The Hidden Cameras
|Origin||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Genres||Indie pop, indie rock, alternative rock, baroque pop, queercore|
|Labels||Arts & Crafts, Outside Music, Rough Trade|
Michael Peter Olsen
The Hidden Cameras are a Canadian indie pop band. Fronted by singer-songwriter Joel Gibb, the band consists of a varying roster of musicians who play what Gibb once described as "gay church folk music". Their live performances have been elaborate, high-energy shows, featuring go-go dancers in balaclavas, a choir, and a string section.
The band's first album, Ecce Homo, was released independently in 2001 on EvilEvil. It was after this first release that Gibb assembled a band and they began to perform in venues varying from art galleries to churches to porn theatres to parks. Since these early days The Hidden Cameras have played host to a number of notable musicians, including Reg Vermue, Owen Pallett, Laura Barrett, Don Kerr, Magali Meagher (of The Phonemes), Mike Olsen (of the Arcade Fire) and Maggie MacDonald.
In 2004, they released their third album, Mississauga Goddam, on Rough Trade and also on EvilEvil in Canada. Their EP, The Arms of His 'Ill, was released by California label Absolutely Kosher Records in the same year, and features jacket art specially created by Paul P. and G.B. Jones. In November 2005, the band collaborated with Toronto Dance Theatre on the show In the Boneyard at the Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Ontario. Dancers joined the band throughout the show, playing instruments, and the band performed on-stage in costume.
Three of the songs from Mississauga Goddam, namely "We Oh We", "I Believe in the Good of Life" (a rerecorded version of the same song from the first album), and "Builds the Bone", are featured in the Canadian motion picture Whole New Thing. "We Oh We" is also featured on the soundtrack of the German film Sommersturm (Summer Storm).
Awoo, their 2006 recording was released on Rough Trade in Europe, EvilEvil in Canada and, in the U.S., on the Arts & Crafts label. The Hidden Cameras' song "Boys of Melody" is featured on the soundtrack of the John Cameron Mitchell film Shortbus, which premiered in 2006. The Hidden Cameras song "Lollipop" is the theme song for the G.B. Jones film The Lollipop Generation from 2008, which Joel Gibb also appears in. Also that year, they performed in a Take-Away Show video session shot by Vincent Moon.
Their fifth album, Origin:Orphan, was mastered in May 2009. The music video for "In the NA", a song from this album, was screened at the 19th Annual Inside Out Film and Video Festival. The album was released on 22 September 2009.
Five songs from the Origin:Orphan album were redone by electronic pop band from Barcelona Hidrogenesse and released under the name of Hidrogenesse versus The Hidden Cameras in May 2010. Also a video for "He Falls to Me" was done by Darío Peña.
In 2011, they recorded a cover of Mecca Normal's "Throw Silver" for the compilation album Have Not Been the Same - Vol. 1: Too Cool to Live, Too Smart to Die.
In 2013, the band appeared on two compilation albums from the Arts & Crafts record label. The song "Mind, Matter and Waste", originally a B-side from their 2009 "In the NA" single, appeared on Arts & Crafts: 2003-2013 and garnered airplay on CBC Radio 3, and the band collaborated with Snowblink on a cover of Duran Duran's "The Chauffeur" for Arts & Crafts: X.
The band's new album Age was released in January 2014. The lead single "Gay Goth Scene" was released in July, 2013. The video for the single was directed by Kai Stänicke, who received the "Short Film Award for Human Rights" at San Marino International Film Festival awards, "Tadgell's Bluebell Honor Award", being named "Best Short Film About/For Youth" at the 16th Auburn International Film Festival for Children and Young Adults in Sydney, Australia, and best German short at the International Queer Film Festival Hamburg, Germany.
Home On Native Land released on Outside Music was written and recorded over ten years by Gibb with friends, bandmates and icons including Rufus Wainwright, Feist, Neil Tennant, Bahamas, Ron Sexsmith and Mary Margaret O'Hara. Gibb once again assembles a band of musical accomplices and takes them on an adventure in revisionist history,forming a chorus of voices over a score of dulcet tones and twanging rock. The album makes new offers to the Canadiana genre with infectious melodies ("Big Blue") and wild hymns ("Drunk Dancer's Waltz"),overarched by Gibbs' trademark, honeyed vocals and sighing guitars. His talents as a songwriter and composer remain undimmed, his on point lyrics oozing with hopefulness, joy and sorrow.
Alongside several new compositions, 'Home On Native Land' also borrows from the classic country songbook, reimagining soulful standards like "Dark End of the Street," and "Don't Make Promises" originally recorded by Tim Hardin. "Log Driver's Waltz" is a cover of one of the most successful and beloved Canadian folk songs of all time. On "He is the Boss of Me" Gibb turns the tables and covers himself, giving a classic Hidden Cameras song a proper studio recording, transforming it from an early 4 track demo from 2001debut EP 'Ecce Homo'.