With a change of lead singer, Saskatoon-based band Friends of Foes hopes to show both students and the city their new sound. The band sat down with the Sheaf to share behind-the-scenes stories and musings about their sound and their newest single, “4Walls.”
The band first started when guitarist Matt Stinn and drummer Keegan Stretch formed a youthful pop-punk band together. When the original band stopped practicing, Stinn and Stretch continued with their music, transitioned genres and started Friends of Foes. The band has now performed with many other artists including Royal Canoe, We Are the City, Rah Rah and Zerbin.
In 2016, the band experienced another change with a new lead singer, Danielle Huot. The band toured with Huot this past summer, but for those who couldn’t attend a show, their new single is the first time you’ll hear the band with a new voice.
“‘4Walls’ was a really fun song to write because we started by making fun of ‘Hotline Bling.’ It started with us mumbling into the microphones and messing around, and we stumbled into the opening rhythm for ‘4Walls,’” Stinn said.
Stinn describes the single as dark and ambient — the mood of the song is very dark and the sound is uniquely echoic.
“There is a lot of space. Since our last EP and moving into our new music, we are really focusing as hard as we can on arrangements. For example, asking ourselves is it the right part or just a cool part? In a lot of cases, this means physically playing less. ‘4Walls’ started with guitar chords from the beginning, but we trimmed it down to a single note repeated because that was the right part,” Stinn said.
The band says “4Walls” is their best song so far in terms of writing, content and production. Stretch describes the song in three words: “It’s so good!”
The Canadian music scene has been significant for this band — according to them, every city has its own local scene and local sound. Saskatoon has a very diverse and a very dense scene, and organizations like Creative Saskatchewan provide grants that help bands get access to different opportunities. Friends of Foes attribute some of their success in being able to tour and record to the help that these grants provide.
Creative Saskatchewan is a provincial crown agency that works in artistic industries such as music, screen-based media, visual arts, book publishing, live performance and digital media. The goal of the organization is to support collaboration, entrepreneurial capacity and innovation.
When Friends of Foes was asked what advice they would give aspiring young artists, the band says planning is key. Ensuring you plan at least six months into the future is important because a lack of planning can hold bands back. They also added it’s important not to get discouraged if you play a show to a very small crowd and to keep trying to get your music out there.
“Ideas are just wishes unless you actually act on them,” Stinn said.
“4Walls” will be released on Nov. 18 and because it’s their first single with Huot, the band considers this to be like a re-debut of their music. With some of the band members being U of S alumni, students are bound to resonate with their sound and it’s definitely worth the time to check them out.
Friends of Foes will be performing at the Capitol Music Club on Nov. 26 with Slow Down Molasses and Autopilot. Advance tickets are $10, whereas tickets at the door will be $12. The event is 19+ and doors open at 9 p.m.
Photo: Friends of Foes / Supplied