Spotlight #9 – Interview: Friends of Foes

Canadian alternative band Friends of Foes have been working hard to prove just why they’re in our spotlight this month. With a brilliant debut release under their belt, a new single already, and more material and tours on the way, it’s easy to see why this band deserve their growing recognition. Recently we spoke to guitarist Matt Stinn about the band’s future, their new single Winter, and more!

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Describe your music for new listeners.
Friends of Foes is best summed up as an amalgamation of so many completely, and often opposite, musical influences and opinions. Coming from very diverse backgrounds, each member adds a truly distinct flavour to the overall sound and lends to the uniqueness of the band.

How did the band form?
The band came to form in early 2013 after I started writing some guitars riffs that didn’t quite fit in with the punk band I was playing in at the time. After some collaboration with Keegan Stretch (drums), we brought in Celeste Nicholson (vocals) and later Tony Nickel (bass) to complete the band.

You’ve come a long way in such a short time. What’s the best thing you’ve learned about the whole process?
To simply expect nothing and always push for more. Playing in a touring band often means you can play shows in cities you’ve never been before that range from 15-100 in attendance. Expecting nothing and simply working as hard as you can helps make nights like that much easier to handle and simply see as growing pains while we push the band farther and harder.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given by another band?
Play every show like it’s a hometown crowd in a sold-out venue. Simply put, you can’t expect people to feel passionately about your music if you don’t. We constantly strive to put on an interesting show and keep the crowd involved and excited.

Name some records you’ve been listening to lately.
I personally have been on a Radiohead binge as of late (‘In Rainbows’ to be exact). I first heard them six or seven years back and wasn’t really into their sound. After re-visiting them a few months ago however, I’ve gained a new found appreciation for the band and even been finding influence for my own writing.

What are your favourite kinds of venues to play?
Our best shows seem to always take place in the indie/alternative venue-style bars around Canada. We consistently find warm crowds and a comfortable, music friendly atmosphere.

Describe a typical day in the life on tour.
Typically, upon arriving in whatever city we’re playing in, we always find a pub, bar or restaurant to grab a beer, have a meal, and unwind. If we find ourselves with spare time before load-in, we often just walk the streets around the venue and explore the city a bit. Occasionally we will find ourselves day-drinking and riding roller coasters. Every day’s a wild card with us.

If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Brixton Academy has always been on my dream list of venues, but simply touring in Europe would be a dream come true for us.

What’s your favourite song to play live?
My current live favourite would have to be our new single Winter. Crowds seem to be very receptive to the song and I even catch people singing along with us.

Tell us a bit about your new track, Winter.
Winter was released as a stop-gap single/video roughly 10 months after our debut album was released. We wrote Winter in the wake of our album’s release and had the opportunity to record it in early 2014 with our long-time producer and engineer, Jordan Smith. We then sat on the track for a number of months until we shot the video for it and planned the appropriate release.

What was the best part about filming the music video for it?
Shooting the video for Winter was a true DIY adventure for the band. In the early stages of planning the shoot, myself and filmmaker Morgan Carter developed the concept and brainstormed how we could work within the confines of a very limited budget. After prepping for the shoot (including a 3 hour night of hand-cutting confetti) we set dates to film and thought all would go well. To our dismay, our first two dates were rained out, so we bumped filming by almost a month. After finally having a long two days of filming we called it a wrap and were extremely pleased with the fruits of our efforts. We wrapped up filming on my birthday in July and ended the day with beers and food on the rooftop deck of a local pub. That feeling of accomplishment was by far the best part of filming.

What’s in the future for Friends of Foes?
Friends of Foes has plans to tour Canada much more extensively in 2015 including two full tours, as well as multiple weekend runs and a few weeks in the studio. Early 2016 will see the release of a new EP as well as many more tour dates.

Alex
A professional behind the scenes string-puller, in her spare time Alex is usually found spending all of her money in record stores or rocking out at shows. Pop punk is her true calling, peppered with a healthy dose of tv show marathons, and lots of iced tea.

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