Friends of Foes are friendlier than you think

Saskatoon-based quartet has business on their mind and a live show to match

Indie-alt-pop quartet Friends of Foes have declared 2015 to be their building year, and rightfully so. With about 55 shows on the horizon, and one set in Winnipeg - Mar. 7 at the Pyramid Cabaret, we can soon bask in their sonic embrace.

With a sound that mixes soft, iridescent melodies and vocal harmonies with heavier elements like tumbling, pummeling drums, chugging guitar riffs and flowing funk grooves, there’s a good amount of variety that’ll keep any audience captivated.

 While Friends of Foes has been together for almost two years now (with newer bassist Anthony Nickel being part of the group for just over a year), the band has learned a lot in this time.

 The quartet will be touring in support of their first LP, Chronophobic, and their new single and video, “Winter”.

 After sharing the stage with bigger Canadian acts We Are The City, Royal Canoe, Rah Rah, and others, Matt Stinn, manager and guitarist, and bassist Anthony Nickel have picked up some tips.

 “I always make a point of talking with the older bands or the more bigger bands about business. And the one thing that I’ve always picked up is (to) present yourself as you want to be treated. If you present yourself as an actual touring band and you push yourself to that level and make a point of seeking press you make a point of running a business and not just a band,” Stinn explains.

 Stinn has found that this carries over with how the band does its own business and social media: professional portrayal is key for reciprocation and acknowledgment. “I guess we’re seeing that pay off a lot with press coverage, being able to book venues in cities that have previously ignored us.”

 Stinn explains that a majority of the energy that goes into the band is the runaround background work that makes them successful. 

“They always check out your press coverage. And when they hit our press pack and find out we’re 60 articles deep in the last year and a half. All of a sudden people start paying attention,” Stinn says.

 The origins and influences of the band span from metal and punk to jazz and folk to 90’s alternative and pop and beyond. “Everyone always has something unique to offer,” Nickel says.

 Although there are differences in opinion when it comes to making and arranging songs, they’ve found that equal consideration and fulfillment can go a long way.

 “When we listen to the product at the end we know there’s a purpose to it and a reason for everything. There’s always going to be a process but the final product is what matters in the end,” Nickel explains.

 “It’s always important to come to a point where every member is artistically fulfilled,” Stinn says.

 With a sound ranging from elegant refrains to alt-rock grooves there’s a momentum and energy that coincides with bands like Friends of Foes. Stinn says that they play every show like there’s a full house in front of them. “More often than not it is but that doesn’t mean you put any less energy in because those people came out that night.”

“We definitely have a leave-it-all-out-on-the-stage mentality,” he says.

With a mindset like that and a musical passion and repertoire that runs deep, Friends of Foes is set to liven the stage and loosen some limbs come Mar. 7.

Published in Volume 69, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 4, 2015)

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