Here & There—from the Azores to Kingston

Unlike other Canadian bands, Here and There recorded an album in Portugal’s Azores Islands.
Unlike other Canadian bands, Here and There recorded an album in Portugal’s Azores Islands.
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Photo courtesy of myspace.com

Concert Preview: Here and There @ Elixir, Tonight

While most of today’s indie rock bands record their latest album at an inconspicuous and less-than-glamorous studio or in their garage, such is not the case for up-and-coming band Here and There.

In fact, the locale of their recording studio—and the recording studio itself—is probably one of the most atypical things about the band. After all, not a great deal of today’s indie rock was created and recorded in a beach house on the isolated Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal.

“We recorded the whole album on the beach at this beachhouse ... and really [became a] part of the community after a while,” says vocalist and guitarist Dan Rochester said in an interview with the Journal earlier this week. “It was the ideal atmosphere to be recording an album in.” Local music fans need not worry about having to make a trip to the Azores Islands, though. Fortunately, Here and There are stopping in Kingston as part of their current tour across Ontario and Quebec, and will be performing at Elixir Nightclub tonight. This foursome is strong on brotherly love, in a literal sense, as they’re comprised of two duos of brothers. Rochester is the band’s vocalist and guitarist. Rochester’s brother, Matt, holds strong as the band’s drummer. In addition, Andrew Terry adds his talents on guitar, while his brother and Dan’s childhood friend, Michael rounds out the band as their bassist. Coincidentally enough, both Andrew and Michael, are former Queen’s students who spent some of their formative years here before venturing into the music industry.

Despite the flash-in-the-pan existence of many of today’s “indie” bands, Here and There have some unique characteristics that foreshadow future success. Rochester admits that he doesn’t follow new music as closely as he once did, but he does enjoy the current renaissance of indie music and its rising popularity in the North American music scene.

“I remember the good times when you had I Mother Earth and Our Lady Peace and Moist, but there was a lull there after that, and I like it a lot better than that [lull],” Rochester said. “But, I still don’t find that there is a lot that catches my interest.”

Both the Rochester and Terry brothers have a strong foundation in music. Dan and Matt’s mother is an organist and music teacher at Wilfrid Laurier University. In addition, Mike and Andrew’s father is a virtuoso violinist. “So, I mean Mike is therefore a virtuoso bassist,” Rochester joked.

In addition, the band is able to liaise from genre to genre and does so in a seemingly effortless manner. With such diverse musical influences as Finley Quaye, Radiohead, Ani DiFranco and Jeff Buckley, it’s easy to understand how the band manages to achieve such a broad range of sounds.

This aurally pleasing diversity is illustrated quite well on their album Café Soito, ranging from the vocally-charged and upbeat “Saratoga Song” to the more subdued and melancholy track “Hold On.” In addition, Here and There experiments with several blues songs and rounds off their versatility with an astonishing Hendrix-esque 90-second guitar solo on the track “Killing From A Distance.” As a result of this versatility, it is difficult to prescribe Here and There a genre label.

“We want to come up with our own cool moniker of what we are,” Rochester said. “We pretty much express any musical energy that we feel like and sound like a bunch of different bands while still [maintaining] our own sound at the same time.”

In terms of future plans, Rochester said the only plan is to not have one. “The way we’ve been running this band since we started is that we don’t make any plans. It’s sort of ‘This is what we’re doing now and we’ll figure out what we’re going to do next,’ ” Rochester said. “That’s what we did with the Azores [trip], and then we decided we would come back here and play some shows, and we will keep doing that until it’s time to step up.”

Although the band doesn’t have plans, Rochester said he does have one future goal in mind. “I’d like it to be a long-term career,” Rochester said. “[If I do something else], I’ll have a lot of regrets.” So, if you’d rather enjoy the refreshingly distinct music of Here and There than spend your time enslaved by textbooks about Chaucer or molecular biology, then head to the Elixir tonight.

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