Hinterland
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Hinterland

| INDIE

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"CD review from Discorder"

Vancouver's Hinterland have released a debut that beautifully captures the soaring epic feel of their rock-meets-ambient milieu. Under the Waterline has a sweeping, cinematic feel, setting off Michaela Galloway's melodies which include her clear, bell-like voice as well as her flute and oboe playing. Tones are layered with subtlety, but are powerfully evocative. There is something new to hear with every spin. The sonic focus here is textural juxtaposition, giving the album a floating, quivering flavour that is hard to describe in print. You must hear it! There, that's all my left brain is contributing here - go find out for yourself. Your right brain will love you for it.

Vampyra Draculea, DiSCORDER [July 2004] - Discorder


"CD review from LOGO"

Often, the best music emerges from dreams, that uncharted region between the conscious and the unconscious where the mind finds itself untethered and making spurious connections between unrelated events. Just as often, the best music sounds like those very same dreams. This was the secret behind the success of Cocteau Twins, Cranes and endless ranks of shoegazers, an ethos that still holds today when you consider the work of Sigur Ros. Vancouver’s Hinterland create music best played just as you’re slipping into those dreams. There may well be meaningful lyrics here, it’s hard to tell, as Michaela Galloway prefers to use her little-girl-lost voice as a melodic instrument; the key here though is the sense of yearning, the sense of reaching for something forever beyond your grasp. ‘Under The Waterline’ burrows into your psyche like an insidious earworm, an irresistible invitation to stop, listen and absorb.

Michael Ornadet, LOGO Magazine (UK) [March 2004]
- LOGO Magazine


"review/interview from Exclaim"

From somewhere beneath the schizophrenic synthesisers and taut rhythms comes a need to escape, a desire to break away from monotonous, materialistic bonds and our own obsessive, set-in-the-past ways. Pan Pan Medico is the third album by Vancouver, BC’s Hinterland and is as equally enthralling and addictive as their previous record, Picture Plane. Hinterland’s moody, new wave-flavoured dream pop casts its spell over all 12 songs, dragging the listener into a rabbit hole of shoegaze-drenched rock riffs and heavy pop melodies. “Detwiller Pavilion” is the new “Sirens,” kicking out our feet from beneath us with an intensity and momentum that leaves you wondering which way is up and which way is down. Vocalist Michaela Galloway leads our falling, flailing bodies into a realm of dark and light, of distortion and disillusion, capturing sentiment in a gentle frosting that dusts itself over songs like “Future Ghost” and “You Speak < I’m Silent”. Maybe Hinterland’s psychological explorations have fiddled with our psyches enough to force us to become devoted minions, but my hunch seems to think immaculate talent has something to do with it.

Pan Pan Medico sounds a bit more rock-based than Picture Plane. Where did you want to take this album when you decided to record it?

Vocalist/keyboardist Michaela Galloway: It came out of a few different factors. Since Picture Plane, we have two new members — a new bass player [Robb Johannes] and a new keyboard player [Greg Williams] — so it produced a different dynamic in the band. The new equipment we got also played a huge role. I got a new Moog keyboard that produces all these dark, almost evil sounds. When I’d start writing something on the Moog, some of the songs led us to a heavier sound. There’s also the fact that we were all in a place where we all have individual frustrations in our lives. Everyone’s case was different, like one member ended a long-term relationship and another was going through a gruelling school program. The whole writing and recording process was very intense. Everyone was a little bit on edge somehow and it kind of came through.

Would you say Hinterland are moving into darker territory when it comes to music?

I think it’s always been a thread in our music, but things just came together in a direction of darker, heavier sounds for this record. That doesn’t mean that’s where we’ll go in the future; it’s just what came out on this one. Dark subject matter also came out in the lyrics. The last song on Pan Pan Medico [“The Sentinel”] is about nightmares and the first three songs [“Detwiller Pavilion,” “300.6” and “Somatoform”] are a trilogy of songs about mental illnesses: obsessive compulsive disorder, depersonalisation disorder and hypochondria, respectively. So yeah, there’s definitely some darkness on the record for sure.

How does Pan Pan Medico compare/contrast with your previous work?

