On Dreams with Hank’s Dream

Interview by Varun Swarup
Genres and styles : Indie Pop / Indie Rock / Rock

Additional Information

Born just before the sleepy lockdowns of the early pandemic, Hank’s Dream emerged as the manifestation of singer-songwriter Henry Cobb. Releasing their eponymous debut EP in the summer of 2020, the band – now featuring Henri Bouchard on bass, Frédéric Ferland on guitar, and Zach Lalonde on drums – is on the verge of turning a fresh musical chapter with a brand new single, “All Over Now”. The band graciously extended an invitation to their practice session, just ahead of their eagerly anticipated launch show at Bar L’Escogriffe.

PAN M 360  : Hey thanks for having me here. Big show coming up. 

Frédéric : Yeah, our first full band show since September. We’ve been playing like a couple of duo shows, me and Henry, but it’s been a while since we’ve had everyone together on stage. That’s really exciting for us.

PAN M 360  : You must have lots of stuff you want to show us! 

Frédéric : For sure. We will play some classics, like from the 2020 EP. Of course we will play the single we release in June, “San Francisco”. But most of the songs we are playing now are unreleased and they are from an album that we’re hoping to get out in the summer.

PAN M 360  : So you’re getting to try out the new material in a live context? 

Henry : I wouldn’t necessarily say like trying out because like we’ve actually had these songs written for quite a while now. There’s just kind of like a stockpile of songs that needs to be recorded.

Frédéric : We’ve been playing them since like 2021 pretty much. A lot of them. We have like a book of like 12 songs that are not released, and we’re hoping to get them on tape.

Henry : Yeah, but it is nice because, for example, the song we’re about to release, “All Over Now”, is one of the ones that people really like when they play at shows. And so because we’ve had it around for a while, it was easy to record quickly because we’ve played it a million times. 

PAN M 360  : And so when you say you’re about to “release” the song, what exactly does that mean? 

Henry : “What does it mean?”

PAN M 360  : Well I understand that it will be out on all the streaming services and everything, but people have to know about it, right? So it seems like a release has basically become an instagram post. 

Henry : Yeah, it’s the way it is now. We haven’t really done any physical releases of any of our stuff yet. I mean I would like to, but I think the market for it is very niche. You know, like your friends might buy it, but except for my friends who drive cars I don’t know anyone who actually even listens to CD’s. I like records, but that’s maybe more long term. 

But then again I don’t know, I think I used to be really attached to the whole physical medium aspect of music, but one thing that is really cool about streaming is how people all around the world can access your stuff. We had sort of a meme moment a few days where one of our songs was on a playlist in Finland. So suddenly we had a spike in the number of streams coming in. Yeah, it was probably AI bots or something. 

Frédéric : It was the second country in the world that was listening to most of our songs. We had 300 listeners in Finland. 

Henri : We will probably go on tour there now. 

PAN M 360  : I suppose I was trying to touch upon how underwhelming it can be at times. Here’s a post and there you go

Frédéric : And then it’s over. Yeah, it’s a big thing.

Henry : Well, honestly, we made a big deal out of it, though. We are doing a show on the same day and then we’re also releasing a music video that we’ve been working on for a long time. So I feel like you can make a big deal out of these things. 

PAN M 360  : For sure, and I’m sure your fans are thrilled.  Can you tell me about the new single? 

Henry : “All Over Now” is a tune that I wrote in 2021, I believe. It was sort of in response to the passing of Norm MacDonald, who’s my favourite comedian. It’s kind of partially about that but I mean, like all of these tunes were written with the music first and the lyrics second. So, I had the tune for a little while and then I sort of play around with words till something fits, and in this case, the first line that just came was ‘it’s all over now’. And I wrote the rest of the song around it. 

PAN M 360 : Is it exploring a different sound or theme than the other ones?

Henry : Well, it’s the same layout. In the sense that it’s like bass, drums, guitar, synthesiser, and voice, but it’s definitely got a darker sound to it. The synth has more of a pad-kind of role. I would say that this song is like really dream pop. If you wanted to put it in a genre, whereas “San Francisco” is more yacht rock. 

PAN M 360 : Ha, is that what you feel best describes your music? 

Henri : It’s pretty accurate. We had never heard that term before but then last summer when we released “San Francisco”, we had like a bunch of people saying, oh, this is really giving Yacht Rock vibes. 

Henry : Yeah, anyways. I don’t know, I think it’s pretty poppy music. But that’s the thing, I feel like our tunes are really different like from song to song. Some of them are really easy to categorise, and some not so much. 

PAN M 360 : And what about “San Francisco”, what’s the story behind that one? 

Henry : I think it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek…I wrote it during the pandemic, which really sucked, and I guess it’s about this guy who has an immature idea that getting away to another city is going to solve all their problems and stuff like.  Yeah, I don’t know. It’s kind of just like a stupid goofy song too. 

PAN M 360  :  I’m curious about everyone in the band’s favourite song to play.

Henri : I love when Henry plays solo tunes, and I get to cry on stage. 

Zachary : I think maybe “San Francisco”.

Frédéric : Maybe “Just 23” for me, which is like a big super high energy song that we’ve been playing for a while. It’s super fun to play.

PAN M 360  : And what’s the next big thing for the band? 

Frédéric : Well, I think the biggest dream right now is to get to do the record. I mean tell me if I’m wrong Henry, but I feel like it’s pretty much the next big thing that we’re looking to do. Right. And when it’s going to be done, I think it’s going to be super satisfying because we’ve been working on it for a long time.

PAN M 360  : So do you have a plan for that yet? Or is it kind of still just an idea for now? 

Henry : Well, basically, for like the past six or eight months we’ve been in the process of applying for grants. So we’re sort of basing the production schedule off of that. If we get them, then we can hopefully start recording the album like in March, and then have it out by the summer. And If we don’t get them, then that’s like a whole other story.

PAN M 360  : As a band singing in English to you feel at a disadvantage for those opportunities?

Henry : I feel like actually the opposite. I was expecting that to be the case, but we play tons of venues that are maybe more francophone oriented and it goes really well. Like we have tons of fans that are francophones, maybe even more so than anglophones.

Frédéric: All of us are playing with other francophone projects too, so for us it’s like more like making links than separating people.

Henry : We did do a thing one time at our release show, and we had like a poll at the beginning about which language we should speak between the songs, and it was pretty 50-50 but French won.

PAN M 360  : Well no matter what language, Montréal is a city that loves music. Have an amazing show !

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