Area Resident is the music of Doug Hempstead -- an Ottawa-based multi-instrumentalist.
A journalist for more than two decades, Hempstead draws heavily on the varied and often darkly humorous subjects from his career. There are Area Resident songs which explore things like the man who was convicted of stealing gold pucks from the Royal Canadian Mint by smuggling them out in his bum, a rural Western Quebec bad date which ended in a high speed chase where the suspect was detained thank to the efforts of a swarm of angry bees, Ottawa's giant sinkhole which permanently imprisoned a locksmith's van -- now encased in thousands of pounds of subterranean concrete, and even an ode to the tragic demise of Wendell the Wallaby who escaped his petting zoo enclosure during an early winter storm.
Hempstead records most of the tracks at home and shares them with collaborator/producer Jordon Zadorozny (Blinker The Star), a life-long friend. Zadorozny provides overdubs, mixing and final production.
What's a bit odd about the process is the songs are never written before they are recorded. Hempstead has ADHD and finds the songwriting process more enjoyable, fruitful and expedient to just see what develops -- usually trying to start each song with a different instrument to keep the sound varied and as band-like as possible.
Since the beginning in 2016, Area Resident has opened for Guided By Voices at Ottawa Bluesfest, and been a featured performer at Megaphono, Barnstorm and CityFolk Marvest festivals. Past collaborators have included Zadorozny, Miche Jette (Flecton Big Sky), John Higney (The Flaps, The Two-Minute Miracles), Dave Merritt (Golden Seals), Chris Church, Thomas Marolda (The Toms), Dave Draves (Little Bullhorn Studio) and Catriona Sturton.
Hempstead has put out seven Area Resident albums since 2016, all of them enjoying college and community radio chart success -- the most impressive of which being within the Nation's Capital.