Oh the Stars Are Shining For Kitchener's Hugo Alley

Oh the Stars is a fitting title for Hugo Alley's first song, because the stars are exactly what they’re shooting for.

The Kitchener-based band - comprised of drummer Jordan Osz, lead vocalist Aaron Cornish, bassist Travis Fiander, and Guitarists Viktor Yakovlev and Owen Tester - has only officially been together for about six months. Despite that, they’re already making noise.

Their debut came in the form of a five-song EP, Therapy, which hit streaming services on April 16, just five months after their first jam session.

Therapy introduces you to the band’s emotional side. 

“A lot of the context of a lot of the songs are – they’re looking at like emotional issues and kind of getting past them and getting over that kind of thing so in a way their concepts are therapeutic,” says Yakovlev.

The rest of the band was quick to agree, expanding on the thought process behind the naming the EP.

“A lot of it stems from the lyrics being more about the sad, emotional issues and then if you listened to the actual instrumentals of it, they’re more upbeat,” says Cornish.

 Photo: Peter Swart

Photo: Peter Swart

Yakovlev was the one to start the ball rolling on the first night that the first three members met.  It was himself, Osz and Cornish at their first official jam session and he told the guys a story that turned into their first single.

“The first song we ever wrote was Oh the Stars, and the story behind it is that I was hanging out with a family friend who was older and kind of going through a divorce and some of the midlife crisis kind of things and they were sort of having like an existential crisis where they were like what’s the point of waking up and all that,” says Yakovlev. “We were sitting in the backyard and they sat back and got distracted for a second and were like: ‘Oh the stars, they look lovely.’”

Cornish loved the story and immediately got to work on the lyrics.

“What I took away from his story was that moment where she looked up and she was away from her problems,” says Cornish. “The whole song is basically about sort of letting yourself go and not kind of retreating into yourself.”

The group is far from one-dimensional though. The emotional writing on Therapy is just one of their many sides.

“I don’t think that all songs need to have like a deep meaning, like we have a song that we’re in the process of writing about a dog and it means nothing - it’s like tattoos, sometimes they mean something and sometimes they don’t," says Yakovlev. "Sometimes it’s just art,”

The group is focused on finding their sound which requires them to continue to get to know each other and try new things with their music.

“We don’t only want to use guitars and amps, we want to get bass in there, we want to get synths in there, we want to get some weird stuff in there, at least I do,” says Yakovlev to a chorus of ‘oh yeah,’ from his band-mates.

“We really want to have a point of interest, something quirky that you’ll remember,” says Osz.

While they find that quirk they’re continuing to improve on what they’ve already got.

“Where we’re at now, we’re releasing content and we’re getting feedback, we’re seeing what actually fits with us,” says Yakovlev.

They’ve got some songs in the works for an album they’re hoping to release some time next year, but until then they’ll be playing as many shows as possible to get their name out there.

You can catch them next at the Summer Lights Festival on June 9th in downtown Kitchener where they’ll be performing a full acoustic set.