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Jacob Hoggard on Tonight's Giller Prize and the New Hedley Album

COMMENT ON THIS POST TO WIN over $300 in music courtesy of Universal.

universal-music-prize.jpgIncludes the deluxe edition of Storms (Ultimate Fanpack CD w/T-Shirt), Hedley's Go With the Show (Ultimate Fanpack CD w/ T-Shirt), the collector's edition of Jay-Z's Hits Collection, Vol. 1, U2 360 Live at the Rosebowl (Deluxe DVD), Water on the Road - Eddie Vedder Live (DVD), The Tragically Hip's Hipeponymous (Ltd. Edition Boxset) and more!

A winner will be chosen on Tuesday, November 15th.

Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard is celebrating the release of the band's new album, Storms, today with us at the Giller Prize Gala, where he'll be presenting Zsuzsi Gartner's Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, one of the six finalists up for the prize.

I chatted with him as he was reading the book and also getting ready to share Hedley's latest record with the world. Here's what he had to say about how both works relate to his own personal life and what it was like to write the title track of the new record with Babyface...

First of all, how are you enjoying reading Better Living Through Plastic Explosives?

JH: It's amazing, I'm actually reading it aloud to my girlfriend as well because, I'm like, this is just incredible. Zsuzsi's a fantastic author and very clever and, so, usually I'd power through but I've found myself reading quite carefully.

I've really gotten into her ability to juxtapose the perceived open-mindedness of west coast culture with its intrinsic elitism - how people actually act and feel towards one another. I think she gets into a really carnal side of a lot of her characters in the short stories.

Are you excited to meet her?

JH: Absolutely, that's one of the fascinating things about it. As I'm reading, I'm getting to know where she's coming from. Because part of what anybody does as an artist or as a writer comes from within them, from within their experiences and perspectives. I'm almost getting to know how she thinks before I get to meet her, which is exciting.

Of course, it's all based in the west coast and I'm from Vancouver, so I'm picking up on some of her more subtle references as well.

Zsuzsi Gartner (above) and Jacob Hoggard.

Do you find her work speaks to you as a west coaster, then?

JH: Absolutely... just the way she tells her stories and some of the stereotypes she incorporates into regional situations. But it's also something that someone who's not from the area could easily wrap their head around.

You've just released your own album. How are you and the band feeling on the verge of sharing Storms with the world.

JH: I'm really excited about it... it's really a time stamp of where I've been and what the band's gone through in the last year and a half and it really speaks to our constitution and our ability to deal with what life throws our way and continue to work on what we're working on.

So, what exactly went down in the last year and a half that put you all to the test? I read that there were "pretty serious issues".

JH: It was a contrast because there was a lot of life happening. Someone really close to us got really sick and it was really difficult for a lot of us to get through it and to be there for them as well. And there were also babies brought into our small family of band members and people we work with and people we're close to. It was the cycle of life taking place as we were making a record and I think, ultimately, the challenge for us was to continue.

It was, ultimately, a rewarding challenge to get through and why we called the record Storms. That's what life is about - everyone goes through storms and, eventually, they end and the sun comes out again.


Given how life experience has changed you, is there anything different we can expect from this record?

JH: It's always been a happy progression as we continue to write and perform and our tastes change. But, for example, there's a track at the end of the record that I produced as well and I wouldn't have been able to take a stab at producing it had it been an earlier album, just because of the experience that I've gained since then.

It's a live track and it's eight minutes long and Dave and I wrote it and produced it and we took 32 takes of it in the studio. So, it was a very, very long night, but one of those chances to really push ourselves as musicians and songwriters.

What is your working process like?

JH: There are so many variables... sometimes its me in Garage Band in the back of the tour bus, sometimes it's Dave and I in the studio... I'll also go on writing trips and I've made a lot of really great friends over the past few years.

On this record, actually, I got the chance to work with Babyface - a phenomenal artist. It was such an amazing experience and we really bonded and, ultimately, the fact that he treated me like a peer and would consistently look over at me was just incredible.

I saved some of the best songs I was working on for him and I knew it could have been one of those once in a lifetime chances and so I just hit him with everything I had. I brought him a track, which I initially anticipated being the title track of the record - it was called "Stormy".

He ended up loving it and just honed in on the lyrics and he crushed it. He was really happy with the track... he was just grateful, which was really flattering to me, of course. And he drove me to my hotel afterward, which was really cool! It was just a really rewarding experience.

Preview "Stormy" and the rest of Hedley's Storms on iTunes now. 

Jacob at the Scotiabank Giller Prize Gala live tonight at 9:00 pm ET on Bold at 9pm (9.30 NT) and rebroadcast at 11:05 pm (11:35 NT) on CBC TV.

The gala will also be live streamed on CBC Books with a concurrent live chat. 

Read our interview with another of tonight's Giller Prize presenters, Nelly Furtado.

COMMENT ON THIS POST TO WIN over $300 in music courtesy of Universal, including the deluxe edition of Storms.



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