Formation, first EP and first European tour (2006–2007)
Your Favorite Enemies is a Montreal rock band formed in 2006 by Alex Foster (vocals), Jeff Beaulieu (guitar), Sef (guitar), Ben Lemelin (bass), Miss Isabel (keyboard), and Charles “Moose” Allicie (drums). From the very first moment of the band’s creation, the sextet decided to resolutely manage every aspect of the band’s career based on their community values and their dedicated “do it yourself” ethos. Influenced by the likes of Sonic Youth, Fugazi, The Cure, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, and Mars Volta, the band’s distinctive blend of dirty and polished type of dissonant sonic textures along with their introspective poetry and symbolist type of lyrical approach quickly gathered fanatics from all over the world. These devoted fans immediately started promoting Your Favorite Enemies through the creation of different street teams and fan communities.
Faithful to their profound “DIY” beliefs, the band members decided to establish the foundation of their very own record label, called Hopeful Tragedy Records, in April 2007 in order to offer the self-produced EP And If I Was To Die In the Morning… Would I Still Be Sleeping With You. Available in June of that year, the EP sold more than 30,000 units within the first months of its release, landing the band a first European promotional headlining tour. They got to perform in cities such as London, Paris, Berlin, and Cologne. Your Favorite Enemies had interviews and reviews in Amnesty International’s French and Dutch publications, as well as radio interviews on Talksport radio (UK) and the Rock One Mag (France).
Love Is A Promise Whispering Goodbye, Final Fantasy and YFE-TV (2008)
2008 started with Your Favorite Enemies being mentioned as “one of the top 5 Canadian acts burning their way to International stardom” by the Billboard Magazine. On June 1, 2008, the band released their second album, Love Is A Promise Whispering Goodbye, which sold over 60,000 copies.
That same year, the band embarked on their first Japanese tour alongside Simple Plan, where they played in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya. While performing in venues, the band was also reviewed in popular media including InRock Magazine, Grindhouse Magazine, and WeROCKCity. That tour attracted the attention of video game composer Takeharu Ishimoto who wanted to work with the band to arrange, write lyrics for, and perform three songs on the soundtrack for Dissidia: Final Fantasy, including the theme song. The game’s soundtrack soon reached the 50 best-sellers charts on iTunes in Japan. Your Favorite Enemies has been interviewed on the music channel Musique Plus and received multiple press coverage (La Presse, Journal de Montréal, La Relève, Cyberpresse, Showbizz.net), following their international success.
It is also that year that the band added a multi-media section to their label Hopeful Tragedy Records, the YFE-TV, allowing them to broadcast and stream a wide variety of contents.
Studio acquisition and Bla Bla Bla: The Live Show (2009–2010)
Your Favorite Enemies acquired in 2009 a former catholic church in Drummondville that they turned into a professional recording studio, and where facilities for live streams over the web, a full TV plateau, the offices of their label and non-profit organization promoting human rights and helping kids through music has been set up. The band members took this opportunity to take some time away from the spotlight, as an opportunity to establish the necessary infrastructures for what was coming up.
At the end of 2010, Your Favorite Enemies launched their own talk-show, called the Bla Bla Bla: The Live Show, as the first episode aired online on December 10, 2010. The show aims to cover news from the band, their lifestyle, upcoming releases and tours, and new merchandise releases. As of the 4th edition, on June 26, 2011, the show is broadcast live in English and in French on the same day, a few hours apart. The reruns are of every edition is made available a week after the live broadcast, and are also available with Japanese subtitles.
