This year marks the second annual Summer Herd event – a Hillside Festival kickoff show that is a celebration of the Guelph local music scene. While people come from all over Ontario to enjoy the music at Guelph Lake, we locals know that the music in Guelph doesn’t just happen over a single weekend. Summer Herd is a celebration to recognize all the hard work that goes into making this town a musical hotbed. It features prominent local artists brought together with different event promoters. Music Lives is happy to be a part of this event!
The Medicine Hat is this year’s headliner and they definitely represent all the musical awesomeness that this town has to offer. We got in touch with Tyler Bersche who answered some questions about the band and where they are headed:
Music Lives: The Medicine Hat has always been a solid Guelph band, but has definitely grown over the last year! How do you feel things have changed?
Tyler Bersche: We’ve fallen more in love with each other, and with the music we’re making. I think we’ve always been a good band, but we’ve matured in our understanding of each other. That’s led us to some new places. I feel like the last three years has been setting the stage for the year ahead.
ML: The band is set to play at Summer Herd, a pre-Hillside show on July 24th celebrating the Guelph music scene. How do you feel about the scene in Guelph? What would you change if you could?
TB: Growing up in Guelph was a very positive musical experience. We were all able to find a fair deal of success playing in bands or doing our own thing as early as our early teens, in a large part because people in Guelph were interested, and encouraging. Not just vocally, but with their time and energy. That nurturing gave us tools and confidence that has brought us to now. We’re thankful for that.
Guelph’s musical community can also lean towards clique-y-ness. Maybe it’s a defence mechanism of sorts. That protectiveness might have even bred some good art, of the sort you only get with an isolated group, but I hear it’s also ostracized some talented people. We were fortunate enough to be born into that circle.
If I could change one thing, at the risk of sounding bitter, I wish The Medicine Hat would have played Hillside already (yes, I’m aware that is unabashedly selfish). The band was born in Guelph, and we cut our teeth there, we’ve actually all played Hillside as part of other projects in our teens, we’ve been invited to festivals across the country, we just finished in the Top 10 nationally in CBC’s Searchlight contest out of 5000 entrants, we’ve recorded and released music out of some of the most well reputed studios in Canada, we just got word that Andrew Scott of Sloan has chosen to mentor us as a band this Summer, we’ve sold out almost every show we’ve played in Guelph for the past two years, but we’ve never gotten in to Hillside. I always imagined us being such a logical fit, but for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened yet.
ML: What would be your favourite thing about playing live music? What keeps you going?
TB: The job is about 90% carrying heavy things in between buildings and a van and 9% hanging out in kind of gross places at ungodly hours. And I still do it, and love it. Playing music in a live context is a brand of storytelling. Hank Williams said that “a good song tells a little bit of everyone’s story”. We share a piece of ourselves with an audience, and they can hopefully see a bit of themselves reflected in that mirror. We also get to experience each other’s stories, as a band, when we’re on stage. There’s an intimacy of the most profound and spiritual nature when you make music with someone, and The Medicine Hat is borne of the friendships forged in sharing that music. There’s a summit you can reach some nights, when it feels like everyone in the room is breathing collectively, everyone is pushing the music forward together. Incredible moments like that, the one’s that let us get out of the way and let the music take us somewhere vulnerable and raw, that’s what keeps me playing live music.
ML: Any plans for the next year for The Medicine Hat?
TB: We’re writing the best music we’ve ever written. We’re going to be getting some guidance with that music from Sloan’s Andrew Scott over the summer, which we’re eagerly anticipating. We plan to start cutting a new record in the Fall. We’ll also be touring around Ontario & Quebec all August.
ML: Where can people go to learn more about The Medicine Hat?
Don’t miss The Medicine Hat along with Shopkeeper and Milk & Honey at Summer Herd happening at eBar on July 24th. It will be an amazing way to kick of the Hillside weekend whether you’re staying in town or heading out to the lake! You can learn more on the Music Lives website at http://musiclives.ca/events/summer-herd-feat-medicine-hat-shopkeeper-milk-honey/