A Leap of Faith Into Life

Written by Your Favorite Enemies. Posted in Uncategorized

I’m very excited to go back to that moment and rethink about how crazy it has been! It was such a fabulous time we had over there, more than I could have ever expected. As I recall, our trip to go there was such a blast! Imagine for a second; I got to do a 7-hour drive with our new live sound engineer Bob, who is not only a fabulous sound engineer but also such a great and generous guy.

We talked about music, sound, and gear… Sorry, it’s an addiction for me! Especially studio gear! He shared with us different experiences he had on the road with bands like Voivod, and how music has impacted his life in a way that this is what he wanted to do with his life. As I was listening to him and was stunned by how powerful music is, I just thought about my life for a second, and I realized it was the same thing. Music was definitely a language of the heart I wanted to speak and share with people. To connect, to touch, to live…

For me, it first started as a scream for help… to be loved, to be ignited… But it turned into a communion with brothers and sisters and into something way more powerful than what I ever expected. The concert in NYC was a great testimony of that. We always like to break the barriers of what an artist should or shouldn’t do, to break the separation (or the illusion of separation) caused by differences between the people performing and the people living it. For us, it’s always been a big gathering where we could let go all together, allowing what’s deep inside to get out and live it as one!

When we had this idea of creating the magic of bringing the YFE family with us, I was really touched. At the same time, I was thinking “If a band I truly loved would have done that for me, it could have really changed my life and helped me build bridges with people”. So I was already super excited about this!

I had the chance to meet with one of our partners in crime from Tech21 just before the show; it was the first time we were meeting in person and it was already massive hugs and display of love. I was deeply touched, and I realized even more that it is what we are cultivating in the band and with the people surrounding us that makes it all so powerful.

The concert itself was filled with so much energy, I wanted to explode! To see all the faces letting go to the sound of the music was such a blessing for me. I didn’t want this moment to end, and when it did, I had the impression we had only played for 10 minutes.

What I thought was just too crazy is when I entered the bus filled with people and witnessed all the amazing and beautiful smiles and the laughter. I was so empowered because it was not only about going to see a live concert; you can do that every night if you want. But all those people were thirsty to commune with others, to break all the rules and barriers there could have been. The minute they stepped in that bus, there was no introduction; you were friends with everybody. Wow! Isn’t it beautiful? Everybody took a chance and got on that adventure to taste something different than what they knew. I don’t think it’s how tall the buildings in New York City are that made an eternal mark into people’s hearts, but it’s the sense of belonging… of love… of being together. The music that connects with our hearts and souls and the desire to let this flow of life out of us.

The picture on Times Square totally immortalized the spirit and the essence of this moment. Everybody together, no game, no role, just us, all together, living this crazy journey and knowing that without the person on your left and on your right… it’s pointless. Love still has the power to change, transform and heal, no matter the era we live in.

The only thing that made me sad is that I couldn’t go back home in the same car as Bob because he had left earlier… I felt my thirst of talking about studio gear was not quenched!

Love you guys,

– Ben

Electricity was in the air

Written by Your Favorite Enemies. Posted in Uncategorized

I was excited (and yes, nervous!) for the Pianos show, as it was an important showcase for the band, and it had been a while since I performed with Your Favorite Enemies. My excitement only grew bigger when I heard that so many people got on a big bus to cross the American borders to come to the show! Some of them got a passport for the first time only to be able to join, some other had to beg their boss to take a day off (or to lie… depends! lol!) and most of them, if not everyone, embarked on that bus with total strangers for a journey that was sure to be unique and unexpected. 

I remember waiting for the venue to open, in the van with the gear. I was watching the buzzing life of the New York streets, and I thought “Maybe we are creating history?”. Just like Patti Smith or Kim Gordon walked this street at some point, sipping on a coffee or wandering the Madison Park (my favorite NYC park) for inspiration, maybe this show meant a lot more than what I could see or understand. I think New York stimulates dreams because so many people who were considered in their time as rejects were afterward known as pioneers, trendsetters and artistic world changers.

And then I had a doubt… “Who am I to think we can make history?” I am so full of contradictions, sometimes… One minute I believe we can change the world, the next minute I feel scared to live my life. Juggling with my courage and doubts, I still took this picture whispering through my lack of faith “One day this picture will be a testimony of what happened here.” 

That night, I have been touched by all the openness, and inspiring moments we lived during the show and afterward, when most of the crowd attending the concert walked with us on Times Square, sharing a glass of wine and words of passion and community.

It was a year ago, and I can say “Yes, we made history” because that day marked all of us. We all witnessed the buzzing life of New York, but what we remember even more vividly is how our hearts got enlivened by what we offered each other that day and what we still carry with us that creates a desire for more. More music, more passion, more heart bond, more life.

