Waking Hours – Gustavus Student Indie-Rock BandWaking Hours, an Indie-Rock band founded by Liv Hedley, Henry Lundeen-Detisch, Hayden Tourtelotte, and Conor Jolly, creates and performs their music.
Posted on April 3rd, 2024 by

Waking Hours is an Indie-Rock band that writes and performs original music created by Liv Hedley (singer and rhythm guitarist), Henry Lundeen-Detisch (drummer), Hayden Tourtelotte (guitarist), and Conor Jolly (bass guitarist). They recently performed one of their hit songs, Rot, in Las Vegas in a collaboration with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra. All four musicians are current sophomores at Gustavus and are heavily involved in the music department. They plan to continue making music together while balancing life as college students.

Q: How did you get to where you are today in terms of music?
Hayden: I started playing piano when I was five and started playing guitar when I was eight. I took lessons on both for many years. I started playing trumpet at 13 and have been in band ever since and also been playing guitar ever since.

Liv: I started getting into music through a small theater program in my hometown where we did monologues and then I moved up to musical theater where I began singing. At the end of elementary school, I was in the choir and picked the trumpet in 5th grade. Around 7th or 8th grade, I started teaching myself guitar and piano because I wanted to be able to play along while I sang. When I got to high school, I started writing music as I became more proficient with cords and technique on the guitar and piano. I continued with singing, guitar, piano, and trumpet and then came to Gustavus.

Conor: I started playing piano around 1st grade and took lessons on it all through high school. I started playing guitar semi-seriously around 5th or 6th grade but I never really took lessons on that for any length of time until I got to college. I started playing horn in 6th grade band, so I had all those instruments going simultaneously. I got really into writing and recording my own music in high school, which expanded my musical taste quite a bit. Through writing music, I ended up buying a bass because I wanted to play a baseline on a song. I didn’t consider myself a bass before getting to college, I was just someone who owned one, but then JPM asked me to play it on tour and Hayden saw me playing bass and recruited me for the band.

Henry: I grew up in lots of productions because my mom directed musical theater. I always had music around me, and I had big rock influences like the Beatles and The Stones. In 4th grade, I jokingly wrote on my Christmas list that I wanted a drum set because I was just writing things to write things, but my parents actually got me one. So I started playing drums in 4th grade for a while, and then I started listening to actual rock music and playing along to songs. My mom made me do piano lessons as well, but I didn’t enjoy it. My competence with instruments that actually play notes is non-existent. And I’ve been playing drums ever since and I’m also in choir now at Gustavus.

Q: How did you all find each other?
Henry: Liv was in my orientation group so I knew of her from the beginning of my time at Gustavus. We also had a basic knowledge of each other from the Gustavus Choir, so I knew that she made music and wrote lyrics to her own songs and also played guitar. She knew that I played the drums and was also trying to learn the drums at the time. I remember walking through Pitman and Liv caught me and proposed that we start a band together. Around the same time as this, one of my good friends from choir who had prior experience playing guitar and drums, suggested that we create a little cover band. The idea was just to play some well known songs at small gigs here and there. He recruited Hayden and I to that band. Because Hayden said he would only play bass, we needed another guitar player so we recruited Liv. We enjoyed playing covers for a while, but I knew that Liv had made music before and I wanted to make some new songs. So when she played “Rot” for us, which is one of the new songs we actually just released, it just went up from there. My original friend from choir backed away from the new band since he just wanted it to be a cover band, so Liv, Hayden, and I kept on making more music and growing as a band. Hayden started learning more on guitar and we realized that we needed a bass player for the band too, so we recruited Conor because we knew he was amazing at the bass from when he played with GWO. And that’s how it all happened.

Q: To Liv, what got you interested in writing music?
Liv: This is such a weird story actually. In elementary school I was bullied a lot, and one of the girls who bullied me wrote a song for a talent competition in fifth grade. Her song got absolutely torn apart by the principal of our school. Since she was one of the people who bullied me, it was definitely a little satisfying to have happened. Then in middle school, I was learning piano and guitar, and I thought “what if I wrote a song and it was better than the song my bully wrote.” So my first song was created kind of out of spite. But then I really liked doing it and I started using it as an outlet for me to cope with all the things that I was struggling with. It was still just a hobby at that time, but then in 8th grade or 9th grade, I took a recording studio class that taught about songwriting and recording. The first song I recorded was terrible, but it made me realize that I really liked writing music. So I started taking things more seriously and joined more music groups in school. Then I went to a summer semester program at Berklee College of Music in Boston after high school where I was a songwriting major. That’s where I started to learn techniques and strategies for songwriting. After that, I came to Gustavus and continued to do songwriting but decided that I really wanted to make a band here. I wanted to be in a band, make a band, and keep writing quality music. I wanted to be able to have shows as a band, and that’s exactly what happened.