Hope Project, Touring China & Love Is A Promise Whispering Goodbye (Deluxe & Remastered) (2011)
On March 11, 2011, the Northeast coast of Japan was hit by one of the most destructive earthquakes and tsunamis ever registered in the country’s modern history. Following this news, Your Favorite Enemies responded to those strikes through the launching of The Hope Project. In this project the band invited everyone to send messages of support, empathy, and encouragement, that will be delivered to survivors as personal postcards, in partnership with the Red Cross and numerous schools worldwide. The project has already received several hundreds of messages in six languages. The international press, for example Billboard and USA Today, are supporting this initiative, while sharing the news through the traditional press as well as through their various networks on the web. The Hope Project would be revealed on May 25, 2011, when the band members visited a shelter for survivors of the tsunami in the city of Minami Sanriku, in the prefecture of Miyagi, in Japan. This project was accompanied by a benefit tour in Japan. Titled Arisen From Despairs, A Morning Of All Hope, the tour brought the band in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, where they have been interviewed by the Yomiuri, one of the five national newspapers in Japan, and received multitude of press coverage (Billboard, La Presse, CANOE, Hollywood PQ, La Seigneurie). While in Kyoto, the band played at the historic Otagi Nenbutsu-ji, thus becoming the first international band to do so. This experience became the object of a DVD released in January 2012, Running Through The Rain of Estrangement… Catching Pure Drops of Diamond Bliss.
In April and May 2011, Your Favorite Enemies toured across the country of China on a tour called The Rising Youth Of The Dragon Land, playing the MIDI and ZEBRA festivals, as well as performing in clubs and venues in different cities. Known for their active support for such organizations as AIDS charity (RED) and for being long-time spokespersons for Amnesty International, the band was said to be “one of the most controversial band to ever play in China”. The band was featured as the “Artist of the Week” in Billboard Magazine and received multiple local (The Beijinger, China.Org.Cn, This Town Touring, CNNGO, Shanghai Daily, Shanghai Global Times, GoChengdoo), and international (Billboard, ORANGE, La Presse) press coverage.
On June 28, 2011, the band released a deluxe and remastered version of their album Love Is A Promise Whispering Goodbye, with unreleased tracks, live versions, and exclusive videos, accompanied by an extensive series of 10 video interviews answering fans’ questions about the album, its context, its contents, and its meaning.
Vague Souvenir and Sacred Kind of Whispers (2012–2013)
Early in 2012, Your Favorite Enemies started the production of an acoustic project called Vague Souvenir. The first single off the album, Turn The Dirt Over, a cover from artist Sea Wolf. Released on July 31, the album contains 14 exclusive tracks that include poetry, spoken-words, songs from the early years of the band, and covers from artists that have inspired the band. The album received the best welcome of all of Your Favorite Enemies’ albums to date, and has been explained in details in a special series of blogs called From A Spark To A Song. The album has been completely self-produced and has been recorded in the church the band acquired in 2009.
This album also gave birth to Sacred Kind of Whispers, album released only on vinyl, that contains 4 original songs of the band, 3 of which are on Vague Souvenir, and 5 spoken-words poems in French, one of which is exclusive to the vinyl. The vinyl has been released on June 7, 2013.
Between Illness And Migration (2013–present)
Your Favorite Enemies finished the recording of their album “Between Illness And Migration” in early January. Mixed by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, The Kills, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile, Turbonegro, Bob Dylan) at Fluxivity Studio in New York City. Agnello says the album goes “from totally raging to mellow, include a lot of sonic guitars and different layers, with some of the songs being epic journeys. Prog rock, noise rock & early emo sounding, the album reminds of Sonic Youth, Mars Volta, and Smashing Pumpkins”. Faithful to their DIY ethos, the band decided to release the album on different dates in different markets, with unique track listings and artworks for every release. Thus, Between Illness And Migration has first been released in Japan on March 20, 2013, through King Records. Long awaited by fans in Japan, the album has been well received in Japan, and put the album amongst the featured artists for weeks in Tower Records.
On July 8, 2013, Your Favorite Enemies released the EP Youthful Dreams of an Old Empire exclusively in the UK. The 3-track EP, a prequel to the release of the full-length album Between Illness And Migration, has been well received by critics all over the country. AltSounds said of the EP that it “showcases their blend of alternative, shoegazer, new prog, and brooding noise rock, in places reminiscent of The Raveonettes and Crocodiles and lyrically influenced by bands like The Clash, The Ramones, and The Cure amongst others”. With Guitars claimed that “the band have stoked this debut release. There really is not much to separate out a lead track”, while Louder Than War compared Your Favorite Enemies to Nickelback, saying that the former are “light years better”. The band also received positive reviews from Sound Revolution.
