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Ladyhawk initiates new members by making them fight bears, ensuring only the strong survive.
courtesy Jagjaguwar

Vancouver band plays music on the edge

Ladyhawk braves the elements and cameras while cutting new album

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The older you get, the more you realize that society's ideas of being an adult [are] totally bullshit," says Duffy Driediger, frontman of the Vancouver-based band Ladyhawk. "It's still kind of a strong thing because there's always something in the back of my head that's like, 'You know, you're 30. You're getting older. It's time to start thinking about making some money and being more stable.' But, that's just shit that people have invented to keep the economy going. I'd rather contribute to society in other ways."

Driediger's band is poised to contribute in the form of their sophomore album, Shots, which hits record stores Tue., Mar. 4. The group's album was the product of two weeks of recording in an abandoned farmhouse in their hometown of Kelowna, flavoured by copious amounts of Sangria, using buckets as urinals in the face no running water and Driediger's preoccupation with mortality. They encountered various snags along the way, including a van roll-over in icy conditions en route back to Vancouver to mix the album before setting out on a six-week tour.

Filmmakers Rob Leickner and Mona Mok took the experiences and made them into a documentary, Let Me Be Fictional, delving further into Ladyhawk's thoughts on getting older while being in a rock band and re-defining adulthood.

"It was weird because, when Rob and Mona approached us about doing the film, the other guys were into it and I was kind of against it," says Driediger. "I just wanted to go in and record and focus on that but I was kind of outvoted. I never felt fully comfortable, because you're never really totally candid. Being on edge actually made us more focused on getting what we wanted done. It made us step up our game because we didn't want to look like complete idiots on film."

With the album release looming, Shots was received very differently by a lot of reviewers, sometimes citing it as somewhat of a purposeful attempt by Ladyhawk to distance themselves from their first album and stand out. Though Driediger thinks this has to do with the way things are marketed to the public, he's not discouraged by this misconception.

"I think we didn't intentionally do it, but our album was perceived by some people as being difficult and wasn't upbeat," he says. "It wasn't as catchy. I would prefer to record an album that comes out and nobody likes it and then someone listens to it and at first they're like, 'I don't really like this album,' and then they listen to it again three months later and they kind of like the album and then a couple weeks or months later, they're like, 'I love this album.' All of my favourite albums are like that."

Driediger also notes that, as flash success becomes more and more common. Take, for example, Peter Bjorn and John's "Young Folks" that ended up being known to the entire world as "the whistle song." We face the transition from the dominance of CDs to digital music, people who have to take the attitude of being in the music industry for the right reasons.

"Nowadays, people can get their music for free and most of the time, people are going to do that, because why spend your money when you don't have to?" he says, "I'm totally cool with that. I think bands have to realize these days that it's not about going out and selling records. If you want to make money, I guess that's how you have to do it, but you're not going to make much."

Regardless, Driediger and his Ladyhawk bandmates seem to have the right idea and are taking their success in stride.

Shots is in music stores Tue., Mar. 4.

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