Rising Hedons
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Rising Hedons


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"Where there's smoke..."

Where there’s smoke ...
By David Chen
Friday, May 16, 2008

The Rising Hedons, a new band out of Taichung, take their “laid-back groove” to Bliss this weekend.
For a while, fires kept chasing Bradley Tindall, lead singer and guitarist of the Rising Hedons. Just after he left London, Ontario, a major fire destroyed his apartment building. Then in Taiwan, a bar he frequented in Hualien, the All-Star Pub, caught on fire the day after his last visit.

It was a sign for the 25-year-old singer-songwriter: “If you’re standing around, you’ll get caught in the fire. If you keep on moving, you’ll be all right.”

So he kept going and hasn’t stopped. Tindall moved to Taichung, served a stint as Boogie Chillin’s lead singer and guitarist, then wrote and recorded the Rising Hedons’ debut album Head Full of Rain, which was released earlier this month. Instead of narrowly escaping fires, Tindall and his new band intend to start one tomorrow evening with a show at Bliss, in Taipei City, one of the stops on their promotional tour.

“I’m running on fumes, but as soon as we get to the show, I get inspired,” he says.

The Hedons are a blues-rock band with some unusual instrumentation. They avoid the standard drum kit for “alternative percussion” tablas and djembe. The idea is to “play blues, but expand it with different players,” Tindall says. For many of the band’s songs he plays a 12-string acoustic guitar, often with a bottleneck slide.

Acoustic instruments drive the Hedons’ sound, but Tindall and bandmate Pete Coulam add electric guitar to half of their songs. “People assume we’re a coffeehouse thing, but we still crank it,” Tindall says. “We like being loud, but not slamming loud.”

Some of Tindall’s musical influences: delta blues legend Son House, for his “total commitment” to his art; the Doors’ Jim Morrison; and the eccentric American folk-singer Devendra Banhart, “for his songwriting.”

Tindall describes the band’s album as having a “laid-back” groove: “The rhythms are on the edge of the beat instead in front, as in rock.” As for the stories on Head Full of Rain, Tindall imagines what Taiwan was like in “the days of excess” and “the heyday of Spring Scream” in the track 1973, which has a mid-tempo, but driving blues rhythm. His close calls with fires are depicted in On the Gas Line. Kenting Sunset is a jam-laden ode to Taiwan’s coastal paradise.

Like many independent musicians, Tindall embraces the do-it-yourself ethic. He recorded the entire album on his own, carrying his laptop and a cart full of microphones and instruments to various recording sites: four apartments and an abandoned warehouse in Taichung. The only thing he didn’t do was the mixing and mastering, which he farmed out to recording engineer Bruce Miller, whose resume includes Miles Davis, Dave Matthews and the White Stripes.

With the album completed, Tindall now lives the rock and roll lifestyle, but mostly as manager. When’s he not teaching in the classroom or on stage, he’s on the computer, maintaining the Hedons’ Web site and handling all the bookings.

But the long hours are worth it for Tindall, who credits his bandmates and the close-knit community of musicians in Taichung for their help: “Those guys, they keep my spirits up.”

The Rising Hedons’ tour wraps up in mid-June with a show at Peacefest, but Tindall is already of thinking of what he’ll do after a short break in Canada: “Write new songs and come back and do it all again.” - The Taipei Times

"Taipei Times Review"

It's hard not to admire the indie usician ethic of Bradley Tindall and his band the Rising Hedons, who have put together a professional-sounding debut CD. Recorded in various apartments and warehouse in Taichung, Head Full of Rain is a straightforward blues-rock album with some nice twists.

The album starts off with Bad Solution, a blues shuffle with a southern rock flavor, and smoothly flows into different grooves with songs such as One Night Stand, which has a reggae feel, and Chances on You, a folk-rock tune with an unexpected but pleasing vocal chorus. Tindall sings with a tough but catchy voice, and his vocal delivery is clean.

At first listen one might not guess that the Rising Hedons are based in Taiwan, which serves as inspiration for several of the band’s tunes: Tindall wrote 1973 after hearing stories of the past “wild days” of long-term expats and his fellow musicians, and Kenting Sunset is an introspective ode to Taiwan’s popular coastal vacation spot.

Acoustic and electric guitars are the defining sounds of the album, and Tindall uses them to great effect. On many of the tracks, he plays 12-string acoustic slide guitar, which provides a droning, hypnotic feel. Tindall also laces the album with tasteful electric guitar solos that add a soulful touch to the songs.

