After some down-time Hay River’s alternative-rock favourite, Trash the Monument, is looking to step up their game and step back into the limelight.
The group – Jesse McCordic, Kyle Camsell, Patrick McNeely and Dalton Dryneck – played the Hay Days art and music festival this year and has been re-energized by the experience.
“It was a bit of a reunion,” said Dryneck. “We didn’t play last year, and we wanted to come back and do it again.”
Dryneck and McCordic have been playing together for years and were joined by McNeely in 2010 and Camsell in 2012 to form the current band. Camsell said that while they were active for a while, busy schedules and circumstances forced them to pull back. They started to focus on the music again in February in preparation for Hay Days and other summer festivals.
Dryneck said the next step is potentially the Gateway Jamboree in Enterprise, but added the biggest impediment to playing gigs is his work schedule at the mines.
“I tell them to take gigs if they can find someone to take my spot,” said the drummer. “But I’ll always try to make it as much as I can.”
Besides Dryneck’s schedule, the biggest challenge for the band has been finding space to practice.
“That’s the hardest thing,” said McNeely. “We’re all pretty young and still live with our parents, and not everyone has a garage or a space to use for jamming. There’s a lot of art out there in Hay River, but not a lot of space and not a lot of funding to get some.”
Trash the Monument has been functioning out of a tent in Camsell’s back yard for the season, but said there is an obvious time-limit on that. While they make-do with their current location, McCordic said writing new music takes more commitment and time.
“To work with new music, to be writing and learning songs … we need to be a bit more set up to do that well,” he said, adding that the goal is to get to a point where the group can record an album.
The band finished in the top 25 in Canada in an online competition put on by EMI Records in 2011 as a result of online voting and say that despite some time away from the stage, they still have a loyal following in town.
“We have a little crowd of people who come out to every concert, no matter what,” said Dryneck. “It’s pretty awesome … at Hay Days we saw a lot of familiar faces.”
But the guys said they aren’t really on the regular roster of Hay River bands playing at smaller events. While they generally play the bigger concerts, like Hay Days and Lobsterfest, they want to get into playing for crowds more often.
“That’s the thing about being in a small town,” said Camsell. “No matter who is playing, you probably know them. I go out and support everyone who plays … it’s great to have live music in town and Hay River is really supportive.”
“There’s been a lot of good feedback from Hay Days,” said McCordic. “People have been coming up and telling us we’ve grown up musically, that our sound is better as a group … but I think we’ve all just gotten more comfortable with our instruments and the music.”