– Miss Isabel

New York City with you, through the eyes of Jeff

Written by Your Favorite Enemies. Posted in Uncategorized

The Blind Boys of Alabama, Cold War Kids, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Passion Pit, Courtney Barnett, are just a few of so many artists who played the iconic Lower East Side Pianos in New York City. I spent countless afternoons and evenings between those walls, watching bands from all around the world giving everything they have to climb a few more stairs to their dreams of making a living out of playing music! I’ve witnessed so many broken dreams right underneath my very own eyes where managers, agents, festival owners, publishers, music supervisors were leaving the room, one by one, during those cold October CMJ days. I come down to New York every month of October wearing my band’s manager cap, since those industry people don’t really like to deal with artists directly, which I don’t really mind since I never saw my band like a typical, classic band. Being DIY ever since the beginning, we simply know nothing else than to rely on ourselves, our guts, our philosophy, and way of embracing not only music but life in general… I love New York, as I always feel I’m surrounded by people just like me, whose dreams and vision are going through their veins, for our freedom to bloom even more at every heartbeat.

It was in October 2014, the San Francisco Giants were visiting the Kansas City Royals to start the World Series. I entered the Pianos on a Tuesday night, a little early as CMJ really starts on Wednesday. The game was playing really loud and there was this guy screaming at the tv set when the Giants scored! “Hi, my name is Steven, I’m the Pianos talent buyer”, he tells me as I come closer proudly wearing my SF cap for the occasion! No need to tell you we became friends as the week passed by and the Giants were playing and as I was spending my afternoons there meeting people! “I really love your band Jeff”, I could hear from Steven as I came in again on Saturday afternoon! “I would like for you to play here”, he mentioned. “I think this place could be a real good fit for a band like yours!” He’s been pushing ever since for him to be the very first venue to play YFE in New York outside of those CMJ showcases we did. For us, the band isn’t about being part of something, wether it’s a scene, a movement. Even adding a music genre to YFE is a little challenge after those 10 years where so many different musical projects came out from “And if I was to Die” to “Vague Souvenir”, and even “Between Illness and Migration” to “Tokyo Sessions”! For us, it’s about music, soul, and guts, nothing else… If we feel it’s too good to be true, we won’t trust it, since outside of each and every one of you, our extended family from all around the world, no one ever gave us any gifts whatsoever. It’s always been like that 2014 edition of the Giants, who ended up being champions for the third time in five years, always being the underdogs; how much do you want it!

I remember stopping in front of the artists’ entrance of the Pianos, where, for the first time, not only we were performing in one of the coolest venues in NY, but you were all coming down by bus from Montreal or Quebec City to share what would become one of the most soulful moments of my life! For weeks, I’ve been reading each and every story of those who were joining this crazy two-day trip to New York and I couldn’t be more inspired. For some, it was the first time they were leaving the country, for others it was a long time dream becoming true to go down to the Big Apple, where for others, it was another not to be missed opportunity to see the band play and meet new friends! No matter the reason, I’ve been really touched and blessed to read you and to silently witness how meaningful this could be for you. I was always bringing your stories with me in the rehearsing room since this is what we were hoping the most to see happening when we decided to do this crazy thing, YFE’s way! People came down from Europe to be part of this trip, and I even have a friend living in Chicago who decided to come to Montreal, in order to be part of the bus trip with everyone else, even though, the language spoken on the bus was mainly French! What can you say to that, I was simply blown away by all this love, this joy, and humbled to be part of everyone’s stories! To me, this is what matters the most, since this is the true power of music, stronger than any Grammy Award you could win, since music, is all about gathering, no matter our differences, and to live life to the fullest!

Times Square will never be as bright as that night of March 1, 2016! Time simply stopped for us to realize what it really means to be there all together and simply be, which is why we chose the Celeste wine from Torres, dedicated to the exact positions of the stars in the sky the day of the grapes’ harvest. I raised my glass to you all, as you were all so beautiful that night, underneath the lights of New York City, to you all who give us the necessary courage to defy the impossible. When passion is filled with love, even the smallest of all stars can outshine the entire galaxy on its own. This is what we looked like all together standing on Broadway and 45th Street, a small piece of the sky that will forever live in our hearts! I’m looking at the stars tonight, enjoying again what it feels like to matter for some, since as long as we’ll keep this night alive, even the sky ain’t the limit anymore…! I love you my friends, and I thank you for being in my life, since this New York City trip was only one of many more to come!

– Jeff

When the Big Apple approves you…

Written by Your Favorite Enemies. Posted in Uncategorized

We drove all the way to New York City on Monday night, arrived in Brooklyn where we would stay for the next few days. Brooklyn, our home away from home (one of many, at least!). All tired, it didn’t take long before we went to bed and gave in to Morpheus.

A clear blue sky awaited us on Tuesday morning. No doubt about it, it was an early spring we eagerly longed for. We had breakfast, and the guys then took their paper cups of coffee outside to enjoy the warmth the city had to offer. 4 steps outside, on the sidewalk, a police car quickly drives up to us and stops by our side:

Police officer, with a suspicious look behind his sunglasses:
– Good morning, gentlemen. What is this you are drinking so early in the morning?

