For those of you who might have missed the emergence of this excellent Montreal-based band in 2014, you’ve got to take a catch up session! These Tokyo Sessions (available exclusively on the band’s website) are the deluxe version (16 titles) of their first album “Between Illness and Migration”, released in 2015. And it’s the kind of album that leaves a mark! Led by an inferno rhythm, the work brings the listener in the eye of the storm, in the heart of a tornado of saturated guitars where melodies and languages, French sometimes appearing around the corner, answer each other. The writing is way ahead, paving the roads; the compositions lead us in lands yet unknown. Intense and raging, the work reaches heights not often frequented since the disbandment of At the Drive-In. An album that is dense, moved by an impressive underlying tension.
Must-listens: “1-2-3”, “Empire of Sorrows”, “Anyone”.
Your Favorite Enemies guitarist is constantly pushing the comfort zone
By Jon Liebman
April 11, 2017
Growing up in Montreal, Stephane “Sef” Lemelin developed a passion for music as he took a liking to Testament, Iron Maiden, Metallica and other metal bands of the day. “I was so amazed by the intensity of the music at that time,” he says. “It was so raw and pure and it was a way for me to express myself.”
Sef is best known for his guitar work in Your Favorite Enemies, an alternative rock band he co-formed in 2006 with vocalist Alex Foster, guitarist Jeff Beaulieu, keyboardist Miss Isabel, drummer Charles “Moose” Allicie and Sef’s brother, bassist Ben Lemelin.
Since day one, the band members have made a priority of managing every aspect of YFE’s career to reflect their own values and beliefs, among which are human rights activities, Amnesty International efforts and using music to help children.
The band’s self-produced albums and EPs, including Between Illness and Migration and If I Was to Die in the Morning… Would I Still Be Sleeping with You, were released on the band’s own label, Hopeful Tragedy Records.
In 2009, the band acquired a former Catholic church in Drummondville, about an hour-and-a-half outside Montreal, and converted it into a full-service recording studio. They launched their own talk show, Bla Bla Bla: The Live Show in 2010, which covers band news, tour and merchandise information and other relevant YFE goings on.
Your Favorite Enemies has been cited by Billboard magazine as a band “to watch.” They have delighted audiences throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia and were a part of the 2015 Juno Awards when Between Illness And Migration was nominated for “Rock Album of the Year.”
FGPO’s Jon Liebman caught up with Sef at the Tech 21 booth at the 2017 winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA.
As you can see in some of the pictures, we have the crazy privilege of living in a former catholic church that we turned into our own professional studio a couple of years ago. It’s pretty much the band’s headquarters, as we also have our own record label offices, a video production department and full merch facilities in the church. Most of us live there as well… let’s just say it’s noisy for all sorts of reasons! But it’s an incredible kind of trippy experience in all possible ways.
How long have you been a musician? How did you get into it in the first place?
I started playing music in the early ‘90s, almost by accident. I was the typical loner who wasn’t really into sports and didn’t quite fit with the cool kids – portray the ultimate hipster look in a world where hipsters didn’t exist! Music was pretty much my thing. I was an avid listener of everything that music channels could feed me with. I never really envisioned playing any instrument, even if I was coming from a highly musical family. Since home wasn’t a very empowering environment, it was like I was another furniture… until one of my brothers lent me a cheap tape of what was a Metallica mix of live bootleg songs and what is now considered their old school stuff. That moment has been a game changer for me. It just hit me, really.
The sounds… the intensity… it was like a hurricane screaming to my face “GET YOUR SHIT OUT… BE!” So, not only was I amazed to realize that music can give you such a profound way to express yourself, but that it could be done without any filters, without having to be nice and clean. With music, I found a place where I could exist without the limitation of the reality I felt being a total stranger to. And for the very first time, the introverted kid teachers used to say would become an honorary member of a loser town found something to live for.
I asked for an electric guitar but ended up with my father’s old acoustic Gretsch. I had lessons from a guy who was into Kenny Rogers, Toto, and some other irrelevant crap compared to the heavy stuff I was into. It didn’t take long that I started begging again for an electric guitar, an amp, and the holy grail: a distortion pedal… the BOSS Metal Zone MT-2! This was the first pedal I’ve ever had.
