Aside from a compilation CD my mom bought me once at Romancing the Stone, I’ve never really considered myself to be a reggae fan. With the introduction to several bands since moving to New York, it now seems that I wasn’t just obsessed with that one song on the CD (a REAL CD!). I’m actually pretty into this chill, relaxing music.
Fortunately I seem to be introduced to a new reggae band on the regular, and one of the most recent treats was Boston-based, High Hopes Band. Vocalist and guitarist, Jason Dick, took a few moments to chat with me about High Hopes Band behind the scenes.
According to Dick, the band as it is now has been playing together for about a year and a half. Dick is married to bassist, Julie Feola, and the two have collected an excellent group of musicians to complement the music they originally began making as a pair. In addition to their guitarist and vocalist, Sebastian Franks and percussionist, Zeke, High Hopes Band is composed of keyboardist, Paddy McDonnell and his long time associate (since Catholic school!), drummer, AJ Maynard.
Dick maintains that this collection of musicians has worked out well together so far, including a tour through the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the band was very well received. As their first tour outside the continental U.S., the band relished recognition on the street in the days following their performances and the increased amount of merchandise they were able to sell on the trip.
During this tour, the band also pre-released their first EP to their fans in St. Croix. Following good reception there, Dick says they are aiming to pull together an official EP for worldwide release before completing an album.
“The goal is to release an entire album but to gather an EP first,” he explains. “It was well received even the way we did it. I’m really looking forward to getting back into the studio behind the glass and just letting it happen as artists.”
Dick maintains that High Hopes Band production of music is a very democratic process featuring his writing inspired by the likes of reggae influences including Albert Griffiths, Earl Sixteen and Julian Marley among others.
” I listen to a lot of the 70’s, golden era reggae—Frankie Paul—some of the more traditional people that nobody knows about but that have released vinyl records. I listen to a lot of that stuff, and I think my writing style comes from that,” Dick says. “It starts out with me then I bring it to the band. I usually develop a hook and then let the other people play what they hear sometimes. It’s a very democratic process.”
In general, Dick expresses a sense of satisfaction from the close-knit group that makes the music behind High Hopes Band and with his involvement in the music industry.
“It’s been about the relationships with people and really understanding that music is a whole other realm,” he explains. “Being in music is like being in another realm itself. For each individual person it’s just a bonding experience, especially when you get a group of people together that have the same frequency.”
Based on sheer music production alone, the members of High Hopes Band are definitely operating on the same frequency, and it’s such a pleasant one. Check them out. Or don’t. You can explain that mistake to your eardrums later.