It definitely has a heavier sound and the writing process was pretty condensed. We wrote a lot of songs in a very short period of time, compared to the other records. We had two new people in the band and all this new equipment, so it made us write fast because we just wanted to play with all the stuff we had. Earlier in the band’s history, we wouldn’t have been able to afford all this stuff, but now that we have better jobs, we could. Having two new people come into the band allowed us to present a more cohesive picture of what we wanted to do for the record. When we were picking our new members, we were able to pick people who we really thought would capture what the other three of us were feeling. At that stage, it was very formative and we were throwing around a lot of concept words like “angular” and “evil.” Evil was a word we threw around quite a bit, in the sense of morally corrupt rather than hurting people evil. We wanted that ominous feeling of frustration and distress.

Are the themes of distress and anxiety ones you tend to return to?

Yeah, they’re themes carried throughout all of the records, at least lyrically, although I don’t know if we captured it musically until this record, just because not everyone in the band felt that way. The people in the band before were much calmer people than those in the band now, so I don’t know, it just sounded like a clearer distillation in the new record. For me, it was immensely satisfying because that’s always how I’ve wanted to go about things. I’ve always wanted to capture those feelings of frustration and anxiety. You can do that with lyrics but with the keyboards I was able to create these apocalyptic bass lines. My job is super-cerebral because I’m doing my Ph.D in philosophy and I also teach, so I have this job that is very sort of reason-based and doesn’t have a lot to do with feelings or emotional reactions to the world. For me, music has always been that outlet and I really felt I could get a lot out on this record.

How does Pan Pan Medico sonically reflect this desire to call for help, as the album title suggests?

I think that you can really feel it in the bass on this record. The mood also helped with that. There’s also frantic guitar work in places, and I did some things different with my vocals. In the past, we’ve washed the vocals in a lot more reverb, but this time I wanted to keep it dryer and a little bit less polished, just to have more of an edge. We rented, like, the best microphone in the world that’s worth $10,000. John Lennon has sung through this microphone, among other big name people. This mic was pretty much perfect; you didn’t have to hide anything or fix anything. It just gives you your voice. Using this microphone was key in making the vocals sound as I wanted them to sound. - Amanda Ash


"CMW live review"

Vancouver's Hinterland made a strong first impression with their Toronto debut, proving that the effusive praise that’s been heaped on their live show is well warranted, thanks in no small part to the gorgeous voice of lead singer Michaela Galloway. The tiny Galloway ably showed why she was voted best lead singer by the readers of the Georgia Straight, displaying the same amazing vocals that make the band’s excellent debut release, Under the Waterline, such a gem. If you think she sounds amazing on disc wait until you hear her live. Her ethereal vocals meshed beautifully with the lush moody soundscapes her bandmates crafted, particularly on the smoldering 'Tiger Tiger', creating an incredibly hypnotic atmosphere. The band unveiled several new songs with a decidedly more aggressive sound that was reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine. If this mesmerizing show was any indication we can only hope their first show outside of their hometown won’t be their last. - SceneandHeard.ca


"CD review from SceneandHeard"

“The Picture Plane is an absolutely stunning second effort that will please both old and new fans. It successfully melds the slowly unfolding epics of their last album with a raw and heavier sound that will doubtlessly bring them a wider audience. We predict you’re going to hear a lot more about Hinterland in the coming months.” - Sceneandheard.ca


"CD review from FFWD"

“With more confidence and a more aggressive thrust to the material, [The Picture Plane] immediately commands attention…Their sound swings from breathy 4AD-style pop, to epic post rock à la Explosions in the Sky, only to tighten the screws on ‘Inside Outside’ and ‘Exit Signs’ (an instant single if ever I heard one).” - FFWD (Calgary)


"CD review from Discorder"

Vancouver’s own Hinterland are back with another album that charms and moves. Pan Pan Medico has a similar floating, cinematic feel that Hinterland has always employed, though with a bit more structure than some of their past efforts. Trimming the fat (not that there was much of it) has allowed the strengths of their music to shine through even brighter than before. Weaving around singer Michaela Galloway’s vocal work are solid, bright, mostly upbeat indie pop melodies, though with still a bit of electronica and atmospherics blended in. Galloway’s always beautiful voice has more edge to it than before, which adds some interesting undertones to the songs. On a couple of tracks, like “Geometry” and “Future Ghost”, her voice is showcased with minimal support so that the listener can be fully absorbed into the vocal world. There is one instrumental track, “Titled”, which proves that even though Galloway’s voice is so central to the band’s sound, this sound can also stand on its own without any vocals at all. The song is a short but haunting piece that somehow reminds of an old musicbox melody brought into the modern age as it winds down. As always, Hinterland’s music can take you on a journey. It will be interesting to see where their music takes Hinterland next. - Pyrea Draculea


"CD review from See Magazine"

“Hinterland are, on this record, nearly flawless… the Vancouver outfit have taken everything that is mesmerizing about their sound and bumped it up a few dozen notches. Michaela Galloway’s child-like, breezy voice is hair-raising… From the jaw-dropping ‘thisclose’ to ‘Western Development Museum’, by way of ‘Inside-Outside’ and ‘Object Lessons’, the build-ups are massive and intricate, while still poppy enough to satisfy short-attention spans. But ‘Sirens’ is the kicker, a monster of a song where Galloway’s siren-like vocals (of the water kind) echo the band’s siren-like instruments (of the ambulance kind) with an unbearable sense of mad urgency.” - See (Edmonton)


"CD review from Chart"

“Hinterland's musical home base still lies with ethereal shoegazing melodies, but tracks such as "Sirens" and "Inside-Outside" drive forward powerfully and beautifully…‘Object Lessons’ pays homage to Lush and ‘Exit Signs’ wraps up the whole affair wonderfully…” - Chartattack.com


"Vancouver Courier feature"

The band's growing confidence is audible in the epic sweep of the record. Thanks to Steffensen's pumped-up drums, songs like "Sirens" (which opens the disc with hurricane force) and "Inside-Outside" have a propulsive, relentless rhythm that tosses aside any shoegazer references still clinging to the band. A shiver-inducing sharpness to Hinterland's trademark 4AD guitars (particularly on the Cocteau Twins-ish "Corner Spider") and Galloway's high-pitched, near-operatic vocals keep the listener hooked, even as the first record's warmer melodies are replaced by tunes that shift from light to dark. There are still moments of dreaminess, however, particularly on "Object Lessons" and the record's last-and poppiest-song, "Exit Signs."
- Vancouver Courier


Discography

-self-titled EP (self-released, 2002)
-masstransfer installation 6 (compilation, track: "Tiger Tiger"; masstransfer, 2003)
-Under the Waterline (HybridElectric Records, 2003)
-Never Lose That Feeling, Vol. 1 (compilation, track: "For Love"; Club AC30, 2005)
-The Picture Plane (Submerged Records, 2006)
-One Cool Word issue 2 (compilation, track: "Exit Signs", 2006)
-Pan Pan Medico (Submerged Records 2008)
-Rollerderby Records compilation (track: "Sea-Level", forthcoming)
-Let There Be Life (charity compilation; track: "Sea-Level", forthcoming)

Photos

Bio

Since forming at the turn of the millennium, Hinterland has sought to stake out its own patch of sonic turf somewhere near the intersection of wall-of-guitars rock and whisper-soft ambience. Fronted by Michaela Galloway’s otherworldly vocals, the Vancouver band has earned its share of superlatives, with critics describing its music as “evocative”, “atmospheric”, and “irresistible”. In Hinterland’s world, the standard rock instrumentation of guitars, bass, and drums is often augmented by unexpected touches of oboe, flute, glockenspiel, baritone guitar, EBow, and Moog. The songs shimmer, drone, and chime, sometimes lulling the listener into a blissful state before blasting off into the ether.

Hinterland has shared stages with national and international touring acts such as the Album Leaf, Monade, Panurge, A Northern Chorus, Brendan Benson, and Silversun Pickups, and has performed at a number of festivals, including New Music West, North By Northeast, the Western Canadian Music Awards, and Canadian Music Week.

Hinterland is not currently performing live but is actively seeking licensing opportunities for its unique and evocative recordings. Please see http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2223757/resume for a list of the band's film and television credits to date.