Who have been some of your major musical influences, past or present?
I grew up with heavy bands, but at one point, I needed that force to have some nuances as well. I found The Edge having a huge influence on me. It wasn’t his band as much as him, the guitar player… The way he created landscapes and the melodies out of nothing, the way he was expressing himself in a very simple way sometimes sounded heavier than most of the bands I was devoted to. He’s a really soulful and heartfelt musician and artist!
Alex, singer in Your Favorite Enemies and a good friend of mine, later introduced me to post-punk, noise rock, experimental rock and shoegaze music. I hated it all at first! To me, it felt like they couldn’t play their instruments! And then he challenged me to give it a try! The heavy metal mullet that still secretly lived deep inside my soul was totally blown away! Well, after being completely humiliated by the fact that I was not only incapable to play what first sounded like shit, but I wasn’t able to freaking understand any of it! It became a little obsession of my own to discover even more about it (but I didn’t tell Alex about it at first!)
Now, I can say that Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Nels Cline (Wilco), Warren Ellis (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), Ed O’Brien and Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) are the guys I’m really into. I’m not denying my roots, and I’m not one to say that one guy or genre is better than another. But all those guys inspired me to think “outside the box” in a very liberating way, pretty much like John Frusciante had an impact on me in the “just feel it” type of way music should be played. At least, that’s how I see it now!
What drew you to using pedals initially? Have you been using them throughout your playing career? How have pedals helped to shape your sound, or influence the style that you’ve created?
Before going completely crazy (and I mean getting all my friends and bandmates go nuts with me constantly talking about pedals), I was more “minimalist”. It wasn’t about being a purist or playing a game. For me, a statement ain’t about what you see, it’s about the guts you have to express yourself as you feel it. I didn’t have the courage to say much at the time… it was more about being loud! I still am today, but with more gear!
My brother Ben (the band’s bass player) and Jeff (the band’s other guitar player) are always into sounds. They’re at the service of the vibe and feel. They came back one day with a few pedals they found at a very cool store called Moog Audio in Montreal. They had a few pedals from companies I had never heard of. I couldn’t understand why those would be needed, what could be made out of them. Until I plugged them. What I heard was like a lightning strike made of nuclear protons and a zombie apocalypse. The morning after, in secret, I was in front of the Moog Audio store with a coffee in hand. I came back almost 2 days later with Catalinbread, Carl Martin, Bad Cat, Mad Professor, Homebrew Electronics, Mid-Fi Electronics, ZVEX. I wanted to try everything. And once I tried everything, I wanted everything! It was excessive and totally immature, but it was like walking in Disneyland holding Mickey’s hand!
What I discovered was way beyond pedal companies and wasting serious cash on all those little wonderful boxes of wonders! It was all the possibilities I had in front of me to craft the sounds I could hear in my head, the tools I needed to express the emotions I had inside and never could before. It was a personal experience, something as defining as when I first played an electric guitar and almost blew my amps once I hit the Metal Zone pedal! It was WOW.
If you were to ask my friends and bandmates, I admit it, I’m still overly obsessed with pedals! And I’m probably responsible for a lot of the prescriptions they take and ear plugs they use, especially when they’re stuck in a van or a bus right beside me! But hey, blame Alex, Ben and Jeff! It’s their fault if I’m always looking to find different ways of expressing myself now!
What’s your current setup look like? Take us through your pedal rig (feel free to include amps and instruments as well if you’d like):
Alright, the serious stuff now! The ES-8 from BOSS is really my management system for all my pedals. All my pedals are connected to it! I can change the pedal orders with it, do parallel routing, control my TimeLine and BigSky from Strymon and my DD-500 from BOSS via MIDI (Sending MIDI Clock, Program Change, #CC). I have an internal expression pedal in it and so much more! Working with this switcher pushed back my limits!
