By Kelsey Dionne
VANCOUVER — In Heron, the hugs are mandatory. A four-member heavy band from Vancouver B.C. comprising of Ross Redeker on mid-tone guitar and vocals, Scott Bartlett on low-tone guitar, Jamie Stilborn on soundscapes and vocals, and the lone female, Bina Mendozza on drums.
With musical influences ranging from ambient, doom, atmospheric, and sludge, they stress repetition, revisiting layers and texture to create a decimating wall of sound. “We beat riffs to death. We can play a particular riff for two, three minutes if we can, essentially,” says Redeker. “One riff for fucking ever,” Heron says in unison. Manipulating riffs as much as they possibly can has become a highlight of Heron’s identity.
They are also not afraid to try something different, “‘A Gnawing Worry,’ which sounds almost black metal, is a very fast paced song in the middle of the live set we play right now,” shares Stilborn. “Look at it this way, Heron doesn’t have a particular sound, if it feels good for us to write … then it feels really good when we play it.”
A decade and a half after Redeker started writing Heron riffs, the band took shape. “There’s some seasoned musicians in this band and it’s really exciting that we all have a good pace. We’ve been committing to this band … we get in here, we are serious, we jam, we hug, we cry, we hug,” Mendozza says. After having a stress free recording with their newest EP, Fire Twin, original members Bartlett and Redeker felt that, “When Jamie and Bina joined, it just clicked. This is Heron now, it’s what we were looking for all along.”
Heron doesn’t have a bass player, and that’s what guitarist Redeker likes about it. “Our music is stripped down to a skeletal state, because there’s only two guitar players, soundscapes, and drums there’s that opportunity to breathe.”
Heron’s newest EP, Fire Twin, was a celebration of the band’s new chemistry. “These tracks are really fresh … they are a representation of what was happening then, and it really captured that moment,” Mendozza says. “The whole album, musically and artistically, just came together.”
“Every time we play “The Great Attractor” or “Fire Twin,” I can look around and we are all beaming. We’ve been playing it for how many months, but it just doesn’t lose its luster.” They unanimously agree it’s some of the best writing they have done. “I can’t wait for people to hear it, and appreciate it. We are all so proud of what we’ve made,” says Bartlett.
You can check out Heron’s record release show at Studio Vostok (246 Keefer St) on February 17.BC, British Columbia, Fire Tiwn, Heron, Studio Vostok