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Interview with Hardball
Scott Budgie (vocals/guitar) from HARDBALL
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I think getting a hold of a few old cassettes when I was a kid including AC/DC and Black Sabbath is what got me started. As a teenager, checking out some of the bands in my area sealed the deal for me, especially one called Honio. If you can manage to track down their 2003 album, check it out, it really blew my mind when it was released. Had I not started playing music I think I would probably be in jail.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I, like most people, have very little free time and find it difficult to make time for the things I like to do. I work a day job, I check out local shows as often as I can, I have a girlfriend who is very supportive of my shit, and we have an elderly dog named Abby. I find living a normal, busy life makes it hard to create art. I used to be more productive when I was a teenager and I could just sit around all day and play guitar. I guess what I’m saying isn’t anything especially profound.
How long has your band been around?
This band has stopped and started several times. An early incarnation of HARDBALL existed around 2003 or 2004, and again in 2009. But a better answer would be to say that we started around 2021 because we never took this at all seriously before then.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I live in Vancouver, Canada, but the band is based out of the Okanagan Valley region, so I have to drive 400 km just to jam. It forces us to write a lot of our parts in private and get everything ready to put together like a puzzle when we’re all in the same room. Vancouver has a thriving music scene that I continue to be inspired by, but there is something about the dry desert that is the Okanagan that I too find inspiring.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
HARDBALL is a name I came up with a very long time ago. We basically just think it’s funny.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Our best shows are usually hometown shows. We can always count on a crowd of complete maniacs to show up and completely go off. Recently we played a set where we were struggling to keep our amps and drums upright from people crowding the stage and crashing into everything. I spent the next day cleaning beer off of my pedals but it was a great time.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
We have preferred venues when we come through certain cities, but honestly, we’re just happy to play a good show with bands we like. Whether it’s a huge stage or a house show, what matters is that people are into it and the energy is good.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Off the top of my head, I’m gonna say: Narrowhead, Modern Color, The Tarholes, and The Jins.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Don’t worry about nonsense like getting social media followers. Just get out there and play shows and meet people.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
I honestly have so much advice for my younger self, too much to even get into. I was doing everything wrong. We were total idiots.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
‘In The Mail’ is, in my opinion, the best composition I’ve ever written, and for that reason, it means the most to me. I’m really happy that it’s now forever preserved in album form. That was one that we really struggled to get just right in the studio, but I feel our perseverance paid off.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
We have about six or seven songs on our live set that weren’t ready when we were recording the album. They’re ready now and they’re the ones I’m most excited to play. My current favorite is one called ‘The Light’ but people seem to ask for the song ‘Chili’ the most. No clue why.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I usually bring the foundation of what becomes a song to the band and we hash it out until it’s a finished product. Creative ideas tend to come to me in spurts. Maybe I’ll write a ton of music over a few months followed by a year of no ideas whatsoever. I find It’s best to just not worry about it. If all my ideas dry up one day and nothing good ever comes from me again, at least I know I had a good run.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I guess the underlying theme of our album is the sense of urgency to act now and address the world’s problems, and let me make myself very clear, I don’t have any of the solutions. I am truly helpless. All I can do is look on in agony and describe what I see. All I can do is hope that someone more powerful than me hears what I’m saying and is compelled to do something.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Yes, we fight all the time. We’re all really stubborn people. We’re just trying to hold it together long enough to get a few more good albums out before we inevitably implode.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
The rest of the Summer and Fall we’re going to be playing shows around BC and Alberta in support of our album that’s out now. Our August tour dates are all on our Instagram @HardballBC now. After that, it’s time to settle in for the Winter and finish writing the next one. No guarantees on a timeline for the next album though, we tend to take our time on these things.
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