Local band Tap 9 will be performing on Aug. 30 as part of the popular Lacombe ‘Music in the Park’ series.
The show, which is presented by the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre, kicks off at 6:30 p.m. at the Lacombe Memorial Centre’s Echo Stage.
“It’s one of our favorite events. And the reason is that, unlike a full-on concert of just our music, we blend in a lot of tunes that people like to hear. There are hundreds of people right there, giving real-life feedback and we get to participate in that,” said lead vocalist/guitarist Tony Hoffmann.
Rounding out the band are Orion Donnison, Steve Tanner, Grant Harder, and Brad Harsent.
“We have also prepared a couple of special songs just for this event because of that interaction with the audience. We love that.”
Tap 9 was initially formed in 2010. The band’s first song, Alberta Home, was originally published in the spring of 2011.
They’ve done plenty of recording over the years as well, including a self-titled release back in 2012, and an EP called Cowboy in Paradise in 2015 not to mention several singles over the years including the aforementioned Alberta Home, One More Christmas, Superhero, and Bluejeans.
These days — after pandemic-forced cancellations and such an entertainment slow-down — they are still in a season of rejuvenation and rediscovery of the joys of hitting the stage.
“I think that’s what is happening — all the fun is coming back into it,” he said. “There’s a lot more interest in getting ‘live’ bands and getting people out. And they want to come out and hear original music.”
So over the past year or so, the guys have been busy getting back into the swing of things with shows and they’ve been spending a fair chunk of time writing as well.
There are plans to head into the studio in the spring of 2024.
“For the most part, someone brings a raw song and we collaborate on that,” he explained of their approach to crafting tunes. “I do write a fair amount of the songs – and I bring them forward with their melodies, lyrics, and such. Everybody in the band does the same thing.
“We come together, make some minor tweaks, and produce it to the level where it’s ready to go to the studio,” he said.
For Hoffmann, melodies will often pop into his head at unexpected times.
“Literally, this morning I could feel it. So I’m starting to formulate the melody and letting in the words,” he said. “I get my phone and record it, quickly put some chords together and here we are — we have the birth of a song.
“What I find for myself a lot of times is that it’s what is going on in my life that gives me the ability to add the lyrics. I think that is what is beautiful about Tap 9 – we get together and we have different songwriters in the band. Someone will say, ‘I’ve got this really great idea for what I want to say and this is how I want to sing it’.
“We’ll get the chorus and the bridge figured out, and the song just evolves.”
The studio experience is also just pure magic.
“People in music are artists, and when they get together it is collaborative. In the right environment, it’s amazing what can happen,” he added. “It’s wonderful.”
Hoffman said that when the guys first started out, it was primarily about nailing those basic rock and roll sounds. “That was the idea – some raw, fun rock. Then as we matured in age, our lives, and our experiences, the songs took on different meanings,” he explained.
These days, the plan is to get back to that basic rock and roll.
“Ultimately, our motivation is to get in there and write music that is important to us. And I think that is what the people who listen to our music like.”
For the guys, who all have regular jobs outside of music, the creative process brings a striking sense of balance and richness to their busy lives.
“Last night I was practicing and came home to my wife, and she asked me how it went. I was on such a high. When the song is right, the music is right and the vocal is right, you just felt like you are floating on a cloud. It’s quite amazing. The world just floats away and we are in this happy place. It’s happiness, contentment, and excitement all put together.”