The band skips the normal drum kit for hand drums, with tablas and a djembe providing the backbeat. The djembe has a distinctive sound that can dominate a song, but it blends in well with the album’s mixes, which were done by renowned recording engineer Bruce Miller.

The overall groove on Head Full of Rain is mellow but driving, and the band arrangements are tight, which makes for pleasurable listening for both blues and rock fans.

|David Chen, The Taipei Times - The Taipei Times

"Live in Tainan"

Johnny Z, The Real Taiwan (dot) com

The Rising Hedons came down to the Armory in Tainan on Saturday, May 10th 2008. The guys are a mix of several different bands form the past, most notably Boogie Chillin’ and Faye and the Slacks.

Bradley Tindall, the front man for the Rising Hedons can appear to be possessed at times while playing his tunes. As relaxed and chill as he is while not playing, he enters another dimension when he is. I’ve only got one word to describe it, and that is, “inspired”. - Johnny Z, The Real Taiwan

"Peacefest Gets Muddy"

[THE WEEKENDER] Peacefest Gets Muddy
By David Chen
Monday, Jun 16, 2008, Page 13

The rain didn’t stop around 2000 people from having a good time on Saturday at Taiwan Peace Festival 2008, which took place at the Kunlun Herbal Gardens in Taoyuan County. Revelers waded barefoot in the deep mud that covered the soccer-field length area in front of the main stage. Many danced throughout the afternoon to a clutch of bands including the amazing Rising Hedons, High Tide and my band, the Muddy Basin Ramblers.

In the late afternoon, the Dream Community Samba Drummers, a group of elementary school kids from a nearby Aboriginal village, gave a spirited performance. They paraded through the mud in front of the stage dressed in traditional garb with Gordon Tsai of the Dream Community, an artists’ village in Syijhih, who led the procession while performing fire-breathing tricks. The kids charmed the festivalgoers, many of whom clapped along and snapped photos.

At dusk on Saturday, around 100 people linked hands for the “peace circle.” An Amis shaman sang a song as a “call to the spirits,” and there was a short moment of silence, except for a chorus of chirping crickets. The silence was broken as one drunk reveler (presumably from the UK) yelled “Liverpool!”
- The Taipei Times

"Songs of Power"

By Robert The

The lights dim, and a tall slim male figure steps out from the shadows into the spotlight. He grasps the mic, his eyes still shaded by the wide brimmed hat he wears, and begins to softly sing the first of a series of tales about hope, despair, love and the ecstasy of a life truly lived.

The music picks up pace, and his body sways to the quickening rhythm. The story flows; as he sings, he lives the story: no, he becomes the story. The guitars, the bass, the tablas and djembé become as one, no longer playing music, but living it, breathing it. Any previous background chatter stops as the audience become engulfed in an unstoppable sonic tsunami, mesmerized by what is unfolding.

Suddenly, he leans with menace, his voice drops to a whisper as he sings with a passion known to few. The music quivers quietly with unresolved tension and then Bam! His voice roars into life, his muscular frame tenses and suddenly he soars high into the air, legs tucked under, his voice and guitar singing the same song of power. The audience is shocked; the audience is awed. This is no ordinary gig, no ordinary band.

Welcome to the Rising Hedons.

I first encountered Bradley Tindall, the Hedons’ singer the previous year when he had fronted another popular band, Boogie Chillin’. My friend had returned from Taipei after seeing them play by chance at the Blues Festival. “You have to see this band. They are amazing,” she enthused. I was surprised since she truly hated the blues and anything related. “Really?” I asked. “Yes, absolutely,” she insisted.

So a few months later I had the opportunity of seeing them play live down in Tainan. I’m a veteran of the London music scene both as a spectator and as a player: I’ve seen some of the biggest names in the business at every conceivable venue, small and large and within every musical genre. But from the first opening bars of the first song to the final encore, I was totally entranced. Flawless on every level from the rock-solid rhythm section of Hanro Van Wyk and Darren Jorde whose bass lines and drums were in perfect lock for two and a half-hours, driving the music ever forward, to Will Lloyd’s jaw-dropping guitar skills and superlative melodic execution; his lines constantly soaring and swooping, a perfect complement to the story being told. And of course, there was Bradley. Again with the hat; again singing of the deepest blues known to man; again swinging from the angelic to the demonic within the space of the same breath. It was a spellbinding, unforgettable monster performance, and I was really excited to have caught this amazing band, excited at the prospect of seeing them perform again and again and again, reaching ever higher levels of musical excitement and excellence. What a musical find! “Oh, no,” said Bradley when I asked when and where I could catch them again. “This is our final gig.”

