We are The Geoff Hudson Band (Geoff Hudson, Jill McKenna & Ben Bowen) and we are from Hamilton, Ontario. We have been playing together for about four years now and over the past six months have created our debut album What Do Ya Say. Our DIY record-making process was a little different than most, and it couldn’t have happened without the help of so many people in this city. We are writing here to say “Thank you, Hamilton!” Here are 10 reasons how this city helped us make this record come to life.
This is our story...
In 2013 Geoff and Jill met at the jazz program at Mohawk College. We started playing together and both knew we had found something special. We played our first open mic at the Zoetic where we met Ben! Ben was playing guitar and singing his owns songs and we got chatting after the show and realized Ben was a trumpet player – exactly what we were looking for! Our debut show as a band was at the Odd Fellows Hall in Dundas. We then started our own, now annual, backyard show “The Mountain Jam” and every year with the help of Brayden Ehrlich, we turn Taylor’s Tea Room into the wildest concert venue in the city for Cactus Fest.
Fast-forward over four years of playing and writing music and now it’s time to make a record. Geoff had been living in Québec studying French, so the plan was to come home for five days in April and record everything, yes, four years of music-making crammed into five days. Over the years Geoff had been collecting a bunch of great audio equipment, so we decided to record at Hudson Studios - AKA Geoff’s garage. After five long days, sleeping on the couch in the studio and pizzas at 3am, we walked home at six in the morning on the last day with the birds chirping, knowing that we had done it.
After recording, Geoff had to go back to Québec to finish school, and the mixing process began. For months Geoff mixed, sent it to Ben and Jill, notes were made, sent back and the process repeated itself over and over and over again. When we finally got the mix sounding the way we wanted, we sent the tracks over to our good friend Travis Stoddart at Alleyway Sound who did an absolutely beautiful job mastering. In the mean time, we began working on the physical production of our new album...
We decided for the most financially sound option: DIY. We designed our own simple album cover, and went to Impressive Printing on Cannon Street to get them printed. We then started looking for somewhere local we could get a custom stamp made for the discs.
With a little bit of research we found Jeff Mahoney’s story in The Hamilton Spectator on Tucker’s Plus. We headed over to the lovely 87 year-old Pat Lisson on John Street and had our custom stamp made. We ordered blank black CD-Rs, bought some white paint and began stamping. Our masters came back, we burned each and every CD on our own computers, glued the covers together, and put our stamped CD inside; we had made a record.
We are so proud of this album and we couldn’t have done it on our own. Huge shout outs to our families and friends for the indescribable love and support, and to every person who has somehow touched this record, including each and every listener. This couldn’t have happened in any other city, so thank you Hamilton. This album is for you!
**Official Album Release Party Aug 17th, 2018 @ Taylor’s Tea Room**