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Hille on the 'Bedlam!' music video shoot, 2006.
August 11, 1968 |
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|Genres||Indie rock, experimental, baroque pop, art rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, composer|
|Instruments||Vocals, tenor guitar, piano, accordion, keyboards, banjo|
|Associated acts||The Fits, Duplex!|
Veda Hille was born in 1968 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She started playing piano when she was six at her own insistence. Her family moved around a lot, from the city to the country and back again. Veda ran around in the woods and the streets, practiced piano, read books and used her Junior Scientist Microscope.
First she played classical music. Then came pop music, and a few years of jazz. There was the ill-fated year as an inept lounge musician. She attended art school studying sculpture, film, and performance art. Veda began writing music in 1990.
She put out an indie cassette, 'Songs About People and Buildings', in 1992. People liked it and she started playing around town. She slowly started the business of touring Canada, and also began a long relationship with the Canadian modern dance scene. In 1994 she released her first CD, 'Path of a Body', and has released an album roughly every 18 months since then. By the time she started working with her current band (assembled in 1997) she was regularly touring Canada, the US, and Germany.
Veda plays piano and tenor guitar, dabbles in banjo, accordion, and protocols, and has a new love affair going on with a nord electro keyboard and a handful of casios. She writes about the natural world, the trickiness of love, the constant threat of tragedy, as well as very Vancouver subjects such as the late painter Emily Carr ('Here Is A Picture') and the missing women of the Downtown Eastside ('Return of the Kildeer's 'Liza Jane').
Veda is also a member of two new bands: Duplex! (rock music for kids) and The Fits (vaudeville duets). She continues to make her own records, and does so in cahoots with Ape Records, run by XTC’s Andy Partridge. Veda is now the in-house composer for Theatre Replacement and collaborates with them on at least one show per year. She recently scored Bonnie Sherr Klein’s new NFB film Shameless: The ART of Disability, and has been producing records for other musicians as well. The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver commissioned part of the writing of Veda's next album, 'This Riot Life', which was released in 2008.
Since 1997 Veda has been working with Martin Walton (bass, lap steel, ukulele), Ford Pier (guitar, organ, French Horn), Peggy Lee (cello), and Barry Mirochnick (drums, xylophone, singing saw, whatever happens to be lying around). She has recently added Patsy Klein (vocals, flute) to the mix. These people have toured and recorded together in various formations, playing hundreds of shows and festivals and have collaborated on five records.
Field Study has a specially designed formal show for small theatres and art spaces. In 2000 Veda commissioned Vancouver video artist Shawn Chappelle to make a 50-minute video that accompanies the music from Field Study. The video, constructed from footage shot in the northern landscapes of Canada, is projected on a large screen behind Veda as she plays the music on a grand piano.
Veda performs solo on tenor guitar, piano, and assorted keyboards. She plays a survey of her own work as well as a few covers.
- Songs about people and buildings (1992); independent cassette; out of print.
- Path of a body (1994); Veda’s first full-length CD made with Stephen Nikleva, Steve Lazin, and Martin Walton
- Spine (1996); Veda’s dark pop record. Made with a fine cast of Canadian musicians.
- Live at Women in (E)Motion (1997); a document of two performances in Bremen, Germany
- Here is a picture (Songs for E Carr) (1998); a song cycle about the Canadian painter Emily Carr. Commissioned by Mascall Dance as the score for their choreography "The Brutal Telling". All the lyrics on the record were taken from Ms. Carr's journals, letters, and published writings.
- You do not live in this world alone (1999); an epic band recording. A collection of fairy tales for adults.
- Field Study (2001); A solo album of songs about science and nature. Half of the album is entitled 'Yukon Suite', written about a 3-week journey to the Canadian territory.
- Silver (2002); song cycle written for the Vancouver Folk Music Festival's 25th anniversary. Performed live July 20, 2002, with video by Shawn Chappelle and many guests. Made as a limited edition of 500, out of print. Hille re-released each track one at a time on her official website in 2007.
- Auditorium (2002); live recording of Veda and her band and guests, taken from two nights at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.
- Escape Songs (2004); minimalist computer manipulated album of tiny songs, made with Christof Migone, at yearly meetings in their homes between 2000 and 2004.
- Return of the Kildeer (2005); with guests Dan Goldman, Nick Krgovich and Larissa Loyva of P:ano, John Millard, Patsy Klein, Kim Barlow, Suzie Ungerleider, Cam Giroux, Ford Pier, Brian Traver-Smith, Ida Nilsen, Barry Mirochnick, Selina Martin and Christine Duncan. Hille's first release on Ape Records, helmed by Andy Partridge.
- This Riot Life (2008); released in Canada March 9, 2008, released worldwide in May 2008. Studio recording with a full band. Composed mainly around edited Christian hymns, and reflecting on personal tragedy. The song 'Oh, Come On!' is composed entirely of the first lines of hymns. This album was on the long-list for the 2008 Polaris Prize. The instrumental section in "Lucklucky" uses the melody from an earlier song, "Where Am I From?" Two other songs, "The Laboratory" and "Song of the Moldau," were also recorded as part of the project, but were dropped from the CD at the last minute despite forming part of the live shows associated with the album.
- Do You Want What I Have Got? (2009); a small independent release, a collection of songs from 3 different theatre pieces Hille scored: "Do You Want What I Have Got?: A Craigslist Cantata", "Yu-Fo" (both directed by Amiel Gladstone) and "The Raft of the Medusa" aka "Bone In Her Teeth". They are all live recordings.
- The Fits
- "Wayward" (1995) with Cate Friesen
- "A Recent Future" (1995) with James Keelaghan
- "Silence" (1996) with Tara MacLean
- "Brandspankin'" (1997) with Michael O'Connell
- "While You Slept" (1997) with Andy Stochansky
- "Johnstown" (1999) with Oh Susanna
- "Live for Today" (2000) piano with Kelsie Olivia Love
- When It's Dark And It's Summer (2002), album with P:ano
- The Den (2004), album with P:ano
- Champ (2007), album with Kim Barlow
- Piano and accompanying vocals on Dan Mangan's song The Indie Queens Are Waiting (2009)