…from the Manhart logs, November 22nd, 2016
Molehill’s first international tour is in the books! We had a great time playing two nights in Toronto a week ago as part of Indie Week and the Outlaw Roadshow. It was kind of crazy to actually have to bring our passports on tour. Hopefully this is just the first time of many!
We half expected the instant van search after we said we were in a band. Luckily, we got a very nice border guard. Guard: “what kind of music do you play?” Us: “In the vein of Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, the Killers…” Guard: “Oh, so you are actually rock!” Score.
We didn’t get a whole lot of time to explore Toronto. We drove straight from Chicago to the venue on Thursday night, then found our Airbnb and caught about 6 hours of sleep before spending the day in a hotel in downtown Toronto attending Indie Week panels. After leaving the panels to load in to our venue for Friday night, we had about 4 hours of downtime to actually explore the neighborhood of Parkdale, which was very cool!
First thing we stumbled across, about 1 block from the venue, was this badass Moog store. We must have killed a good 40 minutes in there just messing around with guitar and bass pedals, a bunch of different awesome keyboards, and even a theremin (which I’ve always wanted to play… and just couldn’t figure out how to set up properly! Very frustrating. Thanks, Obama).
Honest Ed ain’t upper crust, but his bargain prices save you dough!
Basically every other storefront on this street was another restaurant, and they all looked amazing. Kind of reminded us of New York City in that respect. We all grabbed dinner, then Trevor got a foot massage, and we were off to play our show!
We caught 6 more hours of sleep and then drove back to Chicago. GVZ had been talking about Tim Horton’s for 2 days straight (even though none of us were entirely sure what Tim Horton’s was), so we stopped at one along the highway. Look at that happy face!
After another 10 hours of driving, we were back in Chicago. We got to play at Schubas Tavern, which is an amazing venue. I’ve seen so many shows there over the years, it was really exciting to finally play there ourselves. And the show was great! Basically the perfect way to wrap up our touring for 2016.
And now, our focus moves back to new music. The first 5 months of 2016 were the most prolific writing period we’ve ever had as a band. We had 25 full songs ready to go, with lyrics and everything, before we picked our favorite 3 to record with J. Hall in June in Nashville. We are very excited to share this music with everyone, and we are just taking a little time now to decide what will be the best way to do so. We have a lot in the works right now – we’re writing more new music, booking new tours, and excited to hit the ground running in 2017.
As always, thank you all for your support, and we’ll see you again soon! And Happy Thanksgiving!
“Do not be fooled by the name. Molehill is more like a mountain. Combining elements of progressive rock with pop sensibilities and emotionally charged lyrics, this band delivers a symphonic listening experience.” - Jesse Menendez, Vocalo, 89.5FM Chicago
The first time Peter and I strapped in and felt Devin hit the groove, we knew we had something. We didn’t know if it was any good but it felt right. We met ‘the sunshine’ Greg. Since then, we’ve driven all over the country and experienced dirty motels, great people, missed exits, and the freedom of it all. It’s therapy, I really don’t know what we’d do without it.
So here we are, releasing our third set of songs. It’s just as exciting as it ever was to release music into the wild. ‘Hearts on Fire’ seems to be an appropriate song to put out there. I don’t think we’ll ever get over writing songs that feel good in large spaces. Greg came in with the searing lead synth, Peter wrote lyrics inspired by the Euromaidan, and Dev and I banged out a rhythm track. It’s simple and straight to the point, except for those lava rocks J threw into the mix...That’s the charm of writing a simple song. Some of them just come easily.
Some songs, or should I say arrangements, don’t come so easily. ‘Reverie’ started off as a three chord bridge in one of Greg’s songs. What followed was ridiculous in some ways. I think we have somewhere around 300+ emails dedicated to this song and its direction. Dozens of recorded versions later, we got to Nashville and threw a bunch of it away. Get away from your computer and interact, suddenly everything is more visceral and real. The process was worth it.
‘Old Soldier’ started in late November 2014 after I learned that my grandfather wasn’t doing so well. His reflections on his experience in WWII and remarkable life stay with me every day. It only seemed appropriate to use the last voicemail he left me during the outro. When I sent the music over to Pete and he returned the ‘option 5’ melody idea for the verse, I cried. This song is meditative to me. It combines Pete’s ethereal vocal with that West Coast hip hop beat we love so much.
I think we made something that’s honest. We hope you enjoy it.
Chicago, IL | January 2017