Absence Makes the Heart Beat Faster is a fitting title for Steve Gardiner’s first album in nearly a decade.
The Ottawa musician is releasing his third full-length solo album after an eight-year hiatus. The record features 12 rock tracks with two bonus club mixes thrown in for good measure.
“I’m just so excited about it; it’s been a while since my last release,” said Gardiner. “There was a big stretch where I didn’t put anything out … I went through a lot of personal changes in those years.
“I had done so much for so long … I just kind of stopped doing it for awhile.”
Gardiner, who was a member of the bands In and Out and Thermocline, started tinkering around at his home recording studio again after helping another Ottawa band with a demo.
“Like any musician, it flows through your blood,” he said. “I kind of really got back into it again … I started writing some songs and it just started taking shape.”
Gardiner spent the next two and a half years writing, recording and producing the tracks with his band – which includes Andrew Lamarche on drums, Dan Joseph on bass and Brent Miller on guitar.
“It’s the first one I’ve done myself,” said Gardiner. “I ran the show. The only thing I didn’t do was mix and master it.”
Working without a record label allowed Gardiner to spend time on each track.
“I’ve been out (of the music scene) for so long; when this comes out it has to be great,” he said about his third album. “We did it on our own time; we did it the way we wanted it to sound.”
Absence Makes the Heart Beat Faster is available online through iTunes and cdbaby.com.
Gardiner said he and the band are rehearsing now for live shows in the new year, including an official launch for the record in February.
“I really believe it’s the best album I’ve done so far,” said Gardiner. “I really want to get out there a promote it.”
He added the band is planning to play as many festivals as possible over the summer.
“I’ll play somebody’s basement if I have to, just to go out and promote the album,” he said.
Hyperactive, the first single released from the album, is about Gardiner’s re-discovery of himself.
“I just kind of felt that it was a heavy enough song; after not doing a record in so long you kind of define what your sound is and where it’s going,” said Gardiner.
Although he enjoys some pop music himself, with so much of it saturating the market Gardiner said it’s an interesting time for rock musicians.
“You kind of go, where does rock sit right now?” he said. “I think there’s a hole right now. Pop is really big but for those hardcore rock lovers, if they want to check out something new and Canadian, I would encourage them to check (the new album) out.”