Wednesday, 17 August 2016 13:43

Bears in Hazenmore continue to build their success

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The self-described ambient-alt rock band based in Regina have come a long way from their humble beginnings of friends going to school together in southwest Saskatchewan where they jammed.

Members of the Bears in Hazenmore even have an amusing story about how they got their unique name. Their work this past summer has included helping teach music at the Swift Current Music Camp in the Grove as well as playing on the same stage and concert with the likes of Corb Lund, Sloan and The Stampeders in Bengough in July.
The quintet consists of Brady Frank (lead vocals/guitar/keys), Tanner Wilhelm Hale (drums/vocals), Dalton Lam (trumpet), Dana Rempel (bass/sax), and Darnell Stewart (guitar).
Their summer tour will wind up with some dates in B.C. For the band all of the hard work now is building towards a big 2017. The plan is to release a full-length CD.
“We’ve been working really hard this past year on writing songs for our full length record that we plan to put out next year so everything is really building towards that,” explains Frank. “Our work getting ready for this upcoming tour is to really start feeling comfortable playing those songs that we want to put on the new album for when we go to record them. As for tours, we plan to head east in the fall and aim for a large release tour when we release the new CD.
“When you’re managing yourself, there are always lots things you have to be planning in the future so that you don’t lose momentum as a band. In an industry like music, when there are a lot of other people trying to reach the same goals you are, you really have to be on the ball booking shows and creating new material in advance so you continue to develop your brand and grow.”
The band’s name Bears in Hazenmore as told to Prairie Post came about when Rempel and Frank were in the early stages of the group’s formation. The two were working in Kincaid which isn't far from the even smaller Hazenmore doing a summer project in 2013 for the Art Gallery of Swift Current.
As they sat in the diner, a rather rambunctious six or seven-year-old child  insisted he knew a friend who was in Hazenmore at the time. This friend told him about all the bears that lived in Hazenmore.
Of course, this wasn’t correct, but the child was rather insistent this story was true.It turned out the bears were actually in Waterton, Alta. Frank and Rempel were laughing about these bears in Hazenmore when the friend looked at Frank and said to him that it would be a great name for a band. It stuck.
Now, they have evolved to the point where they have won numerous competitions and gained national notoriety, even though they have other jobs to support the music.
“Most of us have graduated from university, but Dalton is still working on an music education degree from the U of R. The rest of us are either music teachers, or substitute teachers, which are jobs that are work well in terms of being able to take time off to tour,” says Stewart. “We are all committed to the band and would like to continue touring and writing music whenever we can for the time being.
“In the past two years, growing as a band, we certainly have started dividing up the responsibilities more since we are more busy compared to when we first started. Everyone plays a role on the management side and the music side from booking shows, doing press, handling social media, merch(andise), or coming up with new song ideas. I think one of the things we do best is work well as a collaborative team who can overcome our differences when they come up.”
“In an industry like music where there are so many people trying to do the same things you are, it can certainly be frustrating or discouraging if you aren’t granted an opportunity or you aren’t having immediate success,” adds Frank. “I think the key to being successful and not giving up on your goals is to always remember why you’re writing and creating music. If it gives you fulfillment, people like what you’re doing, and you never stop working towards your next goal, then that’s all you need to overcome to challenges.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is their eclectic sound, especially now as they working hard on new material.
Frank says there is always discussion of what works when they’re trying new sounds. He notes it probably lengthens the writing process because it takes time to fully commit to a new sound, but that way “we can analyze exactly how we want the music to come across to listeners.”
Frank is excited and pleased with the music scene in general and is happy for his southwest Saskatchewan counterparts.
“It’s great to see so many success stories from Saskatchewan and the southwest, a lot of which are our friends. I think the key to our music industry being so successful is the community we build as musicians where we all support each other as well as the provincial organizations that give us the opportunities we need to reach our goals,” explains Frank. “Groups like SaskMusic work tirelessly to help Sask. artists reach across the country and world and without grants from organizations like Creative Sask, artists wouldn’t financially be able to reach these goals as well. We’re truly privileged to have so many people on our side as Sask. artists.”

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Ryan Dahlman

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