Artist Spotlight: Dilemma Season

Long-term solo artist Scott Hardy recently released his first full-band record

Scott Hardy, the artist behind Dilemma Season, has been writing as a solo musician for years. (Alyssa Laube)

Between finding the right session artists to fill out the sound, planning out a record alone, and constantly cranking out content, chasing success as a solo musician can be extremely taxing.

This is the way that Scott Hardy, a Vancouver singer-songwriter who has been contributing to the scene for years, has been living since he first stepped foot on a stage. And while he admits that it’s a challenge, he knows it’s a rewarding one.

With only a classical guitar and his voice, Hardy was long trapped in the “folk singer” box, and only recently has his clambering to escape that label been successful. On his new record, Epidemic Suggestion, he experiments with styles in his writing and production that listeners had never heard from him before. Rock, country, and indie influences are sprinkled throughout the eclectic record, with the only audible constants being his voice and the warmth and quality of the record’s production.

“When I first started, I had no gear at all. I had no amps, no cables, no pedals, nothing. I was a travelling folk singer type, just with an acoustic guitar, and I was doing the open mic circuit around town,” he says. “You can’t really communicate a rock n’ roll song so much with an acoustic guitar, so after a few years I just decided to step back [from that style].”

He says that he spent a sizable portion of his life saving money for the record in to hire the session musicians he needed, choose a producer, pay for studio time, and get the entire album ready to be sold. When it came to actually working in a professional studio, however, Hardy was a first-timer. Because of this, he says that recording was “definitely a steep learning curve.”

“Because I’m a solo artist, I’ve developed this very percussive style of playing guitar. I do a lot of palm muting and I’m integrating the percussion and the bass with the guitar,” he says. “Once you’re doing that in the studio where you already have the drums and you already have the bass, it gets a little conflicting.”

He thanks his producer, Andy Schichter, for urging him to fix this issue, adding, “It sounded a lot cleaner once I started to separate the parts.”

Schichter is in a band called Echo Nebraska and has worked as an assistant engineer with popular folk band The Decemberists. The drummer on Hardy’s record, Jarret Plett, is in a well-known busking group called Sons of Granville that plays on Granville Street downtown.

Despite having to quickly adapt to being in a studio environment for the first time, Hardy is proud of his record and himself for being able to “let it go” and release it to the public.

“I’m an unhealthy perfectionist and for me to get to a point where I actually felt that the song was perfect, it might have never happened. There’s always something else you want to redo,” he says. “But it’s a whole. It’s not a collection of 10 singles. It’s not a greatest hits collection. It’s not a concept album, but it’s tied together in the sense that there’s purpose to listening to the whole thing beginning to end.”

Hardy hasn’t played any shows since releasing Epidemic Suggestion as he’s focusing on promoting the record and working as a chef, but hopes to start performing on stage again soon.

“What I’m hoping is that, if the music starts to get more press attention and other musicians recognize it as a serious effort, they might want to come on as backing musicians,” he says, noting that he’s looking for “dreamers” to join his project in the near future.

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