“Taking a break” is usually a sign of impending doom in relationships. However, for The Hush Sound, a four-year hiatus seems to be just what the band needed.
The indie pop band, comprised of Greta Salpeter, Bob Morris, Darren Wilson and Chris Faller, recently reconvened after spending time away from the band. Salpeter worked in Gold Motel, Morris spent time with his band Stamps and Faller in Company of Thieves. Wilson took the time to go back to school.
“Everybody just really just needed a break,” Salpeter said. “We needed some other creative outlets. It’s the same thing with any friendship — sometimes when you spend too much time with someone you need to know other people. It’s like any relationship. It ebbs and flows like the ocean.”
Post-hiatus, the band displayed little hesitation getting back on the road. With no new album to promote and only a handful of fresh songs, The Hush Sound is using the experience as a test-run for its new music before hitting the studio.
“It’s cool to get out there and play songs and get to tweak and experiment with stuff that way,” Morris said. “We’ll definitely get a nice, organic approach into recording, which will happen soon.”
So far, the new tunes have been well-received by audiences, and the experience has been useful to the band, Morris said.
“So far the reception has been really good,” Morris said. “We practice the song, and we change the song after a show. We say, ‘Oh that part could be a little better’ so we work on that.”
The upcoming record will be the first full-length to be independently released by the band, which got its start at the popular alternative label Fueled By Ramen. The group’s departure with the label was brought on by what Morris described as an unusual occurrence in today’s music world — the band fulfilled its contract.
While most bands begin as independently produced and move on to a label, The Hush Sound is enjoying the benefits of doing things in reverse.
“Now we’re in a very fortunate position to build up a fan base and have no ties to record labels,” Morris said. “We’re excited about that. Not that we didn’t appreciate Fueled by Ramen — it was a great place to get our start.”
The band’s origins date back to the early teenage years of the members, who met in high school in the western suburbs of Chicago. Salpeter was only 14 when she befriended Morris, who was 16 at the time, Salpeter said. After recruiting Wilson and Faller, the band played locally and quickly gained a following.
“We had gone from playing basements…to all of a sudden being asked to open these really big sold-out shows and bigger venues in Chicago like the Metro,” Salpeter said.
The Chicago music scene has influenced the band’s music, Salpeter said.
“[The area is known for] really rich pop music — intelligent, thoughtful but super melodic pop — and that’s what we seem to be influenced by,” Salpeter said.
After spending time apart, the members of The Hush Sound are finding themselves drawing influence from their experiences with other bands.
“I do a lot of co-writing, and every time I write with different people, I learn something totally different,” Salpeter said. “I would just say when the four of us get in a room as The Hush Sound, there’s a certain type of music we create just being the combination of our four personalities. I just think there’s a unique flavor that happens when each person enters the room.”
That particular combination is something Morris looks upon fondly.
“We all spent so much time together and we’ve grown up in different ways, and then we’ve came back and there’s still familiar, common ground to share,” Morris said. “It’s cool — it’s a lot of fun to be back with these dudes.”
Salpeter is already seeing improvement in The Hush Sound since the hiatus.
“I definitely think we’ve all learned a lot from working in other projects,” Salpeter said. “We can approach our songs better. One thing before, Bob and I always wanted to do more harmonies together, and it was just kind of hard for us to write the right parts. Now that we both have played in other projects and have better ears, it’s easier for us to come in and approach our songs as smarter arrangers.”
As for other changes since the band went on hiatus?
“Well, Bob had a sex change,” Salpeter joked.
“I’m a lady!” Morris said.
With the band’s evolution comes changes in the audience as well — one that Salpeter embraces.
“We’ve grown up with our fans in a really cool way,” Salpeter said. “Some people who started coming to shows seven years ago are now married and have kids, or have joined the Army and have gone to war and come back. It’s pretty amazing.”
Morris, however, sees the change in a slightly different way.
“Well we used to start every show with the ABC song, and now we’re on to advanced fractions,” Morris said.
Regardless of academic level, Salpeter said there’s one thing that The Hush Sound wants their fans to experience at their shows — a good time.
“We want to have fun, and we want our fans to have fun.”
The Hush Sound will perform at The Theatre of Living Arts on Nov. 16.
Jenelle Janci can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.