This is my setup:
Tuner BOSS TU-2
Ernie Ball Volume Pedal
Loop 1: Mad Pro Compressor
Loop 2: ZVEX Fuzz Factory and Catalinbread Ottava Magus
Loop 3: Mad Pro Sky Blue Overdrive
Loop 4: Homebrew Electronics Big D and Mid-Fi Clari(not)
Loop 5: Homebrew Wah, Whammy, Tech 21 Roto Choir
Loop 6: Homebrew Frost Bite, ZVEX Ring Tone, Mid-Fi Pitch Pirate
Loop 7: Boss DD-500 and Boss Slicer
Loop 8: TimeLine and BigSky from Strymon
Vol. Loop: Durham Electronics Sex Drive
I also have the Thunderverb 200 and Custom Shop 50 from Orange, Fender Silverface Twin Reverb 1969, Savage Glas 30 and Schatten 19 head, Vox AC30CC2X and AC15HW head, Skyraider from Mack Amps. We usually run the different heads in the Orange PPC412HP8. I like running two amps at the same time, one stack head/cabinet 4×12″ and one combo 2×12″.
We have a ridiculous number of guitars… This is Alex’s obsession (what’s the problem with singers always wanting to be guitar players?!) We have more Fender guitars than I can truly remember, quite a few Duesenberg models, one of which is a signature for Your Favorite Enemies, several Gibson, a couple of Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Scott Walker, and probably a few more! Alex will be disappointed that I didn’t remember them all! My drug of choice is Fender. I’m a Jazzmaster and Jaguar devotee! And in all the completely ridiculous choices I have, my main guitars are the Fender Jazzmaster Thurston Moore Signature and a Jaguar ’62 re-issue. That’s what I play with every day.
Favorite type of pedal (drive, delay, fuzz, etc. – more than one answer is always acceptable!):
I can’t name them all? You should know that pedals are like kids; you have to tell them that you love them all the same, that you don’t have any favorite. But I’ll try and respect the rules this time!
Every effect pedal has its own sonic personality and its own special textures or features, and since you can mix them together, it is often the combination of pedals that gives something special and creates a totally new realm of possibilities… But because I have to choose, I’m a huge fan of delay and reverb! Those effects have the ability to create dreamy landscapes, to add some insane noises, special rhythmic and to turn a simple note into something so unique that it’s on a full scale of emotions in itself.
You’re stranded on a desert island – which three (3) of the following do you want to have? Instruments: Fender Jazzmaster Thurston Moore Amps: You allow me to bring only one pedal, so I would bring the Thunderverb 200 to be able to have overdrive and distortion! Pedals: BigSky from Strymon
*Note: I hate those one-item-only-each type of cruel desert island questions!*
What’s up next for you/your band(s)?
I’m flying with Alex and Jeff to the NAMM show! We have been invited by Roland and BOSS to be part of the event! I will be doing a clinic at the BOSS booth. We’ll be back in studio to work on Your Favorite Enemies’ upcoming album after that, and I’m overly excited about it!
The Klon hype: Love it or Hate it?
Some friends asked me about it, so I was curious to try it. But whatever the debate, the trend or the buzz about it, at the end of the day, it’s not about being interested in investing $1,500 or more for an overdrive pedal. No offense to anyone, but we’re in an era where there are so many amazing pedals coming from really ingenious, smart and passionate people. And if a $5 pedal allows me to express myself, than that’s the pedal I need. I guess it’s not the best way to get myself a free Klon… so let’s see if receiving one might change my mind!
Any last comments, promos or anything you’d like to talk about?
First of all, I want to thank you for offering me the opportunity to share my passion for music and gear. That pure kind of passion is really what matters to me. It’s not about the brands or the logos, it’s what makes you want to take the chance to share emotions or whatever might be important to you. It’s not about streaming and download, it’s about life in its simplest expressions… so thanks for that!
Please feel free to drop me a line on my personal Facebook, Your Favorite Enemies’ band page or whatever platform you are into. I love discovering other people’s rig and knowing the reasons that make them do it. It’s always a real pleasure to share this passion with you guys.
If you want to see my stuff, I also did a tutorial video series concerning the ES-8 Switching System and DD-500 from BOSS. You can see my whole footboard set up in the series on YouTube.
ALBUM REVIEW: BIAM: Tokyo Sessions – Your Favorite Enemies
YOUR FAVORITE ENEMIES have delved deep into themselves to release a new incarnation of their Between Illness and Migration record, Deluxe: Tokyo Sessions, is a new interpretation of the album, with some additional new material.
The aim for this album, it seems, is to create an album that no matter where you come from, creed, colour and ethnicity is merely a forgotten formality the moment you hear this album. Its blend of musical styles all spear headed with an alt-rock sensibility has given the album conviction in its purpose. Regardless of preference, there is something for everyone to take from this, the various interpretations of the music has created an umbrella message in a sense, a unity through individuality if you will.
The compositions themselves are heavily melody driven, even on heavier tracks like Where Did We Lose Each Other, the focus remains on melody. The main factors that push this release to another level seems to stem from its foray into progressive territories, the depth and construction of the music shows a band very in tune with themselves, each other and their audience, at times bordering close musically to Kaleidoscope and in other occasions bordering on the side of Placebo, the diversity of this band is equalled only by their talent and their vision.
For the most part the lyricism throughout the album is poetic, a composition in their own right, adding more reasons to listen to this album countless times, with every listen, comes something new and mind expanding.
As Alex Foster proclaims in I Just Want You to Know, ‘We’re so much more than noise’, and nothing more could be true for this band and album, not one aspect of this album is noise or unnecessary in any sense. YOUR FAVORITE ENEMIES may not be a household name yet, but with messages as profound as the ones contained in this album, it won’t be long until they are.
Your Favorite Enemies ahead of Drake and Beyoncé
The Quebec band reach the first position in the iTunes Canada charts.
With no commercial radio playing their music, the Quebec band Your Favorite Enemies made it to the top of the charts on iTunes Canada with its latest album, ahead of Drake, Beyoncé, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Adele.
The formation, hailing from Drummondville, quickly lost its first position to Blink 182.
Nonetheless, the deluxe version of “Between Illness and Migration”, “Tokyo Sessions”, sold 26, 000 copies in Canada since its release on June 17, 2016.
Overall, Your Favorite Enemies have sold 200 000 albums in a dozen countries since the beginning of their career. The band often headlines festivals in China, Japan and Europe, where they enjoy a desirable popularity. But not in Quebec.
No one is a prophet in his own country, does the saying go. But the wind is finally turning, after 10 years, admits the band’s guitarist, Jeff Beaulieu.
“It did take a while before it happened”, says Jeff. “We’re more than happy to finally be able to enjoy this, and not to have to stop by the airport in order to play a show.”
“For us, releasing an album in Quebec, in Canada, is always a little scarier than it is anywhere else in the world. We’re always a little more wary of the reactions. But to see such a response is extraordinary. This is the most wonderful gift we could have had. It’s always been so hard here.”
Making it in the U.S. of A.
The first version of the album “Between Illness and Migration”, released in May 2014 in Canada, knew a similar beginning, making its way into the Canadian top charts alongside Coldplay and The Black Keys. The second version takes its inspiration from a recent concert in Tokyo, where the band members allowed themselves to explore new musical avenues with the same songs, with which they decided to do a new album.
“We made something that includes a little bit of electronic in it. In Japan, you can really try what you want, let go to the music, and people will enjoy”, says Jeff Beaulieu.
Elsewhere in the world, the album “Between Illness and Migration” received raving reviews. One British media even said of Your Favorite Enemies that they were the best thing to come out of Canada since maple bacon, comparing the musical experience to that of Pink Floyd.
Jeff Beaulieu now hopes for a breakthrough in the United States of America, another “difficult-to-pierce market”. He however adds that the band is now discussing the release of their next album with producers from Los Angeles and New York City.
New album coming up in 2017
Your Favorite Enemies have been around for 10 years already. In 2009, they acquired a church in Drummondville that they turned into a recording studio.
Today, Your Favorite Enemies is a collective of 20 people. The band members, proudly independent, do everything themselves: they founded their own label, act as their own manager, and even do their own band t-shirts.
