new album, Regards, at the Palomino Smokehouse on November 29. Listen to the track “St. Gregory” below.
By Brittany Lahure