Story and photos by Claire Bourgeois
“We embody our anxiety for pleasure.”
These words, taken from the Instagram account of Calgary favourites Time Boy, might just perfectly describe the type of experience one has when listening to the band’s first album, Ponoka, or attending a live show.
Touted a “creative release” by the band’s four members, the musical stylings of Time Boy embrace the atypical. The band, consisting of Laura Hickli (vocals, keyboard), Hayden Dallison (vocals, guitar), Eric Jessee (vocals, bass) and Daniel Fisher (drums) have made quite a name for themselves simply through standing apart from the rest.
Filling their songs with unique time signatures and key changes, the band most certainly tout their classical training and knowledge while creating something entirely new and unexpected.
“We rarely say no to each other’s ideas. I think that’s actually a big thing with how we get to such crazy song structures and movements. It’s because we try not to shoot things down when we have ideas for them,” explains Jesse. He was, in fact, the one to pull Time Boy together, having worked with most of the group on other projects before finding Dallison through an ad on Kijiji.
Add to the mix whimsical, nonsensical lyrics and you’ve got a recipe for a mind-blowing, if at times overwhelming, listening experience. When it comes to how exactly the group comes up with these radical lyrics, they often turn to the ridiculous for inspiration.
“We actually wrote a song that’s in 7/4 time and I was trying to write lyrics in 7/4 time. And I just jokingly said, ‘what if we had a Freaky Friday situation between a vagrant and a bridge, where they switched consciousness?’” explains Dallison of their unique writing process.
While many musicians may struggle to maintain this level of oddity without getting completely derailed, what makes Time Boy successful is that they produce the musical chops that allow them pull off such creative risks. Each member of Time Boy comes with their own set of experiences, including other musical projects and artistic endeavors that lend themselves to the unique niche they have carved out for themselves in the Calgary scene.
Joking that they’re “like cilantro,” the members of Time Boy are aware that their music isn’t for everyone. Yet they are also keenly aware that this might just be a good thing, noting that it can be very easy in a city with such a collaborative nature to end up sounding just like everybody else.
“It’s important to maintain a balance between honing in on exactly what makes you unique, and then how to share that with other people, collectively,” Hickli notes.
One thing they are sure to value is the unique opportunity Calgary affords to them at this time. Time Boy get to be unique and have the potential to be the first of their genre to make it in the big leagues here in Calgary.
When it comes to the future, all four are in agreeance that they are best off taking each day as it comes.
“It’s almost freeing because we’re not thinking about Time Boy from the perspective that we need to make money off of this, or that this is our future. This is our now, and it’s great.”