Thanks to word of mouth, to their fans and to their concerts, the band has built a certain popularity. They are now working on a new album, due out early 2017.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH… ALEX FOSTER OF YOUR FAVORITE ENEMIES
By Jason Schneider
There’s an argument to be made that (aside from The Tragically Hip) Montreal’s Your Favorite Enemies are the most popular homegrown rock band in Canada right now.
And chances are you haven’t heard of them.
The fiercely DIY outfit released its latest album, Between Illness And Migration: Tokyo Sessions, on June 17 and it immediately hit the Top 5 in four categories on iTunes, along with selling over 26,000 units to put it (ironically) just behind The Hip’s Yer Favourites compilation on SoundScan’s Catalogue Albums chart.
The band already earned a JUNO nomination for Best Rock Album in 2015 for the original version of Between Illness And Migration, but soon after gave the album new life by completely re-recording it based on an updated artistic vision. It’s a move most artists would never consider, but Your Favorite Enemies have been playing by their own rules now for a decade and their achievements speak for themselves.
Formed by Alex Foster (vocals), Jeff Beaulieu (guitar), Sef (guitar), Ben Lemelin (bass), Miss Isabel (keyboards) and Charles “Moose” Allicie (drums), the band was shaped musically and philosophically by the likes of Fugazi, Sonic Youth, The Cure, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine and Mars Volta, establishing their label, Hopeful Tragedy Records, in 2007.
They quickly sold 30,000 copies of their debut EP through innovative and aggressive online marketing, leading to a headlining European tour after only four shows at home. The band’s 2008 album, Love Is A Promise Whispering Goodbye, found a rabid audience in Japan, and Your Favorite Enemies became the first non-Japanese band to contribute songs to Final Fantasy video game soundtracks, all of which would hit the top of the Japanese charts.
Using that windfall, they converted a church in Drummondville, Quebec into a multi-media headquarters and recording studio, while also using proceeds to set up a non-profit human rights organization, “Rock ‘N Rights.” In 2011, the band embarked on an audacious 17-date tour of China (documented on the DVD “The Uplifting Sound of an Epiphanic Awakening…”), while continuing to expand its loyal following in Japan with benefit concerts in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto for victims of the Tohoku tsunami.
Although their audiences in Europe and Australia consistently grew as well, the special bond they share with Japan inspired the re-imagining of Between Illness And Migration last year. Alex Foster took some time to explain how it all happened.
What made you decide to completely rerecord Between Illness and Migration?
The idea came together last November as we were in the midst of the rehearsals for a secret show in Japan, where we would perform the whole album. It was planned to be a storyteller type of show, just two or three acoustic guitars and a few microphones. As we were re-immersing ourselves into the songs, not only did we rediscover the essence of the album, but we realized how much it had evolved after years of touring. The easy and simple gig then became a concert involving several keyboards, electric guitars, controllers, effect processors, a crazy amount of percussions and a drum kit, all of it supported by the live projection of short movies designed for every song.
It became a moment of abandonment where we were swapping instruments, getting into improvised musical landscapes, and totally letting go. Once back home, we decided to record the album as the journey it became. Our advisers thought we were crazy, but after almost a decade of such singular nonsense, we figured it was best to keep following our own madness, which, in retrospect, has always been the foundation of our business strategy anyway!
What songs do you feel underwent the biggest transformation and why?
It’s a tricky question, since Tokyo Sessions is so intrinsically different from the original version of the album. But if I have to highlight what embodies the nature of what Tokyo Sessions is all about, I would say the songs “Satsuki Yami (My Heartbeat)” and “Underneath a Blooming Skylight.” “Satsuki Yami” used to be a short musical opening track defined by saturated noisy guitars interlaced with ambient keyboards. Its atmospheric and abrasive vibe reflected the very first colors of dawn, a balance of dark waves and bright lights, musically painting the state of emergency we were in when we initially wrote Between Illness and Migration.
