Last fall, I randomly found myself at Divan Orange and was surprised to see a solid and incredibly talented band performing before me. Montreal’s own The High Dials were just about to launch their EP, “Yestergraves”, and I assumed it was their first. Little did I know, the band had been around for over a decade, had toured all over North America and Europe, and had multiple records to their name. Fail on my part. So I decided to sit down and have a chat with singer Trevor Anderson to get to know The High Dials a little better, in the wake of the band’s recent 2 year break, and right before their anticipated CMW appearances.
Guinness in hand, Trevor asked me right away what I knew about the band. I answered truthfully: I didn’t know much but more importantly, I was shocked that I didn’t.
“Yeah, I’m not so surprised” said Trevor. He explained that he’s always felt a disconnect with their beloved hometown. According to the singer, it might be an unfortunate result of having been labelled a psychedelic band, something he feels hasn’t been popular in the city. Though Trevor doesn’t quite agree with the label himself, he admits the psych world has always taken an interest in the band and has been overwhelmingly supportive, especially on the West Coast.
Trevor did however emphasize how much he appreciates the Montreal fans the band does have. Though not overwhelming in number, Trevor recognises that most have been following them for years, something that surprises the singer. And we can imagine the fans will continue to do so.
The High Dials have been together for over 10 years. In the mid 2000’s, they spent most of their time playing shows all over, stopping by some of the worlds most famous festivals. This lead the band to gain popularity elsewhere and play with some incredible artists such as Brian Jonestown Massacre and Neko Case. Beyond the shows, they worked collaboratively with The Zombies songwriter Rod Argent and Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham. things were looking up. But after 3 albums, 1 EP and countless shows, it eventually took a toll on a band: emotionally, physically and creatively, they were drained. In 2011, The High Dials announced they were going on hiatus: not quite sure if they were going to continue playing together, feeling somewhat compelled to explore new creative paths.
Two years passed by before the band would reunite, an amount of time Trevor himself never really planned on. “We were thinking of taking a break then all of a sudden, 6 months had gone by and still, there was nothing. We weren’t ready.” Soon after, Trevor and fellow bandmates Robbie MacArthur and George Donoso decided to get together and start writing. It was clear to all them that they, as The High Dials, weren’t quite done yet. At last, the boys had enough material to release an EP. “After taking 2 years off, we decided not to wait to have a full album ready before releasing something. We thought it was better to release it bit by bit. But we have been working very hard and should be able to release another EP in May and an album in August.” An album you can, and should, pre-order here.
You can tell right away how excited Trevor is about working with the band again, something he frequently mentions during the interview. “I just can’t wait to get back out there, play some shows, tour.” First up, two major shows during Canadian Music Week, in Toronto. Though this isn’t their first CMW appearance and live performances aren’t their number one focus right now, the opportunity was too good to decline. Montrealers can also check out the band, as they just decided to play a secret-not-so-secret show on May 7th at Bar Beaubien in Montreal. They’ll be announcing the show the day of.
Other than up and coming live shows and a new EP, there’s been recent buzz surrounding the band due their recent feature on Netflix’s House of Cards (Chapter 21 -Check out their song Uruguay below.). The band clearly has some great things to look forward to.
To finish off a great conversation, I asked Trevor to tell me what his musical guilty pleasure was. “Hall and Oats. I just love Hall and Oats.” Nope. That didn’t count. So he continued. “Ok. Sometimes I watch American Idol. I’m not proud of that one and I don’t agree with the way it works, but I still find myself watching it!”. That’s better.
Check out The High Dials:
May 7th at Bar Beaubien
May 9th @11PM at the Dakota Tavern
May 10th @ 12 AM at the Bovine Sex Club
Check out the band’s Website here
Pre-order their new album here
About Caroline Royer
NUMTL Founder and Editor-in-chief, Caroline is an Ottawa-born Montrealer who has spent the better part of her life playing and listening to music. Otherwise, she is a diehard Sens fan, freakishly into architecture and industrial design and terrible at staying put for more than 5 minutes.