It seems all too often bands are eager to bemoan their city, country or circumstances. Hooded Fang, on the contrary, embrace their surroundings while sticking to their do-it-yourself approach that has given them creative control on the one hand and ultimate responsibility on the other.
A seven piece band, consisting of members Daniel Lee, April Aliermo, Julia Barnes, Nicholas Hune-Brown, Lane Halley, Lorna Wright and D.Alex Meeks, Hooded Fang exude polished professionalisms underpinned by carefully crafted songwriting and musicianship. The touchstones of Hooded Fang's sound are Daniel Lee's spacious baritone and there myriad of auxiliary percussion, instruments and vocal harmonies. Each song sounds refreshingly different and stylistically diverse.
Being in a big city can be both a blessing and an impediment to a band struggling to make a name for itself and there is no bigger city, and likely no market more saturated, than Toronto. However, when asked about his experience in Toronto, Lee spoke fondly of the communal atmosphere he encountered.
"It's a big city so it's pretty easy to get lost in the shuffle, but we have met some really great people and we all just want to see each other do well and succeed," says Lee. "We are all in this together."
Lee and company clearly choose to embrace the benefits of the big city and use their relationships with other bands to build a sense of community amongst musicians in Toronto.
This cooperative attitude is supported by an indepedent work ethic-- all the tracks were recorded, produced and mixed at home by Lee, saving the band thousands of dollars in recording time. The process wasn't all smooth sailing, though.
"[It was] frustrating at times, because you have unlimited time to mix so you obsess, but in the end we maintained complete creative control so that's a huge benefit," recounts Lee.
Self-releasing a full-length album is a daunting task full of risks and potential pitfalls. However, Hooded Fang's hard work is starting to pay off. Their album, Album, has garnered much acclaim, and even earned them an appearance at Canadian Music Week. Hooded Fang shared a stage with nationally acclaimed acts such as Malajube and Born Ruffians and appeared on Jian Ghomeshi's show, Q, on CBC Radio. Somewhat bizarrely, Hooded Fang also had a song featured on Degrassi Takes Manhattan.
Hooded Fang's success has also been without the support of any type of record label, releasing Album on Daps Records, a label created by Lee and another fellow bandmate April Aliermo. Lee humbly remarks that he is surprised and very pleased by the response that the album is getting as he prepares to begin the western leg of the tour in Winnipeg on March 31. Hooded Fang will play thirteen dates between Ottawa and Vancouver with the Rural Alberta Advantage.
"It's my first time out west with this band so I am really excited," says Lee. "We have toured with them before for a mini tour in Ontario and they are really good guys."
Though touring with another band headlining isn't always ideal, Hooded Fang see it as a necessary and enjoyable step in their career.
"It's fun and a little difficult at times, you have to make certain allowances sometimes but I really enjoy touring with all of them . . . I can't imagine it differently".
So here's hoping that Degrassi can help spark music careers-- Hooded Fang have certainly put in the work. Who knows, maybe RAA will soon open for them?