Deep blues, indeed.

I caught up with Bradley several months later in – appropriately in a blues-orientated coffee shop, and I had the opportunity to find out when he had first entered the Taiwan music scene and what he been doing since that gig.

“I really lucked out when I was hired for that band by Will: an established band with a pre-existing formula with the best time slots at gigs. What more could I ask for? It was a great training ground. I learned a lot about performing; I stopped playing guitar and learned how to really front, how to be a lead singer. We all knew that the gig you saw was our last, which is why we totally relaxed and gave it everything – so it was a great show for us, too. However, Boogie Chillin’ was a very one dimensional band in terms of sound and texture, I felt, and I wanted to do something different, something better.”

He smiles and drinks some coffee. I ask him about how he started as a musician.

“I’m from Toronto and I got my first guitar when I was ten. Right from the get-go I was into the blues. I am still playing the same guitar that I played when I was 12: a black Les Paul that I named Angelina after my grandmother. And when I was fifteen I had my own band which played the serious blues clubs in Toronto, often together with older, more experienced players. I played guitar and sang. We didn’t know how to play covers, so we wrote original material, writing to everyone’s strengths.”

“Somewhere along the line, I got into different music like Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Guess Who and, of course, Led Zeppelin. I began playing guitar and writing songs for a politically engaged heavy rock band which was limiting: it wasn’t the music I really wanted to play – I became uninspired with the music very quickly.”

“University, however, was a great period of experimentation for me. I had the time and opportunity to explore recording techniques, different sounds and learn how to create massive soundscapes. I explored other styles of music: Radiohead being a great influence, and then worked with a trio of singer/songwriters, which is where I really learned how to sing and how to work closely with harmony. It was a time of huge learning, really. But I grew dissatisfied with the Toronto music scene and those around me who wanted to write songs about the world, but were too afraid to authentically explore it. This is why I left Toronto and ended up in Taiwan.”

I ask him how Taiwan was working out for him.

“I’ve been here two years, and here we play the music game on our own terms. In Taiwan you can be as big or small: do anything you want, you will be supported by people. There are a lot of well-travelled people here who really know and appreciate their music. That raises the bar for any who wants to perform, too.”

“The most important thing about being here in Taiwan, however, is that it’s helped me to reconnect once more with the blues tradition. Boogie Chillin’ was a great experience, but I wanted to focus on more intimate and subtle song-writing. I’m really trying to push the blues a little further, blues with a twist. So I want to write really good songs, with a wider range of sound possibilities than with a straight rock set up. That’s why we have such a different line up. It allows us to explore more spaces, do more interesting things. But it’s a tougher job. With a standard set up, you can thrash it out and it’ll carry; with a more acoustic format you have to play really, really well to explore the dynamic possibilities and grab the audience.”

“Playing the blues means living the blues, and those ideals govern everything: keep it simple, expressiveness, being a team player. Even the songs follow blues themes.”

“Such as?” I ask.

“Well, the blues for me is about exploring. The old tradition is almost exclusively about traveling, about being on the road, meeting new people, seeing new places – being away from the loved ones, and that’s what I write about too.”

“Also with the Rising Hedons I made a conscious decision that I wanted to write for a different audience. With Boogie Chillin’ it was very easy to make very muscular, masculine music. But I wanted more subtlety, more range, more textures. Coincidentally, I also wanted to write music that women could respond to. This naturally changed how we write and perform the music. Women love that Bo-Diddley Rhythm, you know. We can take and work that, and churn it and churn it, everyone gets turned on big time.”

He flashes me a rock star smile.

“They’re my demographic. They’re my focus. I’ll let you into a little known secret: all guys from classic rock wrote for women. That’s just the way it is. It’s a great energy to focus on. It opens the music in a different way: presentation, lyrical content, what rhythms we use, how we play. It’s incredible. We can’t ride the energy hard like a standard rock band, we have circle it, play with it, even. Playing like this means we have to play really, really well not just for dynamics and sound levels, but also to connect at a deep level. It’s entirely different and massively challenging – but playing quietly means you need to be disciplined and focused. But man, when you hit those peaks, those moments pop like you wouldn’t believe. Sometimes less is definitely more.”