On September 6, 2013, the band released the Australian version of their album Between Illness And Migration. The album received 4 out of 5 stars by The Sydney Morning Herald, saying that Your Favorite Enemies were “experienced and talented enough to make music that swells and moves and keeps you enthralled, this band, with demagogue Alex Foster at the helm, enjoys taking its audience on a journey. The positive, energetic, oceanic work, with its expansive guitars and pounding drums, and Foster’s inquisitive, probing and poetically emotive vocals, shows musicians maintaining their form while riding out on some kind of edge”. In support of the release of the Australian version of Between Illness And Migration, Your Favorite Enemies embarked on their first Australian tour on September 7, 2013, and have been featured artists at Brisbane’s Big Sound Festival. Named More Than Noise And Make-Believes, the tour extended from Australia to Japan, first appearance of the band in the country since the release of the album earlier that year.
In October, the band was invited to London by Kerrang! for a photo-shoot and 2 private concerts, following which the band has been named “Canada’s best-kept secret”. The single I Just Want You To Know has also been named as one of the “top 5 songs to melt your ears”.
2014 debuted with an extensive tour for Your Favorite Enemies. After playing at the MIDEM in Cannes, France, the band embarked on a UK tour called From Upper Room To Higher Sky, that brought them all over England and Scotland twice, playing in venues such as King Tuts, The Barfly, The Thekla, and The Esquires
The France-exclusive EP Entre Marées Et Autres Ressacs has been released on April 22, 2014. Featuring a unique artwork, the EP contains 5 tracks and had been made available on the band’s online store in limited number, resulting in the EP being sold out in less than 2 weeks. Still available digitally, Entre Marées Et Autres Ressacs has seen positive reviews from numerous French webzine, amongst them Muzzart, Metalland, and Obskure Mag.
On April 20, one month before its official release, the album Between Illness And Migration has been made available for pre-order on iTunes, including a bonus song and video interview of the band. The album peaked at #2 in the iTunes chart on the day of its release, May 20, between Coldplay and The Black Keys. In the first week of its release, the album was also #6 top-selling artists in Canadian charts, which granted the band the title of “best-selling artist of the week” at HMV and Archambault. With expansive guitar textures and an intricate, art-rock production gloss, paired with a strong sociopolitical lyrical slant, this album is said to be the band’s most potent offering yet. The release of the album and its position in Canadian charts garnered a pleiad of articles in newspapers, such as Le Journal de Montreal, La Presse, L’Express de Drummondville. The band also appeared on various TV shows to talk about their newly released album, notably on CTV Ottawa Morning Live, MusiquePlus, and Radio-Canada.
The song I Just Want You To Know, first Canadian single off Between Illness And Migration, started spinning on Montreal-based rock radio CHOM-FM in April, and was chosen by Slaves on Dope’s Jason Rockman as “Big Shiny New Song of the Week” on April 21. The song was quickly added to the station’s rotation, playing as often as once a day. The band was also welcomed in the studios of the station for a live performance and interview with The Rockman. The official video clip for the song has also been added to the rotation on MuchMusic and MusiquePlus.
The album “Between Illness And Migration” has also been reviewed by Kerrang! and given 4K out of 5, stating that “blending poetically-crafted lyrics with empowering melodies, Between Illness And Migration takes us on a mesmerising journey, which tells a story of a band who are strong advocates of community values”.
Between Illness And Migration has also been nominated at the Juno Awards 2015 for “Rock Album of the Year”, alongside Sam Roberts, Arkells, The Glorious Sons and Big Wreck.
Announcing their next opus, the music video for the song 1-2-3 (One Step Away), earned an exclusive worldwide premiere on the website of Kerrang! Magazine, prior to its officially release on March 18, 2016.
On June 17, 2016, Your Favorite Enemies released Tokyo Sessions, a new interpretation of their previous album, Between Illness And Migration. The deluxe edition includes re-imagined version of all 12 tracks from the original album, along with radio edits of the singles “1-2-3 (One Step Away),” “A View From Within,” “I Just Want You To Know,” and “Where Did We Lose Each Other” as bonus tracks. The album made its debut in the 6th position of the Soundscan sales in Canada. It also made a huge splash on iTunes, where the album made a top 5 debut in 4 categories, hitting #4 in overall album sales, #2 on the Rock chart, #3 on the Alternative chart, and #2 among Canadian releases.