Q: Tell me about your experience collaborating with GWO this semester
Liv: JPM is the reason that I came to Gustavus and he’s acted as my unofficial advisor, helping me through everything. When I came here, he was the only person I knew. I go to him for advice and to show him all the projects I am working on. We were working on our EPs and I was showing him my song “Rot” which I had on it. I remember telling him “I wish I could do this song with an orchestra. I can hear the strings in the background when I listen to it and I wish that was something I could do.” At first he just said that the idea would be really cool to do, but then later on when I was joking about having GWO perform “Rot” on tour, he told me he actually wanted to do it. He told me to have Conor help me compose a preliminary score to have the band play through during rehearsal. It was around the same time that Conor joined the band and he just jumped right in the arranging process with me. We brought a first draft to JPM and he really liked it and told us to keep working on it. GWO was able to play through our first draft before break, but then we worked all through the break to make it even better. JPM pretty much committed to doing the collaboration before we had even shown him a finished version of the arrangement. Without even officially telling us, he even announced the collaboration to the band. But in the end, we were able to create a few more arrangements before the final one. Everyone in GWO was amazingly helpful too. They left little notes on their music for us to use as feedback to improve the parts that we had made. When we took the piece on tour, it was incredible and the high school students we played for especially liked it.

Q: What is your favorite part of the Gustavus music program?
Henry: My favorite part about Gustavus, which also goes in hand with the Fine Arts, is the fact that the communities that you find yourself in are so supportive. They’re very accepting of all people and I feel like, specifically in the Gustavus Choir, the people that I have met there have become some of my best friends. The music making process helps create that tight knit community that’s really incredible.
Hayden: The camaraderie and community in GWO has been unexpected but my favorite aspect of my college experience. Also the way that the Fine Arts department has supported and given resources for Waking Hours was a big thing for me.
Liv: The community is very important to me and it really reaches outside the ensembles. There are people from all of the groups I am involved in that I can talk to around campus. It makes my day to be able to have those experiences with people, especially because I don’t have a lot of close friends on campus. Being from Connecticut, I didn’t come to school knowing anyone, so having those close connections really reminds me that I do have a community. The general support from the school has also been very impactful and it’s so refreshing to have people excited about what you’re doing. The people in the CIE let us have concerts there and are always excited to have us perform, and the Fine Arts office, JPM, and Dr. Dean have all been incredible to us. In other places, we would probably be treated like kids with just an unrealistic dream, but here, it’s really nice to feel like people are taking us seriously.
Conor: In addition to the community aspect, I feel like there is a really unique level of musical freedom here compared to a lot of other places. Take the GWO tour for example. I don’t know a lot of other concert bands that would go on tour and play a video game score, an indie rock song, and a song with an electric guitar. We’re not just doing classical music. Similarly, I am also in the jazz department here and Dave is super supportive of students going off and doing their own musical things. We’re not even a jazz band and he’s been super supportive of what we’ve been trying to accomplish. He’s given us a lot of the resources we need to record our music like a room in the music building, and access to microphones. In addition to running the jazz combos, where he puts a strong emphasis on student freedom, he also encourages us to start our own groups. So I just started a jazz sextet with some friends to play some original music which has been really fun. Gustavus is very focused on the student musical experience and giving students the opportunity to have a variety of musical experiences, rather than other schools that might have excellent music groups, but that play the same music as everybody else.

Q: What advice would you give students who have musical passions but don’t know what the next steps are?
Henry: Go for it! A lot of what I’ve run into, in my head, while being with this band is thinking about what to do after college. I’m a Biology and Environmental Studies major and I have to do research and look for internships which is a lot. But I will always have a place for drumming because that’s my biggest passion. So I’d say, if your passion is big enough, then you always have to have a place for it, no matter what you do academically.
Liv: In terms of starting a band, starting a small group, or even just trying to find people to share a passion for music with, joining musical groups to get connections is really what matters. Also not being afraid to ask people to do things with you is important. It can be nerve wracking if you’re scared of them saying no, but it’s also not the end of the world if they do. Who knows, you might meet someone who’s been wanting to do something like that also, but they haven’t found people to do that with yet either. After being in this band, when I went home, I learned about so many people that play music that I didn’t realize shared a similar passion with me. At some point when I went home I proposed having a jam session in my basement for people to come and play together for fun. A lot of people were actually really interested in the idea and came over to play, and it was all because I reached out. That was all I had to do.
Conor: You need to sometimes fight to make the time and space for music in your life. Being a music education major, it will be my job to do music in the future, but it won’t be my job to do music like this. There are very different sides to music, so I have to fight in my day to make time to be in a rock band and in a jazz fusion group, because that’s not my degree. My degree involves music theory four and education classes. So you really need to push for that, and it might not always work, and you might also start something and have it not turn into anything either. You just need to continuously fight for the music and make space for it in your life because it won’t necessarily just happen.

Q: Where do you see the band in the coming years?
Henry: We have reached out to play as many gigs as we can in the future. I know we have talked about putting together an album but I think for the near future, the plan is to just keep making more music together.
Liv: We have a lot ahead of us. We’ve applied for a lot of festivals over the summer and we auditioned for the Tiny Desk contest through NPR, so we’re putting ourselves out there a lot so that at least while we’re in college together, we’ve got things coming. As for after college, we will see what happens. Once senior year comes around, we’ll have a better idea of where we will be going in the world and we’ll see how it goes. Right now, we have three new songs that we’re going to put out as singles. We were very graciously given space to record in the music building by Dave Stamps, so for now, we will continue composing and recording together.


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