“So not only is the band focused on creating high quality songs, but we also work real hard on combining that with high-octane, memorable performances, something that is hard to pull off successfully. I’m really happy where we are now.”

And so he should be. Watching the band perform is itself a transcendental experience.

Bradley continues: “We’re not musicians, really; rather, we’re storytellers telling a story. We live the music and feel the music and then if we’re lucky the music breathes us.”

“Breathes you?” I echo, curious.

“You get to a point where you’re not worried about what note to play, what lyric to sing, you’re in the moment, taking it to a level where you’re no longer playing with sound but you’re working with space, time, energy – you name it. It’s hard to describe, but if the music is playing you then it’s almost as if you leave your body and the music takes you on this incredible journey. It’s no longer about me or us, it’s about the music: it comes alive. It doesn’t happen all the time, every so often, and it’s the deepest connection possible for a musician.”

I nod, amazed. Bradley doesn’t know it but he’s talking about the roots of music, where thousands of years ago shamans would use rhythm and music to reach ecstatic states, transcend the limitations of the here and now, and leave their bodies, taking those who watched them along with in the process.

If you haven’t seen the Rising Hedons play, don’t miss out. It truly is an out-of-this world experience. - Highway 11 Magazine

"Seaside Caravan Album Review"

From the foot-tapping opening track, Money, which nails the band’s Bohemian colours firmly to the mast, every following song on the album draws the listener ever deeper into the quirky and exotic world of Hedons’ songwriters, Bradley Tindall and Pete Coulam, each song a vignette inspired by the hidden corners of life and other imaginary places.

It’s an album with deep retro roots but which still strives to create a unique sound: African hand drums and Indian tablas are accompanied by flourishes of Spanish-tinged trumpet; the yearning of a gypsy violin answered by the cry of blues slide guitar; the soft swirls of a chapel organ ambushed by power guitar chords and a driving rhythm section.

And at the very heart of each song is Bradley Tindall, storyteller extraordinaire, his voice a personal invitation to an intimate universe, his voice a powerhouse of passion: sometimes dark, sometimes bright, sometimes subtle, sometimes raw.

Tales of the shadows, tales of the light.

These are great songs played well by musicians who clearly love what they do, and nothing alters the fact that it’s a real keeper of an album that’s guaranteed to grow on you with repeated listening. If the Hedons’ plan is to conquer the world musically, it’s a plan that’s slowly and surely working, one album at a time.

Seaside Caravan has it all: the tragedy of blues, the lilt of reggae, the swagger of rock, and more besides. It’s a glorious and unique soundscape that is ultimately one hell of a gypsy celebration of rock and roll. Come join the party! - Robert The/Taipei Times


Seaside Caravan (2009)
Head Full of Rain (2008)



Renowned for their incendiary live shows, The Rising Hedons have been igniting venues across Asia amassing a fast-growing and loyal fan base. Their appeal is strongest among university students who are intrigued and entranced by the passion of their mysterious front man and the dynamic range of their songs. The Rising Hedons' set ranges from subtle Latin grooves to full-pelt rock and roll and keeps the audience inspired to dance all night. The band also boasts three exceptional vocalists whose close harmonies and distinct voices add more colour to their palette of sounds.

The Rising Hedons have spread their musical vision with a much-praised indie ethic that has seen them independently release Head Full of Rain (2008), which was mixed by Bruce A. Miller (Miles Davis, White Stripes) and Seaside Caravan (2009) mixed by Bruce A. Miller with additional mixes by Grammy Award Winner Charles Dye. As members of an outstanding community of musicians, painters, photographers and graphic artists, they have also compiled and produced Domino One (2009), a charity album which showcases the talents of Taiwan's undiscovered art scene.

The Rising Hedons' recordings effectively capture the band's explosive live energy by creating a collection of concise tracks with strong pop-sensibilities and a radio-friendly appeal. They take elements of classic folk, blues and rock and roll (Son House, Dylan, Beatles, Stones,Doors, Santana) and expertly craft them into a modern soundscape. The Rising Hedons bridge the gaps between passion and melody; between integrity and commercial potential; and between heart and mind. Put simply; The Rising Hedons are bringing the soul back into rock and roll.