By Michael Grondin
CALGARY — How do you nail down chaos? It’s especially hard when that chaos oozes from different perspectives.
For Calgary’s DRI HIEV, a nuanced cyber-punk four-piece, it becomes a power struggle that gets lost in the process. And it’s not a struggle against each other, but within the sounds they create.
“We’re not all trying to sound like this one thing, you know. We each play how we like to play. Dan’s got that dark, reverby, ethereal guitar, I like to play grinding punk stuff on the bass, Igor was a noise musician before so he nails the noisy synths, and Carter’s just a spaz,” explains bassist (and Carter’s brother) Kyle Crough with a laugh.
Their songs are held together with a splintering, sporadic drum machine that shakes, rattles and diverges, providing a structure that allows each member to inject their own ideas into the mix.
“We never wanted the drum machine to play the same measure over and over. There are a lot of projects I like that do that, but we want our stuff to be more dynamic,” says lead singer Carter Crough.
And within their dynamic containment of chaos, we find an organic approach to what Carter jokingly refers to as “labour wave,” or “vapour metal.”
“When we first set parameters for DRI HIEV, the general idea was we wanted it loud, fast and different,” explains guitarist Dan Auger, who recorded the band’s three quick and gut-wrenching releases. “We just do what feels good. When we write, we’re trying not to walk in with any preconceived ideas.”
Eventually, everything comes together to result in a sound that truly stands alone.
“We surrender to the process, and we end up in directions we weren’t expecting,” says synth player and programmer Igor Gvozdenovic. Their live performances ultimately become a realm of unhinged creative expression, following no guidelines, while still emanating from rigorous practice.
“The first couple of shows we played, we couldn’t explain what we wanted mix-wise, [not even] to the sound guys,” says Carter.
To which Auger adds, “It’s always about control, and we’re very conscious of how we do things, but after that we try not to have any expectations, and leave the end results up to surprise.”
“We don’t let any of these weird boundaries sway us in our process,” concludes Kyle.
DRI HIEV will be recording their first full-length album with local soundsmith Jon Reynolds soon, which they hope will be released early next year. In the meantime, watch them explore and evolve their live show in the month of August.
Catch DRI HIEV August 12 with Winnipeg’s Tunic at Tubby Dog, and on August 19 with locals Melted Mirror at Nite Owl.AB, Alberta, DRI HIEV, Nite Owl, Tubby Dog