Ladyhawk cross Canada on 10-year anniversary tour

“Sort of nostalgic I guess.” That’s how Duffy Driediger the calm and collected frontman for beloved Vancouver indie rock act Ladyhawk describes the general feeling toward his band’s current 10th anniversary tour. “In some ways it feels like it’s been a really long time and in other ways not that long at all.”

The band played their first show at venerable Vancouver dive Pat’s Pub in 2004. Driediger had just moved to the city from the Okanagan and was planning to try out some solo material. Recruiting guitarist Darcy Hancock bassist Sean Hawryluk and drummer Ryan Peters Ladyhawk was born.

While the mid-2000s saw the music world hitting peak indie Ladyhawk turned heads with their decidedly unhurried down-to-earth approach to rock music. There were no glockenspiels choirs or pretentious “collectives” involved just four dudes making gritty Neil Young-indebted rock ’n’ roll that was at once straightforward and complex.

Brought to the Jagjaguwar imprint by their friends in Black Mountain the label was initially dismissive of the band. After playing a show with Jason Molina’s Magnolia Electric Co. however the now deceased musician sang their praises to Jagjaguwar. “They ended up revisiting our recordings and said they were interested in us and that was that” Driediger recalls. “It’s crazy because he was one of my favourite dudes when I was a teenager. I listen to his music all the time. I ended up meeting him and getting to play music with him a bunch of times.”

From there Ladyhawk were thrust into the indie-music machine. A favourite with the taste-making FADER magazine which ran a cover story on them in 2008 Ladyhawk hit the touring circuit hard and released some well-received albums on the way.

The band jumped at the opportunity. “For me we got signed to a pretty cool label in the States and it seemed like we were getting some attention so it was like ‘Yeah let’s go for it.’” Eventually however Driediger said that lifestyle began to take a toll. “It’s not like we didn’t make it or anything it was just the pace or that lifestyle it can be pretty intense and pretty emotionally and physically taxing…. Everyone took a step back and got involved with living their lives and trying to be healthy.”

The slowed-down pace may have put a dent in their discography — there were four years between 2008’s Shots and its excellent followup No Can Do — but it also meant the members could go off and complete other projects. Between them the band’s four members have released material from the likes of Sports Duffy and the Doubters Hard Feelings Slow Learners and notably the Southern Lord-signed metalcore crew Baptists who recently recorded their second LP with Converge’s Kurt Ballou and count Dave Grohl among their fans.

Most importantly it’s meant that Ladyhawk can live on without burning out. It’s rare for a rock band to survive the rigorous hype machine and come out the other side intact but the members of Ladyhawk remain close friends. “Now when we get together and play it’s for fun or it’s for the right reasons” Driediger says. “At least for me I prefer it this way. It’s not so much of a grind.”

Though the pace is unhurried they’ll likely return with some new material at some point. “We’ll see what the future holds. It’s not like we’re calling it quits or anything there’s no talk of that” Driediger says. Instead he’s moving to the Sunshine Coast to work on new material. “I’m just going to hang out there for a little while and get my shit together and hopefully write some music. That’s the plan.”

Tags: