Track Premiere: “Don’t Sleep” by Hard Ticket


Hard Ticket, Photo by Jake Nicoll.

We’re only one cold month into 2016, but there is absolutely no sign of creative stagnancy on this end of the East coast. With today being February first, many are preparing to get reclusive and tap their creative juices for the annual RPM challenge. The RPM challenge is not a competition, it is a creative exercise that encourages one and all to complete an album of original music, 10 songs or 35 minutes, within the month of February. The RPM has been exceptionally important over the last few years for feeding the fire of prolificity within the St. John’s arts community. Whether it is a cool breath of air for an existing band, a one-off musical endeavor, or laying the groundwork for a startup project to use as an inspirational springboard; the RPM challenge has set an example for staying busy and deviceful in even the shittiest of seasons. Hell, I’ve even considered starting an online petition to make the RPM a provincial holiday so we can all experience the joys of smoking weed in a tangle of XLR cables for a month straight.

It seems to me that as the RPM has gained in St. John’s popularity, the winter season has become increasingly fruitful for musical ventures, fresh-faced bands, and new releases. The sprint has grown, and it is no longer fully reliant on the month-long window of the RPM challenge. I mean, it only makes sense to harness the longest and most friggedly miserable season to spend countless hours in your basement jam space, or bedroom studio. The now winter-long wave of musical activity sort of feels like a conditioned extension of the RPM spirit.

There is no finer example of the St. John’s cold weather class of ’15/’16 than Hard Ticket. Cropping up only a few short months ago, Hard Ticket have already bagged a solid batch of live shows, and have swiftly completed a ten song debut album entitled Tuff Cookie which is due for release in March. If you’re looking for an RPM inspiration of musical efficiency, look no further than these folks.

Hard Ticket at the Peter Easton, photo by Dan Smith -

Hard Ticket at the Peter Easton, photo by Dan Smith –

“I just had a bunch of songs written and decided to get a band together,” says guitarist/vocalist Mopey Dyke. “It’s so much easier than I ever expected. After like 4 jams, we had a whole album.”

Mopey Dyke is joined by his Jonny & The Cowbungas cohort Jonny May on second guitar, as well as Nicole Squires of Bad Plan on bass, and Megan Harnum of Pap Pap and The Mudflowers on drums. “It’s like we have the happiest group of peeps on the go now. We’re all so close.”

Hard Ticket play guttural jangle pop with a psychedelic ripple of garage beat, and an inevitable thudding punk rock backbone. The wavy and stoned sun-soaked guitar work might hold hints of Dyke and May’s instrumental outfit The Cowabungas, but the animated vocal chatter, infectious rhythm, and stripped pop structures land Hard Ticket in their own place far beyond just a side or offshoot project.

Skipping the habit of releasing a pitter patter of demo songs, Hard Ticket are coming out of the gate with a ten song release entitled Tuff Cookie, and it is already looking like one hell of a debut.

We’re absolutely gracious and giddy to share with you Hard Ticket’s Tuff Cookie track “Don’t Sleep” as a Secret East exclusive:

 With Hard Ticket’s only other teaser from the album being “Buy My Bed“, I asked if “Don’t Sleep” consciously carried a pattern of insomnia-addled subject matter.

“I really want to figure out how to avoid sleeping. It’s such a waste of time,” says Dyke, “but I never intended for there to be a running theme.”

Still curious as to a whim behind the words, I asked if there was a particular intention to the restless mantra-like track.

“It’s a song about some asshole my mom dated,” Dyke explained. “A total abusive alcoholic.”

The lyrics are as follows:

When I’m angry I sleep on my side,
when I’m sick I sleep on my stomach,
when I’m happy I sleep on my back
but where do I sleep when I’m anxious worried.
I don’t sleep,
I sit and I drink vodka.
While you sleep soundly,
you call me a control freak,
you know that I am kind.
You call me a control freak,
well I know everything.
Call me a control freak,
you know that I am king.
Call me a control freak,
I’ll call you a perverted teen.
Call me a control freak,
well I know everything.

Tuff Cookie was a quick and seemingly painless recording session for a full length release by a new ensemble. Sometimes the recording process can bleed the fun out of material, and tragically that exhaustion can become evident on the final product. This was not the case for Hard Ticket. The lively looseness of HT’s songs are perfectly intact, and the capturing of these tracks accurately reflects the nature of their gigs.

“The recording session was amazing. Jake Nicoll recorded us on his birthday, so it really meant a lot to us all,” says Dyke. “After two nights of laughs, a lot of fun and one mixing session, we had our ten songs ready to roll.”

The date for a physical copy may be uncertain, but the digital drop of Tuff Cookie is only about a month away.

“The release is still up in the air. I’m waiting on some art and tapes, but the digital release will probably happen the first week of March.”

Stay tuned to Hard Ticket on facebook for more album info as the winter rolls on, and be sure to catch them live in St. John’s with any chance you get.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: