It’s quite a marvel that Hard Ticket even exists – Jonny Cowabunga, Mopey Dyke, Nicole Squires, and Meg “Scrambled Meggz” Harnum seem to barely take a break between band practices with their many projects like Bad Plan, Jonny and the Cowabungas, Second Base, Pap Pap and The Mudflowers. Despite the many musical commitments, plus the typical sleep-eat-work-rinse and repeat cycle, Hard Ticket perseveres.
“We just make time,” Squires said with a laugh. “We have a set day to jam, so that makes it easier,” she explained. “9-12 every Sunday,” Dyke added. “After the first three or four jams, we had an album and we were a band.”
As for the band’s birth, Dyke took responsibility. “I guess it was me. I started writing songs when I first moved out. Initially they were all sad, folky bullshit. Nothing wrong with folk – it’s just not my thing,” he laughed.
“Eventually, I turned it into a more simplistic thing. I didn’t want to make it too complicated … I don’t really play guitar. I just learned bar chords and that’s how it started,” Dyke said. “I was talking to Jonny about starting a band,” he explained. “I knew I wanted Nicole on bass but I had no idea who to get for a drummer. Meggz just fell from the sky, a total drunk angel.”
“Buy My Bed”
The last time Hard Ticket spoke to The Overcast was in December 2015, when the band released their first single, Buy My Bed. At the time, Dyke described the band as “rock-pop.” Revisiting the genre-defining question, Squires and Dyke exchanged glances and sighs before answering. “Jangle pop?” Dyke asked uncertainly.
“Jonny makes it jangly,” Squires interjected. “It’s a garage, pop-rock sort of thing.” To give virgin ears an idea of the eargasm they’re in for, Hard Ticket noted that they draw from bands such as NYC rockers The Babies and “sunny-pop” sister duo Bleached, just to name a couple of Dyke’s main influences.
Hard Ticket played their first show at a Smash Patriarchy: An Action Team (SPAAT) show on October 6, 2015 at the Levee.
“That was such a good first show, because everyone was just so stoked to be there. People kept coming up to say that it was ‘so much fun.’ That’s what I hear the most, that it was ‘fun,’” Dyke said. “It makes my heart swell every time when someone new, someone I’ve never talked to before, says ‘That was a great set! Your vocals were great!’” Squires added. “I’m just starting to learn how to sing and play at the same time, so when somebody says that, it’s like, ‘Aaaah! It’s working!’”
For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to take in a Hard Ticket show or for all of you ex-pats on the mainland, don’t fret. Hard Ticket’s debut album Tuff Cookie, recorded by Jake Nicoll, will be digitally released on March 5. Hard copies, likely in cassette form, are in the works, the band said.
The music, like the band name, is a taste of the talent oozing out of the motherland. “Hard Ticket was something that my uncle used to always call me when I was a kid. It’s kind of endearing – to me at least. Some people may find it offensive,” Dyke said with a laugh. “I just liked it. And then I wanted to name the album Tuff Cookie. Hard Ticket, Tuff Cookie. It goes together well.”
For all you hard tickets out there, you’ve got under a week to steal some milk for your Tuff Cookies. Check out Hard Ticket at www.hardticket.bandcamp.com/releases.
(Photo credit: Fear of the Dark Photography (cropped))