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Hey Slugger mixes modern pop-punk with old-time nostalgia (4 photos)

Trying to create an album when you can’t actually perform together presented a unique challenge for members of local band

Local band Hey Slugger is hoping to bring a sense of nostalgia with their new music.

Andrew Salazar, John Miorin, Craig Terzievski, and Jeff Britten make up the pop-punk band, and are set to release their first single Take You Back on Friday, April 9, which like most songs, noted Salazar, a Barrie high school music and religion teacher, is about relationships and life.

The song "was partially written when I came up to it, so my job is to fill in the blanks. Although it’s a new style of music  modern and electric with a punkier sound  it’s got a bit of swing to it,” he said. “I viewed the whole situation of the song through my eyes as someone who is obsessed with a simpler time.

"The '50s and '60s imagery are throughout there and juxtaposes modern-day romanticism and relationships with that simpler time mentality, which right now in the midst of 2021, I think we’re all wishing for," Salazar added. 

Hey Slugger officially got together over the course of 2018, added Miorin, an elementary school music, drama and dance teacher in Alliston, but the four had known each other through the local music scene pretty much since their teenage years.

“We are playing the songs and the music from our youth but with a little maturity, (and) refusing to grow up all that much. We’re just enjoying ourselves,” added Salazar.

All four grew up playing in the local music scene as teenagers.

“A few of us were even in bands together when we were younger,” said Miorin, adding after undergoing several member changes, he and Britten knew they needed to solidify their music and find a permanent singer. “I said Andrew has got to be the guy to do it.”

Miorin got his way, after Salazar moved back to Barrie in the summer of 2018, joining the band shortly thereafter.

“We wanted to start a pop-punk band like the bands that were popular about 20 years ago and that we grew up on  the Blink-182s and New Found Glory-type bands, and then on the underground side of that the Yellowcards, Saves The Day. … We just wanted to play that kind of music because it’s what we grew up on,” said Miorin. “We were noticing now that rappers like Machine Gun Kelly are bringing it back to their music, so we feel like we are hitting at the right time with our music”

As teachers, both Miorin and Salazar are excited to be able to get out from behind the scenes and get to showcase their own talents. 

“Being teachers, and specifically music teachers, we’ve been the coaches for the last few years. Now we get to be the performers.”

Salazar, a classically trained saxophonist, admits the music he plays as a member of Hey Slugger is a far cry from what he teaches and what he is trained in, but he’s always loved getting to go outside the box.

“I did my degree in music. It’s not quite the music we’re playing now, but I am pretty well-rounded in my instrumentation, I play most of the wind and string instruments (and) I’ve been  teaching instrumental band for several years,” he said. “I started off playing different instruments poorly in bands as a youngster and then as I went through high school I decided music was the only thing I wanted to do at the next level.”

Trying to create an album when you can’t actually perform together presented a unique challenge, acknowledged the band mates.

“We were fortunate enough to have these songs jammed out and ready to go before things shut down. Over the last year, we’ve done our parts at our places and sent it along (to Craig), who pieced it all together from a producer’s standpoint,” said Salazar. “It was definitely a steep learning curve for me. I am pretty well versed in the wind instruments (and) can take apart a saxophone and put it back together, but understanding all this technology was a challenge. But we did get it done eventually.”

Hey Slugger already has its second song locked and loaded and are preparing to release it sometime in May. The plan, said Miorin,  is to release a new single every six weeks for the next six months. 

“Hopefully after the last song, everything is kind of back to normal and … we can host a release show of some kind.”

Take You Back is available on streaming platforms ITunes, Amazon Music and Spotify.