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Tuesday, November 5, 1996

The fans interview the Hip

THE U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL MARKET

Q. Hi! I'm interested to know how big the band is in the United States and even if the Hip want to be big in the States. It's such a Canadian sound that I can't imagine Americans really understand it or like it.

A. Depends on the city, how often we 've played there, etc. Being big is the last thing on our minds. - PL

Q. Do you ever get pressure from your record company to ditch the Canadian themes in your music as a concession to foreign (U.S.) audiences? How do (would) you respond? How do your foreign audiences react to some of your distinctly Canadian references?

A. No, because I don 't think either of the US labels we've had really understood or cared about the band. There was one instance in which an album was tentatively titled Saskaphiladelphia . The label didn't quite get it. So we played along and gave them an even more arcane Canadian reference - Road Apples.

As for foreign reaction to such references, when I hear Midnight Oil, Los Lobos, Betty Serveert, Kashtin make specific references to different national or cultural topics I feel curious, interested and maybe even broadened. I would hope other people would respond similarly to our music. - RB

Q. Hey guys! I've been reading that you are gaining quite a following in Australia. Have your friends Midnight Oil helped at all by having you along for shows and appearances? Or have you just been plugging away working some seedy joints where Paul Hogan wanna be's work the door? How's the overall international market looking for you? Thanks from a fellow St. Lawrence Seaway resident (Brockville)!

Good luck!

A. Well my friend, there are two urban myths afloat in Canada: That we are big in Australia or anywhere for that matter; and that Brock Vegas is a happening place to hang out. - JF

Q. There is no doubt that the Hip is, and always will be, a big band in Canada. I'm curious, if they never reach huge stardom in the States, will they still be satisfied with all there accomplishments in Canada?

A. We've always approached things one step at a time, one song at a time. Making music that continues to move us is our biggest motivator. After that, whatever happens will happen. We've been really fortunate that we've been able to evolve naturally and slowly over the years and that our fans have come along with us and have continued to support us, album after album.

We approach the U.S. the same way. Each time we put out a record or tour down there our audience has continued to grow. To us, that's being successful.

Stardom and celebrity are meaningless words to us. They have little to do with music and much more to do with the culture we live in. For a lot of groups over the years, stardom has been a heavy weight to shake off and has shortened a lot of promising careers for some decent songwriters. - GS

Q. It really is amazing to see you guys tour in the U.S. Please, don't ever stop visiting. Just wanted to ask if you guys like the smaller, less stress, less organization, that is needed for you to tour in the U. S. compared to the large deal of touring in Canada? It seems to me that there are advantages to both. Which do you guys prefer and why?
Take care,
A friend from the road.

A. I really enjoy the difference in venue sizes. It makes it hard to establish a routine, which I see as a good thing. When you can smell the audience's collective breath or see someone at the back yawning, it really forces you to be at the top of your game. As for preference, I would go for the Great Canadian Compromises - somewhere in the middle of 1,500 to 3,000 seats. - RB

The fans interview the Hip continued


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