We had a chance to sink our toes into the sand with Autumn hill a couple of weeks back. Blame their current hit single was sitting at #4 on Canadian Country Radio. We sat on a beach to discuss the release of Anchor there latest offering of tunes you just can’t skip. This album was released by Wax Records and distributed by Universal Music Canada and have to thank Allison at Universal for setting this one up.

Corey: Tareya & Mike thanks so much for doing this interview in a pretty unique setting of the beach. We just thought heck your album was Anchor what better place to do it than on the shores of Lake Ontario. So lets start with putting this one together and maybe how different the process was than when you guys recorded Favorite Mistake?

Mike: I think to us there is a lot of growth, there is sort of an evolution for us on this record. It’s funny we had a song Memphis which we wrote on the last day of our first trip to Nashville for our first record. But when we actually sat down to write we started with the song Anchor. And we had just taken all that we had experienced from touring the first record, life experiences from being on the road and being a band together. as well as the lessons we had learned about how to make your shows exciting that translates to bigger stages and audiences and that sort of stuff. So we really focused on making sure there was an energy that would translate really well to the live show on the record. It was great, it was an amazing experience we did the whole thing in Nashville this time. Last record we did half and half. Half Toronto and half Nashville. And I think on this one we did like 95% in Nashville this time and I think it really helped us give a nice cohesiveness to the record doing it in one kinda session. Rather than doing it over the span of a few months in several different cities.

Autumn Hill perform Blame  on the Beach

Autumn Hill perform Blame on the Beach

Corey: Lets talk about writing the songs for the album, Phil Barton’s name I think is a mandate for almost any Canadian artists it seems these days. But tell us what it was like piecing this album together with the songs both yourselves and others had written for you.

Tareya: We wrote a lot for this record, I feel we had between 30 to 50 songs. (Mike chimes in really it was like 30-700 and laughs) that we wanted to put on the record. We were really picky and choosy about the songs that went on. There were about 8 that we all felt really strong about and then we were able to close off the record with a couple really personal songs to Mike and I that were just kind of solo pieces. The writing was fun, we sat down with Phil Barton and Lindsey Rimes (from Australia) Dave Thompson, Todd Clark and Gavin Slate. Just a lot of really incredible writers and a lot of really fun writing sessions. We kind of just had a blast with it.

Mike: We wrote this one with a lot of friends. I really think that’s what made it fun. We go back to our first album with Dave awhile now and Phil too on the first record. Gavin and Todd we know from the Toronto community. So the whole thing was fun.

Tareya: It really was fun. And I think that is reflected in the songs because there is a lot.

Big puppy runs up to us on the beach and we take a 1 min break to talk to the puppy.

Mike: How good is this we get to sit on the lake and talk about the album with this adorable dog run up to us.

Tareya: So glad we called it Anchor.


Corey: So choosing the songs that actually went on the album this time around do you feel you had more say on what actually went on the album this time around?

Mike: You know what, I am glad you asked that. It’s a really good question. I would say 100% yes. It takes a team, you work with the people you love and trust and believe have your best interest at heart. But absolutely. Musically there was growth between the 1st and 2nd record and as a band making our decisions. We really can say we felt like we were driving the boat on this one. (A boat goes by us on the water) Mike, see what I did there guys.. (We all laugh)

Corey: Well done, well done (laughing), So lets talk the big three. Song Writing, Performing and Recording. Which of the 3 do you prefer and why?

Tareya: Hmmm between writing, recording and live? That’s a really hard question because I feel like they all fulfill all certain aspects as a musician or as an artist. Right now, because we have done the writing and we have done the recording we are really excited to get on the road and start playing these songs live and connecting with the fans.

Mike: Ya, I think Tareya really hit the mark there. There are different parts of you that love different things. I can honestly say though that I think my favourite is live. I love writing, I mean that’s the whole thing right your sitting in a room just makin’ the art and your writing the songs that matter to you. But I think the most fun is being on the road. We did that month long tour and it was just a blast. There is just an immediacy and energy that you get off a crowd that’s rockin’ thats just with you every step of the way through the whole show and I think that’s just one of the best feelings you can have.

Corey: Tareya, you took on a more behind the scenes roll on this one as well as being producer your credits also include art director. Your former self had a career in such a marketing capacity. Maybe tell us how you were able to bring the two careers together?

Tareya: That’s a good question, I have never answered a question like that before. I think it’s a really beneficial skill set to have going into a project like this because it’s a lot easier to communicate your ideas when you can just kind of do it yourself. It was amazing to be able to design the artwork and have that artistic freedom and to be able to do it for our band. I have worked on some crazy musician work in the past. It’s just very fulfilling I feel that this is just a very honest recorded from start to finish.

Corey: The recent CD Release party you did at Adelaide Hall in Toronto was your first time actually playing Toronto as a band. How did that feel?

Mike: Yes, that was the first time we ever played Toronto in like 3 years together and never done a “hometown” show (Mike’s hometown that is) So to finally step on stage in Toronto. We were so close before. So I would have to say it was pretty darn cool.

Autumn Hill - CD Release Party - Photo: Ray Williams

Autumn Hill – CD Release Party – Photo: Ray Williams

I now attempt to log into Periscope with great difficulty due to poor reception on the beach. So that didn’t happen.

Corey: So… moving on. Who inspired you both to get into music?

Mike: I just grew up in it. I was 3 years old singing The Beach Boys songs to my grand parents and putting on concerts for them. My dad was a drummer. My mom was a singer and a pianist and its in the blood. There has never been a moment in my life where I have ever done or wanted to do anything other than music.

Tareya: Great answer, how do you follow that up (laughs), I have always loved to sing. I know it’s always been my number one passion singing and song writing. I was a little more shy where I would just sing in the basement on the piano so nobody could hear me. But Shania Twain, Sarah McLaughlin, Chantal Kre Jann Arden and Celine Dion. They really did just inspire me to just fall in love with singing. I would spend hours reading the little lyric books and listen to the way they would delivered every line. And I always just loved it and about 4 years ago my friend was encouraging me to just go. Get on a plane and go to Toronto, just go see whats there for you. Give it a shot. I am so glad I did because I truly feel this is where I want to be.

Corey: Tareya, when you moved East and came to Toronto. When you arrived did you have a specific genre in mind?

Tareya: I think growing up in Calgary it had a real healthy mix of country and pop music. So that was probably more my foundation. And when I was invited out to Toronto by Wax Records to come out and explore it further. I was just really open-minded and I still feel that the sound we make is the sound we want t o make.

Corey: Guys thanks so much for doing this. It was great to enjoy the beautiful sun and realizing setting on this Monday morning. Al the best with the new album and we look forward
to seeing you on the road this summer.

Corey Kelly / @CoreyKelly76