Saskatoon-based band Friends of Foes are looking toward their first release and breaking through the local music scene.
Comprised of four members, the band acts like a bit of an all-star team from other local bands with Come Hell & High Water’s Matt Stinn and Keegan Strech on guitar and drums respectively, University of Saskatchewan Jazz Ensemble and prolific band member Nevin Buehler on bass and Celeste Nicholson, in her first outing with a backing band, on vocals.
They all came together on the project through Stinn, who had a particular style of band that he wanted to bring together.
“Keegan was kind of no brainer when it came to the project for me,” Stinn said. “We’re in a band together and when it came to a new style and project he was who I went to.”
“I’m also the only person he knows so there’s that,” Stretch jabbed.
Through Stinn’s musical connections he brought Nicholson in, whom he had played shows with before, and Buehler, whom he played with in the U of S jazz band.
The band recently hopped into the recording studio and made a full length album that is set to release on New Year’s Eve.
Getting the album done was a challenge all on its own, as Nicholson and Buehler are both full time students while Stretch and Stinn each work full-time at the Saskatoon music academy.
However, the project seemed to come together naturally and was a labour of love for all involved.
“Well, I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this is the best band we’ve ever been in, it really feels that we have a chemistry,” Stinn said.
“I’ve never been in a band before, so yeah,” Nicholson chimed in.
When checking out their single, “Control,” it’s clear that they are finding their own unique sound. Beginning with a faint plucking of the guitar and sweetly sung lyrics from Nicholson, the song quickly builds into a flurry of sounds and vocal distortion. The band hits on all cylinders as they toy with the pacing, so when the chorus comes around it leaves a lasting impression.
The video released alongside “Control” documents the band’s time in the recording studio, showing them getting a little stir-crazy while producing and deciding what songs make the cut.
There is no sole songwriter in Friends of Foes; everything the band does is a collaborative effort where different members will come up with parts for other instruments.
Time played a huge part not only in the recording process but for concept of the album as well. At first the group just wanted to put together a strong set of songs that leave a lasting impression on the listener, but as things progressed a cohesive concept for the album developed.
“We can think that a song would be looking back on something and [the listener] would think this is the future,” Nicholson explained.
Friends of Foes has big plans for the future, with a Boxing Day album release show at Vangelis and some small weekend tours early next year.
“At the end of the night, even if we’re not headlining I want to be the band that’s remembered. It sounds kind of childish, but I want to know I went out there and beat the other bands,” Stinn said.
Photo: Supplied by Friends of Foes