Waterloo Region Record - - Nightlife - CORAL AN­DREWS

Home­grown Hero is hav­ing a good year. They’ve shared the stage with alt-rock­ers Am­ber­wood and Lon­don’s Texas King. Now they are set to open for the in­com­pa­ra­ble Bif Naked on the main stage at Maxwell’s.

“We are big ’90s guys,” notes lead singer Patrick Mullin. “Once we saw Bif was com­ing to town we got ex­cited,” says Mullin.

Mullin and gui­tarist Corey O’Brien, have been in the lo­cal mu­sic scene for two decades. The two mu­si­cians have been friends for years.

“Corey and I met in 2001,” says Mullin. “We ac­tu­ally went to high school to­gether at Blue­vale Col­le­giate. We started get­ting into mu­sic to­gether. I was singing in the choirs so have been a vo­cal­ist since I was a very young boy. One sum­mer we got into gui­tar and we started play­ing in Corey’s base­ment. He would play and I would sing and that is where things started blos­som­ing,” says Mullin. Back then he was lis­ten­ing to bands like Sil­ver­chair and ’90s grunge.

“I was into Dave Matthews at the time, John Ma­jor and Ja­son Mraz, ac­tu­ally, be­fore he “blew up,” adds O’Brien. “I was lis­ten­ing to all of his un­der­ground stuff. Jack John­son was an­other gui­tarist that I liked. My gui­tar in­flu­ences also come from my fa­ther and un­cles who lis­tened to a lot of Ste­vie Ray Vaughan and into the blues area. John Ma­jor ac­tu­ally opened that up for me. If you look into more of his un­der­ground mu­sic, it was blues in­flu­enced.”

Both mu­si­cians have Ir­ish an­ces­try and for a while, they toured in Florida as the duo Mullin and O’Brien. Back home they played with an­other band for a while which soon folded.

“Corey and I wanted to con­tinue writ­ing mu­sic,” says Mullin,

They met Home­grown Hero bassist Nick Holden in a bar. “He ex­pressed in­ter­est in start­ing a project. Nick was in the scene but never re­ally had any­thing solid go­ing. He went to Blue­vale as well but he was a few years younger than us.”

Drum­mer Alex Gon­dos was a friend of Holden’s. In 2016, Home­grown Hero added keys player Jen Capa.

“The last band we were in had a harder more ag­gres­sive side to it,” notes O’Brien. “We had a few songs that we had al­ready writ­ten with a pop­u­lar main­stream sound that we wanted to tar­get. Rather than stick­ing in a sec­ond gui­tar player to make things heav­ier, we knew we wanted to go the route of in­clud­ing keys,” he adds.

“Pat wanted a fe­male voice to part­ner with and help with the har­monies,” notes O’Brien.

“We knew that she had mu­sic the­ory be­cause she is a mu­sic teacher. Jen un­der­stands mu­sic and mul­ti­ple in­stru­ments. She jumped right in with­out us hav­ing to back­track or show her each song. She could just go with the flow.

“At that time she did not re­ally want to com­mit to any­thing too se­ri­ous be­cause she had school. Then as things pro­gressed and we got more busy with gigs, Jen got more ex­cited about it and re­ally be­came a full-time mem­ber,” says O’Brien.

Home­grown Hero is known for their power rock sound in­spired by their clas­sic pop/rock roots. “Af­ter The Storm” is a po­tent rock bal­lad and Home­grown Hero’s de­but sin­gle.

“Af­ter the Storm” was writ­ten dur­ing the time of Hur­ri­cane Irma in Florida,” O’Brien notes. “We wanted to re­late the song to hope. The song is more about think­ing the storm is go­ing to pass. Things are go­ing to be bet­ter and brighter. It was a rough time at that mo­ment so that is where a lot of the lyrics orig­i­nated

from,” he ex­plains, adding the band went their sep­a­rate ways to write and then re­grouped.

The mu­sic comes from drum­mer Alex Gon­dos who com­posed a lilt­ing open­ing pi­ano riff that he wrote with band pal, cre­ative pro­ducer and “Storm” video di­rec­tor, Dim­itri Dimka.

Each band mem­ber put their part over the top of the pi­ano part.

“We all sat down in the cir­cle and hashed it out — we like this line — don’t like this line,” re­calls O’Brien. “This fits well with this and it re­lates to the storm. In your life maybe it is the storm of your re­la­tion­ship so we tried to pick words that can re­late to many things,” says O’Brien, adding that “Af­ter the Storm” will be re­leased next month with a mu­sic video.

“The EP will prob­a­bly come out in the fall,” says Mullin. “We have eight to nine orig­i­nal songs that we do play out at shows. But we have not re­ally de­cided which ones we are go­ing to put on the EP. We are still do­ing a lot of writ­ing.”


Home­grown Hero: from left, Corey O’Brien, Patrick Mullin, Alex Gon­dos, Jen Capa, Nick Holden

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