There’s something downright hypnotic – in a good way – about Victoria-based band Isobel Trigger’s single Dust and Bones from their debut EP Nocturnal.
The truly bright spot of the tune is lead singer Felicia Harding’s compelling, strong and expressive vocals – washing over an edgy, guitar-driven pop/rock foundation.
Ultimately, the results are outstanding – as they are with the remainder of the project. Cuts like Tiger Shark and Sugar Cube, just to name a couple, showcase the band’s utterly unique approach to crafting polished pop tunes. Local audiences will be able to check out what the band fully offers during a City stop at The Vat on April 11th.
With their international remix competitions, national tours and stream of single releases, this band, rounded out by guitarist Brett Faulkner, drummer Ariel Tseng and bassist Ryan Salmond, shows no signs of slowing down.
Harding certainly comes by her musical chops naturally. Her mom’s parents were both opera singers, for one thing. And growing up, there was always music playing around the house.
“My dad had a huge record collection, and he was in a band when he was younger,” she recalls. Heard about the house were such classic groups as the Rolling Stones, the Eagles, the Beatles.
In fact, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band provided lots of fun, lip-syncing and dancing sessions, she laughs. “There was also Elvis, Michael Jackson and the Doors. My dad was always playing music, and my parents would have parties with the record player on. Music has always been something that I’ve enjoyed.”
Harding also took piano lessons during those years and was also given her first guitar at 14. Vocal studies came along later. “I studied voice and I absolutely loved it. It’s become a career to me in that I now teach voice lessons, too.”
As she grew older, a career in music just seemed like the natural course to take. She also loved to travel, so taking her music on the road seemed the ideal choice.
“I also had a real passion for communication, for languages. I love having long conversations with people.”
As for the band, it initially took shape several years ago with a debut CD, Island, released in 2009. As time passed, members came and went until the dynamite line-up that comprises the band today was formed. “We’ve evolved so much, we don’t even recognize ourselves anymore,” she adds with a laugh. Not that it’s an easy process to find a group that connects and clicks so well. “It’s not easy to find those people who really share your vision and who you work well with.
“But we’ve come to this point of having this really excellent cocktail of musicians.”
After the band’s debut tour in 2014, Isobel Trigger is headed back across Canada this spring. The band is gearing up to share their aforementioned EP Nocturnal – released last August – with fans while embarking their largest tour yet.
Making a round trip from B.C. to Quebec, Isobel Trigger will be performing at some of the country’s most coveted venues, including a showcase at Toronto’s Canadian Music Week on May 7th.
Nocturnal was produced by Ryan Worsley and Adam Sutherland, and features five tunes that combine haunting vocals, dance beats and catchy guitar riffs. The band’s sound has been described as ‘indie dance rock,’ ‘power pop’ and the ‘soundtrack to an alien abduction.’
“We stayed up really late and worked really hard,” she explains, referring to the CD’s moniker and themes of nightlife. Recording was a fabulous experience too, with each of the artists bringing strong ideas to the table. “It was really exciting to see these songs come to life.
“Sometimes it’s a real challenge because a producer might really say, ‘With this particular song, I’m just not feeling it.’ And you are. They might want to change a part that you’re really attached to. So you have to step back, try to look at it objectively and decide what you aren’t really attached to. Where are you willing to compromise?”
And in celebration of their third single Champion, the band launched its third DJ remix competition, giving artists the opportunity to run wild with this track.
Receiving an overwhelming response of submissions, the band honoured the top 10 submissions with a public vote. Blending the intensity of Harding’s voice with build-ups and a thumping bass, DJ Funked Up Brother was crowned the champion in this contest.
This remix isn’t the last piece of new music fans will hear from the band this spring. With the closing of the Champion DJ competition, Isobel Trigger has announced their newest single Carry On with the release of its video as well.
Meanwhile, there is nothing quite like hitting the stage to boost one’s spirits and spark those creative fires. “Every once in a while you have to perform, and you might be feeling terrible. In one particular case, I had a bad flu going on.” She went on and gave it all she had. “I started to sing the songs, and I started feeling a lot better.”
Ah, the power of music to heal and energize. “There was this amazing transformation – I was able to give it my all.
“The reward is so great – to share this art you have worked so hard on. And to see others appreciate it. Nothing else compares to that, or can fulfill me in that way.”