Like most indie rock bands, Canadian power pop group Hollerado spends a lot of time on tour. They’ve hit the road with big names like Passion Pit, Sum 41, The Flaming Lips and Weezer. They’ll be in Fargo at The Aquarium on Tuesday, January 30th.
The foursome have a well-established sound that is both approachable and very much their own. “I Got You” off 2017s Born Yesterday is a perfect road trip anthem, combining grungy electric guitar with hook that will have your head bobbing along right away. “Juliette”, from their 2010 release Record in a Bag makes you want to hold your lighter high in the air, screaming out the refrain.
Fans of great indie rock bands like Interpol or The Daylights will be instantly drawn to Hollerado. Their calling card is solid, tight playing and quirky, intelligent song writing.
We caught up with Hollerado lead singer Menno Versteeg on the first day of a tour that will see them hooking up with Portugal. The Man days later.
You did an album of 111 custom songs, written for your fans. What does your fanbase mean to you?
Our fans are pretty unique. I mean this in the fondest way, but they tend to be kind of weirdos. They’re always pretty genuinely kind and nice, accepting people. Also, without them, we’d all be working crappy jobs instead of doing this.
We’ve never been ones to pander to what people want or what we think our fans want, but the fans who have stuck with us through the years have been very appreciative of what we’re doing.
For someone who is a fan of indie rock, there aren’t a lot of local indie pop bands. Why is it that?
That’s an interesting question. I think that writing pop is not really easy and there’s really not as much money in it at a smaller level. There’s money for the big pop artists, but trying to write pop songs as an indie band is… most bands in the indie world fall into a niche and you have a fanbase you can count on for your genre. Whereas, trying to fit into the pop world but on an indie scale is kind of an interesting spot to be in. Definitely, not a lot of bands try to do that.
We spend a lot of time on lyrics and making sure that we craft a melody that goes along with them. Especially being a band that has electric guitars, the lyrics often get overlooked. Sometimes it’s kind of annoying when we have serious songs about topics that mean a lot to us, and I think to other people, that gets overlooked because we’re a loud rock band that likes to shoot confetti.
Just because you’re having a good time doesn’t mean that your music is silly. You can have a good time and play serious music.
2017 was a horrible year for a lot of people. Being optimistic, what was the best thing that happened to you last year.
We always try to look on the positive side and keep touring and having fun. We got to play Moscow. We got to play two shows. We sold out a show in Moscow, so that was really cool.
You think there are people in the U.S. who are unhappy with their government? The people our age in Moscow… are they ever frustrated to be under the Putin regime! Being young people and wanting to express themselves, and do things that they want to. That is really frustrating and some of the people we talked to – they can’t even really speak freely about it.
But man was it cool to see Moscow and to tour there. It definitely stands out for me.
On Facebook you posted recently that you have a new single, a new video and a new Airbnb listing?
Yes! So we put a couple bunks from our tour bus on Airbnb. I know the venue in Fargo isn’t a huge place, but we’re doing this tour on a tour bus because, when we hook up with Portugal. The Man for the rest of the dates, it’s big venues and it’s a really long drive because they’re on a tour bus.
It’s really kind of dangerous to be on tour bus tour in the middle of winter through the Canadian Rockies where you have to do unreasonable night drives. It’s just insane to do it ourselves and if the weather is bad, we’re going to miss shows, so we just went for it. But tour buses aren’t cheap so we decided for a couple of the legs with Portugal. The Man we rented out two bunks in the bus. So, we have a bunch of people joining us for some of the Canadian legs.
We put the listing up on Airbnb. We thought it would be funny. Airbnb didn’t think it was as funny as we did and eventually took it down.
What’s the weirdest experience from recent memory while out touring?
Oh, man. It’s endless. I mean that’s what touring is; embracing the weird experiences that come your way.
When we were on tour in Europe with Sum 41 this past year, there was never ice in our dressing room. We just thought it was a European thing, that they don’t put ice in your dressing room. But there was always this cooler of ice in the hall outside of Sum 41’s dressing room. We figured that was just the communal ice and that’s just how they did it. They brought their own ice to Europe because they don’t give you ice.
Every night we were making drinks and putting ice in our wine from this one bucket of ice until one day we were there when Sum 41 got off stage and their drummer put his foot in the bucket of ice. That bucket is what he put his feet in every night. We’d been making our drinks mixed with his ‘soaked his foot in ice’ sweaty, disgusting drum foot every day.
A few days before, Dean was like “Is this wine off? It kind of smells like cheese.”
So you’ve got the new single and the new video. What do you have coming up?
Well, we have a new record in the works that’s basically almost done that we’re pretty excited about. Actually, I haven’t told anyone about that, so there you go. You’re first on the story.
Yeah. From Fargo Underground. Perfect!
And then summer festivals and stuff. The usual band stuff. Good times.