On the cusp of releasing their superb new CD to the masses, Saskatoon-based band Friends of Foes heads to The Krossing on Oct. 18th.
Set for release on Oct. 12th, State Of Mind is an indie-alternative triumph that showcases a solid connection of rhythms and tones. Things get off to a compelling start with Sharks, and then wade into the engaging, upbeat Lucky Penny featuring the sunlit, crystal clear vocals of Danielle Huot.
Rounding out the band are guitarist Matt Stinn and drummer Keegan Stretch.
Forever Yours takes things in another sonic direction, featuring Huot’s ever-entrancing vocal strengths. The delightfully mellow Montreal is one of those image-laden tunes – it drifts along with a kind of dream-like saunter.
No wonder the product shimmers – the album was mixed by S.J. Kardash and mastered by Trevor Case (Kelly Clarkson, Missy Elliot).
But the skills of Huot, Stinn and Stretch continue to grow as they break new ground in their journey as a tight-knit group formed back in 2013.
“We always kind of approached State of Mind with the mandate of let’s put out the best product that we can but also, let’s do it in the quickest timeline that we can,” explained Stinn. It was vital to speedily release new material that featured Huot, and to also get the cuts out there that brightly reflected where the band is at today, he added.
“I did underestimate the amount of emotional energy and time that was going to go into it,” he said with a laugh.
That also stemmed from the fact that the band self-recorded and self-produced the project, so they didn’t have the luxury of having the ‘mediating’ influence of a producer to help move things along.
“With this record, it was the three of us 100 per cent hands-on.”
Stretch said the members have always gone into the writing process with the idea that the best idea is the one that’s going to win out. “That’s the mentality that went into the recording,” he explained, referring to the band’s commitment to working collaboratively. All told, the recording process was intense – about 250 hours of recorded material piled up over about four months. To top it off, all three have full-time jobs to balance as well.
“Primarily, I wanted to ‘top’ ourselves,” said Stretch. “To be able to prove that we could do what we did before, but better. I also think that a good strong album is really diverse. I think it has a lot of range, and I think that’s something we also managed to achieve with this album. It feels like a lot of different songs that seem to have sort of a string running through them to connect them.”
Meanwhile, both Stinn and Stretch dove into the musical world fairly early, but from different vantage points.
Stinn was stuck taking piano lessons for years, loathed it, and couldn’t quit as his folks didn’t allow him to drop it.
But thankfully he did find the guitar, and today, as a professional musician, an owner of a local music studio and a music teacher, does admit there must have been something to those endless years of piano that had something of an impact on where he’s at today – a life filled with music.
For Stretch, he’s been told that his passion for the drums began early.
“Music was always an important thing to me. My brother and sister really got me into it, and I’ve always been playing with other musicians. So when I was about 14, I went from wanting to do sports to wanting to do music.”
Ultimately, both men coudn’t imagine a more fulfilling path.
“Truly for me, writing and playing music is just my favourite thing to do above anything else,” said Stretch. “I just get a lot of personal satisfaction out of this.”
Stinn agreed. “Even when you are having the worst show ever, there is probably a point in that show where you are still just having the best time of your life,” he said. “It’s great.”