David Vertesi sits on a Toronto patio, swigging Stella Artois and enjoying a late Spring day.
The Hey Ocean! bassist is performing at NXNE, but this time alone.
Bandmates Ashleigh Ball and David Beckingham have taken a break from 10 years of indie pop to pursue their own endeavors.
“We were like, ‘We need a break or we’re going to kill each other’,” he says, a wrinkle of a smile appearing. “It’s got to feel fresh, and I feel like we got to a place where we were comfortable doing that.”
A lot of hard work went into their third full-length album, IS, in particular on the touring side.
It wasn’t until the last couple of months that they began to earn recognition — reaching 70 on the Canadian charts, as well as getting radio play, and soundtrack credits on TV shows like One Tree Hill and Switched At Birth.
“We’re not going to be one of those bands that take a step away for a second and come back and everyone will have forgotten our hit single,” he rebuffs.
Vertesi knows the fans will practice patience while the trio do their own thing, and that’s why he’s enthused by performing with his own three-piece band.
His music has “taken a bit of a turn”.
After his heartbreak record, Cariodgraphy, was launched in 2010, he’s decided to take his style — sad dad cruise ship, or crooncore — and have some fun with it.
“We’re just trying to have a good time with it, even though there’s a lot of serious subject matter in the music: heartbreak and stuff,” he admits, adding he performs a dancey, garage version of the Spice Girls’ “Say You’ll Be There”.
There is trepidation in the specific lyrics of his tunes, but Vertesi has learned people connect more when the artist leaves all inhibitions, when it comes to emotions, behind.
“Sad happy is kind the ultimate music to me: music that simultaneously speaks to you on a personal level, and makes you want to shoulder shimmy,” he admits. “The ultimate thing, for me, in music, is if teenagers can listen to my music and cry in their room, and my parents can dance to it on a cruiseship.”
There’s another reason why Vertesi is taking in Hogtown’s music scene. He’s mixing his second album.
Vertesi says he’s hoping for an Fall, 2015 release on the yet to be named album.
“These things just take so much fucking time,” he admits. “You get it to a label and they’re like, ‘Okay, we need six months’.”
Optimism prevails though, and Vertesi says he is excited by the prospect of it being more loose in its theme.
As for keeping Hey Ocean! current in the minds of its fans, he leaves a small hint of a reunion.
Vertesi reveals he is working with Ashleigh Ball on a few of her projects, but no time has been given for a fourth album.
“The nice thing about hiatuses is you’re just working on stuff, as in when,” he says. “It’s probably still a year away before we’re in a place to do that.”