In 2013, Leigh had an idea – an alternative metal band with modern metal, nu-metal, hard rock, southern rock, and grunge influences. In the dark, retro-styled basement of a businessman he met on Kijiji, he started House of Pines.
In 2015, Leigh found new drummer Jon and bassist Andrew (who is always referred to by Leigh and Jon by his last name), and they practice in Leigh’s basement. Strange time signatures, brutal distortion, low-frequency drone, soaring clear vocals and odd lyrics take shape each time the band plays one of Edmonton’s local venues.
Leigh’s simple symbol, which he designed when he was fourteen years old, represents – as Leigh would put it, “nothing, actually – the symbol has been used by me over the years for a few different things. But now, it is between meanings, other than to provide a juxtaposition from the name of the band itself – and make people wonder, why would House of Pines have a simple, industrial-looking logo? Shouldn’t there be some trees in there?”
The name of the band itself refers to a house that Leigh spent much of his childhood in – surrounded by pine trees. To this day, he has many recurring dreams of this house, and the symbolism that the pine trees have continues to be powerful. “Many things happened in that house, good, bad, joyful, and disparaging,” Leigh said. “It was 10 years that formed who I am. I would not be the same person today without those memories.”
Leigh started his music career on saxophone: first, alto, then, soprano. His choice of baritone guitar was to make up for years of higher frequencies. On saxophone, he played in an elite jazz band and a quartet that focused on eccentric classical music. Then, in 2003, he bought two guitars. Not long after, he discovered the magic of heavy string gauge and down-tuning. Having ceased playing saxophone, music was sparse until 2010, when he starting writing and performing original pieces, and frequenting open mics in the Edmonton capital region. He was struck down by a repetitive strain injury that took years of physiotherapy to bring under control but eventually, in 2013, he started House of Pines. Leigh’s influences are and continue to be: Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, Korn, the Deftones, Earshot, Fuel, Crossfade, Tool, Train, and Vertical Horizon, among many others.
Andrew’s fixation with music began at a young age, with William Lee Golden’s Louisiana Red Dirt Highway. Fast forward over over twenty years later and after one year of playing violin in elementary school and a short stint with handbells in junior high, his musical tastes have evolved considerably. Everything from Taylor Swift to Periphery to Skrillex is fair game, but progressive metal is his genre of choice. After growing bored with Rockband, Andrew and Jon decided to make the switch to real instruments half way through University. The bass seemed a natural choice, given it’s ability to drive the feel of a song from the background. After being recommended by Jon for an audition, he joined House of Pines in June 2015. His musical influences include Eagle Eye Cherry, Muse, Alter Bridge, Karnivool, The Killers, Kamelot, Mobile, and Manic Bloom.
Jon is the one who can never sit still – whether playing air-drums on the bus, or annoying friends and family with improvised fills. After a brief stint of guitar and piano, he tried the drums and was immediately in love. Joining in January 2015, House of Pines is the first and only band he’s been a part of. When he isn’t behind the kit, he helps with the mixing and mastering, video processing and maintaining the website. He also writes electronica-style music in the few spare hours he can find outside of practice. His favorite genres include alternative rock and many forms of metal. His musical influences include Kamelot, Edenbridge, Stratovarius, The Silversun Pickups, The Killers, Delain and Amberian Dawn.