Hailing from the heart of the Saskatchewan prairies, Friends of Foes indeed ‘hit their listeners with a roaring wall of sonic talent’ is their bio so strikingly puts it. They perform Aug. 8th at Fratters Speakeasy.
From gentle melodies to full on ‘audio assaults’, the heavy drum lines and harmony-laden choruses mix with power.
Having already shared the stage with some of Canada’s best bands, topping numerous ‘Best Of’ lists with their debut Chronophobic, Friends of Foes is described as a relentlessly hard working band set on carving a name for themselves in Canadian music through endless touring and a powerful press presence, said Matt Stinn.
Rounding out the band are Anthony Nickel, Celeste Nicholson and Keegan Stretch.
Each member comes with a knack for various styles of music, and it’s that element that really sets Friends of Foes apart. Nicholson’s vocal stylings perfectly match the eclectic nature of the band’s overall sound as well.
“I would say my musical influence largely comes from my brother and sister who got me into music for the most part,” said Stretch, adding he started playing drums when he was about 14. Influences over the years run the gamut from the Smashing Pumpkins to Dave Grohl. “Those were my influences early on – it changes as I have come to appreciate smaller, more diverse (artists).”
Nickel landed his first guitar when he was in his early teens. He also went on to learn bass during his high school years as well. “I eventually got into jazz bands, and that’s when I really started expanding my horizons.
“I kept playing jazz music, I kept playing guitar and I actually ended up playing in a few metal bands as well after high school.” He began playing stand-up bass about three years ago, and ultimately his talents led to a spot with Friends of Foes.
“I think it’s really about seeing the product come from all of the work you put into it,” he explains of the innate joys of creating music. “It’s one of the most satisfying things.
“I think recording, as well, is really life-changing where you can see the process of the work you have put into all of these songs after months and months and months,” he said. “Listening to them played back to you in their final form is a really, really rewarding feeling. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever done in my life.”
Meanwhile, Chronophobic was largely born from collaboration amongst the group on virtually every level. Songs tend to grow from sessions of just exploring various sounds, melodies and lyrical ideas. “Sometimes we will sit there for four or five hours and just hammer out a song.”
Stretch agreed. “It’s also inspiring to create something you know can touch people, and that people can relate to – something people can appreciate that you have made.” A single statement from a fan on how the group’s music has affected them in some personal way makes it all worth while. “That really means the world to us.” And again, the band is proud of their sound which incorporates shades of several musical sensibilities.
“People have told us more than once they can tell we all come from different musical backgrounds.”
Looking ahead, the band is excited about the current tour which takes them to Vancouver and all points in between. They are also anticipating the release of an EP early next year.
“The whole point of this tour is to get connected to some cities we’ve never had a chance to play before. The plan is to come back and do some more touring in early 2016 for a possible release of the EP.”