As for the song “Underneath a Blooming Skylight”, which is totally different from the original version called “Underneath a Stretching Skyline,” it represents the most fundamental difference you can hear between the two versions of the album. The original focus was mostly on the words and the storytelling, while its new incarnation is about the musical landscape and the sonic sensations that come with it. It’s about the groove, and becoming one with the noises and rhythm. This all allows the words to reveal themselves in a totally different light.
What has been the biggest change in your life over the past year?
I think it would be about enjoying the moment for whatever the moment might be about, as simple as it may sound. We’ve been a DIY band from the very beginning and have been incredibly blessed to accomplish things that we never could have imagined in our wildest dreams. We are extremely privileged to do what we love, with our best friends and based on our values. Nonetheless, it has always been incredibly challenging for us to take a second to enjoy any of those blessings.
We all have a fear of becoming complacent, and being perceived as hedonistic a-holes by our friends. But for the first time in almost a decade, we collectively agreed that it was okay to slow down a little to enjoy the view, or at least to crack a sincere smile once in a while. So if you ask me a deep rhetorical question such as “How are you?” I might actually answer “Good” without being lectured by my bandmates about the horrible state of the world we are in!
What has been your most memorable experience while touring?
For us, every place we tour in is defined by the people we meet and the emotions we share with them, from the Beatles type of welcome we’ve experienced in Japanese airports, up to wondering if we were in the right venue in Hong Kong. Every moment is truly singular for us. But to pick one, it would be the first time we toured in mainland China. That was a crazy experience, rich in all sorts of moments. It was 17 gigs in 21 days, all over the country. It was an insane tour from the beginning, as the most influential Chinese newspaper put a picture of us on their front page, along with the mention that we were the most controversial band to ever set foot in China due to our role as spokespeople for Amnesty International and as human rights advocates. Let’s say that it was quite an introduction to the country!
Local authorities were quite concerned when we landed in Beijing, as they were probably expecting a kind of Sex Pistols circus to happen. We had a very serious welcome committee waiting for us. But after a few moments, we ended up being asked to take pictures and videos with the authorities. It was surreal to say the least. There’s no proper touring circuit in China, so besides the main festivals we were playing, local promoters pretty much established one of the first touring routes with Your Favorite Enemies, with all that comes with being the first ones to experience something that is more complicated that it looks.
But the most fabulous part of that whole experience was seeing a generation literally awakening before our eyes, gathering together, and eager to share their dreams, and ideas about freedom and peace. Most of the local concert organizers were young people opening venues with friends, serving a community of kids who were all discovering The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Ramones, Nirvana and Sonic Youth at the same time they were discovering classical music, jazz, Burroughs, Bukowski and Hemingway. We pretty much lived a cultural revolution through that tour.
And since a revolution cannot be a true one without a few incidents, I got back home with a broken jaw, cracked ribs, a chipped tooth, a back hernia and cigarette burns on my face, all of which occurred at different concerts. Making friends is easy when you’re ready to join the crowd; the problem is picking the right balcony to jump from and not losing sight of your band on the stage while body surfing for almost the whole set because the festival security lost their grip. We could write a whole book on that particular tour. It was incredibly disorienting, but in the most wonderful way.
If there is anything you’d like to change about the music industry, what would it be?
It would most definitely be the cynicism that floats on every level of the industry. A lot of people got into the music business because music changed their lives, from folk to punk to postpunk and metal up to pop music. But it feels like a lot of people’s heart and soul deserted them the day they added a framed picture of themselves with one of their musical heroes on the wall of their big office. For me, cynicism is like paying a fortune to hear Bono talk about poverty in the back of his private jet. It’s funny for a second, until it’s too much of a joke to laugh about.
And as much as I don’t drink the “new tech services will save us all” KoolAid, neither do I want to hear the same old lamentations about the glorious days of music. We’re in a plane dealing with major turbulences for what seems like a never-ending ride now, but as some complain about the quality of the champagne that got spilled on their designer jeans, others put together quite a party in the back. It’s all about perspectives and how hard you’re willing to work on what you believe in, on what is meaningful to you. And when the volume of the music is louder at IKEA than it is at HMV, maybe it’s time to dream it all over again.
