D’urbervillin’

Toronto band works hard to make their music

The D’Urbervilles just released their first LP, titled We Are The Hunters.
The D’Urbervilles just released their first LP, titled We Are The Hunters.
Credit: 
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A sweet indie release does not a full-time rock star make. Though they’re about to embark on their first cross-Canada tour with their newly released album We Are The Hunters on Out Of This Spark Records, the D’Urbervilles boys are keeping their day jobs for now, anyway.

Drummer Greg Santilly and guitarist Tim Bruton both live in Oshawa. Santilly’s selling used cars and Bruton’s working two jobs, volunteering at a local high school and operating the zamboni for the Oshawa area arenas. John O’Regan, who does vocals and plays keyboard and guitar, is currently living in Guelph working as a cook. Bassist Kyle Donnelly has also found employment in the culinary arts working at Fresh, a vegetarian restaurant in downtown Toronto. But the foursome hasn’t exactly settled into a nine-to-five lifestyle. They’re still pursuing their instrumental-heavy laid back rock club sound.

“I’m counting down the days until I stop working and we start the tour,” Donnelly said with a laugh when asked if there are downsides to touring. “For us it’s still really exciting. We haven’t been, to use the rock cliché, hardened by the road. I’ve already got a check-list of stuff I need to pack and we’re probably all going to buy journals.” The lines of their journals may not be completely filled with exciting tales of playing rock shows across Canada, though. The D’Urbervilles may also have to pull out a pencil and crunch some numbers.

“The only thing I’m not looking forward to is the money side of things,” Donnelly said.

As of right now, the band has just enough money for the tour and they’re hoping to make some extra cash by selling T-shirts and CDs and make it all the way across Canada without running low.

They’re staying positive and with their first full-length album getting lots of buzz, they have a lot to look forward to. This record combines both old and new material.

“This time recording, some of the songs were new for us, I still didn’t know some of my parts. But Chris Stringer—a wealth of knowledge—pushed us to do different things,” Donnelly said of the band’s producer, who has worked with fellow Canadian artists Marching On and Ohbijou.

Beyond time spent in the studio, The D’Urbervilles have distinguished themselves because of intensely energetic live shows, something Donnelly’s not sure translated onto the album.

“I was actually just talking to a friend who said they had read a review that said we failed to capture our live show energy—so maybe we didn’t do that,” he said.

“But we did try. Stringer came to our lives shows and we tried to recreate live shows by playing all together in the studio [instead of recording separately].” Another one of the band’s quirks is their open acknowledgment of suburbia as inspiration. Donnelly cites “bears, Oshawa, Guelph, strip malls and unrequited love” as the things that influence the band.

“For John, he writes most of the stuff, a lot of inspiration does come from suburbia. There are a lot of references to strip malls and suburban life in our songs. We’re also influenced by all the minimum wage jobs we’ve all had,” Donnelly said.

“The picture of the mountains on the cover of the CD is actually a construction site in Oshawa where they are making way for the new Wal-Mart.” The D’Urbervilles are excited to return to Kingston, having played previous gigs at The Grad Club, Elixer and even Smijie’s—“it was the first time we saw someone with a tie on at our show” Donnelly recalled. They play at The Grad Club this Friday.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen. Hopefully something will come from this tour,” he said.

It sure doesn’t sound like he’s ready to be back working in a nine-to-five kitchen anytime soon.

The D’Urbervilles play their CD release party with Nich Worby at The Grad Club tonight at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available at The Grad Club and Destinations.

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