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Thursday, 23 October 2014 05:56

Bears in Hazenmore on the edge of something special: need votes in CBC's Rock Your Campus

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The Bears in Hazenmore story couldn’t be more perfect of the formation of a cool band. Well, actually it’s two perfect stories.


The first story revolves around best friends Brady Frank and Dana Rempel who share a love of music. They were acquaintances from the Swift Current area who saw an opportunity for the musicians to start jamming together and wanted to bring in others. Frank knew Darnell Stewart from his employment and saw Hale in another band.
They love music and are encouraged to perform because of the vibrant music scene in the city. They all perform at open stage nights at Swift Current’s Lyric Theatre and think they have an opportunity at something special. They are right. This alternative rock/indie folk band is on the verge of breakthrough greatness. They released a self-titled EP Aug. 19 after recording it in the spring.  They are currently in a CBC contest, Rock Your Campus, where according to Frank, the quintet thought they’d enter just to gauge what kind of response they’d get.
The response exploded. After hundreds of entries, the Bears of Hazenmore are in strong contention for a Top 10 placing and an opportunity at the $10,000 prize.
“It’s crazy,” explains Frank of the band which basically formed in 2013. “When we first started the process of entering it it was just to see if people liked our sound. We weren’t expecting to get to the Top 100 even ... Then we still got even more support and we didn’t expect to be in the Top 10 running.
“I guess our sound is really different, but we still use basic instruments like brass, woodwind, two drum tracks, more than just your basic thing. It’s unique and it’s more than just pop rock, but then again we’re not reinventing the wheel with the instruments.”
The responses was far better than expected and now they’re in the middle of a battle for a Top 10 position.
At last check, they were doing quite well and hoped by Oct. 20, they’d receive some good news.
Bears In Hazenmore consist of Frank (guitar, vocals, keyboards, trombone, french horn), Rempel (bass, tenor, alto sax), Stewart (guitar, bass), Hale (drums, percussion, vocal), and Dalton Lam (keyboards and trumpet).
Frank says if they won, it would go a long way in getting a full length LP recorded in a studio.
Perhaps even better with this national attention is the notoriety and invaluable exposure they are receiving from booking agents, recording companies and venues looking for bands to perform.
One Regina music critic took quite the shine to them and called them an ambient Queen City folk group and “hauntingly good.” Frank thought it was pretty exciting to get that kind of endorsement.
Even better, that particular critic also books guests for the Global TV Regina affiliate’s morning show and they just appeared Oct. 20.
“It was unbelievable timing with the CBC Rock Your Vote,” says Frank with a laugh noting they were booked on the morning show appearance two months ago and had no idea about the CBC contest.
They are able to incorporate a lot of instruments as they are all multi-talented musicians. While the label, alternative is thrown around a lot, they truly are a diverse mixture of rock, jazz, and almost orchestra-like.
Currently, the five-member group is in three different cities with Frank, Rempel and Hale at the University of Regina (where they are in the musical education program), Stewart at the University of Saskatchewan and Lau in Edmonton. They range in age from 18 to 26.
It hasn’t stopped them and any gig the three members in Regina get they either try to get everyone together or just pick up who they need to fill in.
Bears are definitely inspired by all of the performers coming out of the southwest and are buoyed at the success a group such as the Midnight Roses have experienced. Frank says like the Roses who played there last summer, they would love to play in a future Regina Folk Festival. He gives a lot of credit to the southwest, especially the performers and the excellent venues in which each of them were able to hone their craft.
“We’ve done some open stages (at the Lyric). They are helping to support local music — it’s definitely where I found my passion to perform,” explains Frank.
Frank writes a lot of the songs from his personal experiences. He says because they all play different instruments which overlap, they each have their strengths and will contribute to what they think would work musically with those lyrics.
“They can come up with something that has the right feel to it,” says Frank of his bandmates.
How the group got together and their relatively quick rise to fame is one unique story, but then there’s the other story — how they got the name for the band as unique as the group's sound.
Frank and Rempel were doing some work for the Art Gallery of Swift Current in the summer of 2013. One of the jobs they had was to help set up a giant tent in the hamlet of Hazenmore for the community’s 100th anniversary celebrations. As there was no Hazenmore restaurant open that day, some of the locals offered to buy Frank and his friend dinner, but they had to travel to nearby Kincaid.
As they sat in the diner, a rather rambunctious six or seven-year-old child overheard the fact all of these people were working in Hazenmore. The child insisted he knew a friend was in Hazenmore and told him about all the bears that lived there. Of course, this wasn’t correct, but the child was rather insistent this story was true.
Turned out the bears were actually in Waterton, but why let that ruin a good story? 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. That name stuck.
Anyone who wants to help feed the bears and the quest to win the CBC contest, go to: http://music.cbc.ca/#!/ Rock-Your-Campus or check out Twitter at: cbcmusic.ca/ rockyourcampus.

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Ryan Dahlman

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