On the Beat With Charles “Moose” Allicie of Your Favorite Enemies: The Gift of Being and Belonging
Hi MD, I’m Charles “Moose” Allicie from the Canadian alternative rock band Your Favorite Enemies.
Back in April 2006, while I was at a restaurant with some loved ones, my phone rang. I usually don’t answer my phone during those moments, but this time, go figure, I did. It was one of Your Favorite Enemies’ guitarists, Jeff Beaulieu. I could never have known that answering that call would forever change my life and the way I play music.
I couldn’t have imagined that together we would tour in Japan, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Australia, Europe, UK, and North America, that we would run our own record label (Hopeful Tragedy Records), own a merchandising company, and buy an 800-seat Catholic church and turn it into a world-class recording studio and filming facility.
I couldn’t imagine that we’d film some of our music videos in Japan, Australia, and Spain. Couldn’t possibly know that we’d end up being the first band to write and recordCharles Moose Allicie of Your Favorite Enemiesmusic for the iconic video game Final Fantasy (Square Enix), and that our album Between Illness and Migration would be nominated for Rock Album of the Year at the 2015 Juno Awards.
And let’s not forget, I never thought that one day I would be invited to write for Modern Drummer. In other words, what I live goes way beyond any idea I had of how my musical and life path would be; most of all, this journey became possible because we, the band, are together as what I call a clan.
Our relationships and what we built together shaped me more than anything else. I can hardly dissociate the man and the musician I am today from my band. Getting out of music studies in college and university, I thought I would be a freelancer, however these folks, who became my bandmates, triggered a deep change within me. With them I found a profound sense of belonging. I had nothing to prove through intricate grooves or fills, but I could simply “be”—now isn’t that a great gift? It was like, “Don’t let how you play define who you are, let who you are define how you play,” and this turned out to be a cornerstone for me. Beyond becoming some kind of a one-man business, what truly made a difference was to meet them and build something bigger than myself alone. I acknowledge that fact very often, especially as this year we’re celebrating Your Favorite Enemies’ tenth anniversary!
Backtracking a bit, as a teenager I first began jamming to some Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Red Hot Chili Peppers records on my banged up Rogers kit, as well as some old live videos from Rush’s Neil Peart (A Show of Hands) and Manu Katché with Peter Gabriel, (Secret World Live), video tapes that I watched at least five hundred times each and from which I learned a lot.
Beyond any influences, cool drum fills and grooves, music is and has always been a refuge, a place to let go and to grow. Coming from a very modest family, seeing more than what were a few hours drive from home was a utopian idea. But music opened many doors and then joining this band just blew it out of proportion. Don’t get me wrong; everything you see and hear, everything that happens for Your Favorite Enemies, is done in-house, so we do put in the hours in order to craft our dream.
I think that art is a language far beyond words, so I would like to present to you our latest single entitled “1-2-3 (One Step Away).” To me, Your Favorite Enemies is more than six band members going on stage, and I think this video sums up a wide range of what can be done here at our HQ.
Another great example is our latest album Between Illness and Migration – Deluxe: Tokyo Sessions, which is released on June 17. Click on the video link below to get a peek at it.
Special thanks to Mapex Drums, Sabian cymbals, and Remo drumheads whose support is priceless.
Watch the promo for the latest release Between Illness and Migration – Deluxe: Tokyo Sessions here:
Check out the single “1-2-3 (One Step Away)” here:
EXCLUSIVE: YOUR FAVORITE ENEMIES POST VIDEO FOR 1-2-3 (ONE STEP AWAY)
Canadian alt-rockers Your Favorite Enemies have dropped a video for their track 1-2-3 (One Step Away), and you can watch it exclusively on Kerrang.com!
“It’s a song I wrote reflecting the let go of the personal elements that hold us back in our present state of saddened hearts and keep our soul captive in the despairs of the past,” explains frontman Alex Foster. “It’s truly a personal song by nature, but a collective state. We may mourn the impermanence of life, but we can all elevate ourselves with the euphoria of rebirth.”