By Jenna Lee Williams
EDMONTON — I met with the Diehatzu Hijets at the Alberta Legislature grounds for a chat and some purple city. This experimental three-piece has been on the scene since 2009 and features Layne L’Heureux (guitar/voice), Drew Lamb (bass) and Adam Prins (drums).
The three came together after L’Heureux posted a Craiglist ad looking for bandmates. He then left for Vancouver and heard from Lamb who was interested in jamming. At this point, L’Heureux was planning on moving back to Edmonton. Lamb got in touch again and the two began jamming. “My friend, Tyler Butler, he had met Adam at a party and connected us,” explains L’Heureux. “Adam was looking to drum in a band.” They all went out to Gibbons (where Prins’ jam space was – his Dad’s woodworking shop). The trio jammed in isolation for the first couple of years, making the commute to the Gibbons space, complete with a wood burning stove and ploughing through feet of snow.
In the early days, ‘90s alternative rock bands such bands like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and Mission of Burma heavily influenced this trio. Their latest release, Where’s Everyone At?, maintains a throwback sound to it. Current influences include stoner jams, hard rock beats and noise, which integrate into their alternative rock backbone.
In 2012, Diehatzu Hijets released Bros…, a six-inch recorded by Renny Wilson and released by Dead City Records. “We like doing what we know. That six-song EP was mostly pop songs with some noise influence. Sometimes, that is what we fall back to. Those songs are easy for us to play and get a good energy going, especially when we play live,” notes Prins.
Lyrically, Where’s Everyone At? covers more subject matter than their previous five releases. “I had things to say then, lyrics were coming freely,” recalls L’Heureux. “I believe we have definitely evolved since [we released our EP], we have gotten more experimental, a little more atonal with certain melodies, and we grew together as a band for this album.” All three members of the band write the music, with one composing a riff and the other two adding onto it.
Tim Hatch of Morals recorded Where’s Everyone At? over a year ago and L’Heureux mastered it recently. Their latest self-release release will be on cassette and includes a download. “Limp Bizkit is putting out a cassette,” points out L’Heureux of the formerly defunct medium, as I chuckle. “Drew and I got together and decided what would be good on side A and B. It makes it a whole different experience. There is an intermission track on this.” With this album you get two introductions and two outros.
I ask how from far and wide their downloads originate. Most are from America, a few from Australia and from Southeast Asia. You can find their tunes on ’90s music blogs, and some strange forums: “We got mentioned on a forum for the actual Daihatsu Hijets van,” says Lamb. “There is some foul speak of us,” adds Prins. “There is cult of Daihatsu Hijets fans that love the vehicle. Because of the cult we get thrown into the mix of these weird automobile lovers (even though we changed the spelling). Every once and a while, we get notified of a weird tag. One guy said, ‘What should I listen to when I’m driving around?’ Someone joked, ‘Diehatzu Hijets.’ Another guy said, ‘Great name, but it is bollocks,’” adds L’Heureux.
These guys are definitely not bollocks; these guys make well-crafted compositions. Expect to see visuals at this show unless you are rocking out hard with your eyes closed. Old skate videos will be projected, along with a screening of a new music video that Nicole McDonald helped film with L’Heureux.
Their tape release will be held at the wonderful Wunderbar with Slow Girl Walking, Morals and Catgut on July 5th.AB, Alberta, Diehatzu Hijets, Wunderbar