By Trevor Morelli
CALGARY – Edmonton’s Wares is the brainchild of Cassia J. Hardy and until now, it’s been mostly a solo endeavour. The band’s self-titled debut (2017, Double Lunch Records) however, is more of a true collaboration.
“This is the first full band effort. There are one or two solo songs on the record, but it’s mostly a band,” Hardy notes.
“It sounds like a band in a room. It’s really important to me not to sweep any of the mistakes or little happy accidents that pop up under the rug. It’s not a polished sound and that’s one of my favourite things about it.”
Released last October and produced by songwriter and musician Lorrie Matheson, Wares’ debut ebbs and flows with quiet, reflective verses juxtaposed against walls of distorted guitars. By all accounts, working with Matheson was pure joy for Hardy and her bandmates.
“It was wonderful. He’s the best. It was six days in this studio he built. You just hunker down in there. There are no windows or anything. We got there bright and early at the crack of 10 in the morning and left when we were done for the day, often 10 plus hour days. He was a total champ about it, worked really hard just to get the best sounds. There was a feeling of mutual excitement working together.”
Getting Wares off the ground hasn’t been easy. One ugly and incredibly frustrating truth is that some artists in Canada still find themselves battling transphobia, homophobia and bigotry when performing at certain establishments. Hardy – who is transgender – knows this first hand and has worked hard to change attitudes. Although she feels like there’s been progress, there’s certainly more work to do across the country.
“I’d say there’s been less. It’s certainly not gone. There’s certainly work to do, absolutely. And that’s for Canada. That’s everywhere; really, we are combating systemic and deep rooted sexism and other forms of oppression that are preventing women from not only performing music, but also taking on more technical and managerial roles.”
All in all, Hardy is proud of venues like The Sewing Machine Factory in Edmonton for leading the charge with its “no bullshit” approach to prejudice. She’s excited to take Wares’ debut on the road this summer and bring the songs to life.
“I’m very happy with my record. I think it’s the closest I’ve come in my discography to the sound that’s in my head,” she affirms.
“If you like the songs, that’s important to me. Imagine them louder and faster and that’s what you’ll get for the live show.”
Wares plays June 8 at The Aviary (Edmonton), June 9 at The Palomino Smokehouse (Calgary), June 10 at T+A Vinyl and Fashion (Regina), and June 30 at The Handsome Daughter (Winnipeg)T+A Vinyl and Fashion, The Aviary, The Handsome Daughter, The Palomino Smokehouse, Wares