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  • The Sound Cafe

Ken Wallis Chats With Steve Hill


By Ken Wallis. Photo Credit: Ken Wallis.



One word describes Steve Hill. Multi. He’s a multi-instrumentalist musician. He’s a multi award winner. He’s got multi album releases to his credit. Plus his music crosses multi genres of music. Hailing from Quebec, Steve Hill is a veteran of the music industry who gathers fans wherever he performs.


Ken Wallis interviewed Steve Hill for the radio show BluesSource Canada. The following are excerpts from that interview, edited for brevity and clarity.




Ken Wallis

Steve Hill has a new album out; it’s called Dear Illusion and joining us right now is Steve Hill. Steve, how you doing?


Steve Hill

I'm great Ken, how you doing?

Ken Wallis

Just super. Glad to see you and glad to talk to you and your album is terrific. I got to ask what's the meaning of Dear Illusion?


Steve Hill

Well as an album it has many meanings. There's a title track called Dear Illusion. Now this song is about heartbreak, which is something I went through before, but this time when it happened it felt like it was a first. I basically fell in love with an illusion and so that's what this song is about. As an album I think that with this title it takes on a completely different meaning and I guess you have to listen to the thing to figure it out for yourself. Let's just say that in the last five or six years we've had a bunch of different things happening in this world. Sometimes you're like, is this all an illusion? Or is it better to just live the illusion and not worry about it?


Ken Wallis

You're well known for your one-man band performances but this time you've got a band backing you up.


Steve Hill

There's still some one-man band stuff on the album, the album started as a one-man band record but then I added a horn section and later on in the process, Wayne Proctor a great drummer from the UK, played on a few tracks. He played on six songs, and I was so amazed by the mixes that he sent me because he did the drum tracks over there in his studio and the mixes were great. He ended up mixing and mastering the album and I have a few other friends playing on the album as well. There's my buddy from the metal band Voivod playing stand-up bass and there's a bunch of different guys playing on the record.


Ken Wallis

The very first song on the album, All About Love, once I hit play and I heard the guitar, I knew it was Steve Hill. You've got quite the sound that's quite recognizable and then you rock me with the horns, The Devil Horns. That was really cool.

Steve Hill

Well, that track was actually the first one I did with the horn section. I was on tour in Europe three years ago before Covid and I got a friend of mine, his artist's name is They Call Me Rico and he's Canadian, but he lives in Lyons in the south of France. He's got a studio there and I had a day off and I booked a session at his studio. I've known the guy for a long time, we started playing music together when we were like 11. So, I've known him a really long time, he's a dear friend of mine and I know that he always knows the good musicians in town. I had this song that I have been playing on the tour. With this new song, all I could definitely hear were horns on it. I asked him to put a horn section together. We cut the track in one day and then I liked the results so much that I just needed a horn section on everything.


Ken Wallis

There are a couple of lines that I just love on the album. “I come alive like I'm back from the dead when the stereo is blasting like a shotgun through my head” and boy when I've seen you perform, I think that's what happens.


Steve Hill

There's definitely something about playing live. The energy you get from the crowd and from the volume and all that. I have to say it's pretty addictive. During Covid I did a lot of Facebook live concerts, live streams, and it was great to play. I do these online concerts and have like 1500 people watching. so there's still the stress of it. But it's really not the same as being on the stage and having the audience in front of you. I really miss that.


Ken Wallis

And you've got quite an unusual video for Don't Let The Truth Get In The Way. Describe how that came about.


Steve Hill

Well, that was an idea of mine. It's actually the follow-up to the first video, from the new album. The first video was Everything You Got, and it features Johnny Pilgrim. Johnny is an old friend of mine, we wrote some of the songs together and Johnny used to be a video director. He lives in Los Angeles and in the late 80s early 90s he did the videos for Metallica, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Poison. He was back in Canada this summer and hanging out at my place. At some point he was doing this little dance, basically imitating his girlfriend, making fun of his girlfriend. I was like that's the dance I want in the video. If you haven't seen the video, I'm in the background and I'm trying to do a video, but there's a janitor dancing in front of the camera and he's the janitor in there because he's just hilarious.


Ken Wallis

He's quite the character.


Steve Hill

Then I got the idea for the second one, which is basically he gets home after shooting the first video after work, and he opens the TV, has a TV dinner and I'm on basically every channel. I'm a game show host, another one I'm a guitar player, another one I'm a puppet, on another channel I'm a talk show host. He ends up breaking the TV because he can't stand seeing me anymore.


Ken Wallis

Well, I certainly encourage everybody to go on YouTube and watch them because they are really good. Steve this is your 12th album, what keeps you going?


Steve Hill

That's a very good question. This album took a long time to do. It took me basically four years and sometimes they are easy to do, sometimes they are not. There's an album I did in 2009 called The Damage Done and basically it was recorded in four days. It's a great record and I really like the new one which took four years. They're never the same, but once I start a project, I have to finish it. So that's what keeps me going, and basically as soon as I finish something and I have a little bit of time, I start playing guitar again at home and I come up with riffs and ideas for songs. Then I go back to the studio and there's always leftover songs that I haven't finished for the previous record. Every time I start a new record there's always a foundation. There's always something I gotta finish. Once I finish an album there's already other songs that haven't been finished, so I gotta finish the work. It's just a work ethic I guess and I don't know what else I would do, I've been a professional musician since 1993. I started playing clubs when I was 16 and that's basically all I know. Doing shows, making records. I'm getting better I think as a songwriter because it takes a long time to learn how to do all of these things. Right now I'm in my studio and I'm mixing a show that I did in '99 and it's a completely different me.


Ken Wallis

I've seen you perform so many times, it's been a while since I've been able to. Hopefully we'll get to see you soon. Where can folks get a hold of this album?


Steve Hill

It's available everywhere. It's on Amazon, it's on stevehillmusic.com, it's in some record stores and it's on all the digital platforms as well. It's available on CD and vinyl. There's also a comic book, a Dear Illusion comic book and you can also get the hot sauce which has a a QR code that leads you to the album.


Ken Wallis

What's going on for the summer for you? Any major festivals lined up?


Steve Hill

I'm not sure yet. I know I'll have a bunch of festivals. I'm playing basically in Canada until September I'm going out west in April and most of the shows are in Quebec, but then I'm flying to Europe in October and playing a bunch of shows in Europe, in Scandinavia and hopefully a bunch of festivals in North America in 2023 or 2024.


Ken Wallis

Well, I certainly hope so because I want to see you play.Steve, it's been great chatting with you, talk to you soon.





Website: www.stevehillmusic.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/stevehillmusic

Twitter: twitter.com/stevehill

Instagram: www.instagram.com/stevehillmusic




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