Jeff, clueless about this first contact by the American police:
– Well, that’s coffee, sir.

Police officer, with a desire to shake Jeff’s conviction of actually drinking coffee:
– Coffee, uh?

Jeff, not knowing what to say anymore:
– Yes, coffee, you know, we are a band and we are playing at the Pianos tonight, we are from Canada and…

Police officer, interrupting Jeff:
– Ah, Canada, EH? Ha ha ha! Well, have a good day, gentlemen! (Leaves laughing)

A few moments after this peculiar encounter with police officers, I was leaving home to welcome the bus full of travellers that were coming to NYC to see the band perform tonight. For many of them, it was their first time in NYC, for some their first time outside the country. I waited, waited, waited. I was super excited, figuring out where I would be when they would arrive in front of the Pianos where YFE was to play in a few hours.

Random guy parked in front of the venue when I got there.
– Lady, what are you doing here alone outside?

Me, super excited:
– I’m waiting for my friends to arrive!

Random guy:
– They’re not really good friends for making you wait for so long.

Me, half insulted and half amused:
– You can’t understand. They’re 50, from all over the world, they’re in a bus and many are coming here for the very first time, so I need to see them as soon as they get here! (Looking at my phone) Oh well, I just received a text message and they can’t make it here, so the bus has dropped them somewhere else. Good day, sir!

So much for my excitement of seeing everyone get off the bus…!

I walked to the Starbucks, and finally met with everyone. I couldn’t help but think of my first time in NYC, when I was 16, during an organized school trip. Although we somewhat looked like this, we also looked totally different. This time, there was a unity like I have rarely seen before. Many people had met for the first time less than 12 hours earlier, but the bond was already pretty strong. And then we headed out to explore the city!

The day went by quickly, and very soon it was time for the concert. It was my first time staying at the venue and waiting for the band to come back for the show; I usually go back home with them. The excitement got somewhat more intense though; for the first time in forever, I could live the excitement of waiting for my favorite band to get on stage! The concert was out of this world. The band was raging on stage, and the crowd was giving it back to them in a wonderful way. It was the first time for people to see Miss Isabel play with 2 keyboards, but also the very first time for them to see Alex play keyboard and guitar live. And the reaction when that happened? People went MAD! The sound was clear in the room, we could hear all the little details that make Your Favorite Enemies’ music so unique, and it helped in bringing the whole experience to another level. The chemistry between the band members was deep and intense, though there was nothing to let you see it; you could just feel it through their music. It was a brand new YFE; assumed, arrogant, in your face, yet all in subtlety and very inclusive.

The show over, it was time for our traditional toast on Times Square. Despite the cloudless blue sky we had seen all day long, it was now raining over Manhattan, forcing to reschedule the toast inside the bus instead. But once we got there, without a word said, we all wanted to go anyway. We walked the block that separated us from the eternal artificial daylight that shines on Times Square, and then the rain stopped. As if New York was telling us that she had allowed this very specific moment only for us. As if the city itself was allowing us to have that moment. As if it was telling us that indeed, nothing could stop us. As long as we’d be willing to confront the circumstances, not allowing our fears to take over, everything would work out.

We came back home past 4:00am. Went to bed at past 5:00am. For many of us, the adrenaline of the toast that had just happened took over our need to sleep and it was hard to drift off, somehow… And it made the morning come way too fast! After a breakfast punctuated with laughter and stories, we headed out to our traditional stops on departure day; Starbucks on North 7, Rough Trade Records, and the Bushwick Inlet Park where we have a “goodbye toast”.

The wind was strong and awfully cold. Being by the side of the river, nothing could tame it down it either. It is with shaking hands and shivering that we walked all the way to the river, to that same place we always go. But this time, we could go further in on that little strip of land that goes well into the river. Every time we go there, we manage to go a step further on that little strip, as if the city was once again approving of us and every step that we were taking in our journey. And somehow, that cold wind was there to remind us that even though we might not always feel comfortable as we walk, the journey is always unexpectedly worth it.

As someone famously sang, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere”
And “making it” is still being together, still being passionate, still being alive. All over again. Whatever it means.

– Stephanie

PS: Behind the scenes videos have been uploaded on the band’s fan club, the SFCC! Make sure to check them out!

Watch more, become a member of the SFCC

A dying season; a new rebirth

Written by Your Favorite Enemies. Posted in Uncategorized

5:00am Sunday morning. The dogs were outside, barking so loud at nobody really knows what that they woke up the entire household. Too early, too late? It was a little hard to say, and we couldn’t really comprehend if the sun was rising or setting; blame it on the jet lag we still suffer from, only a few days after coming back from Japan. Needless to say, waking up wasn’t our first idea, and going back to sleep hasn’t been easy. A soft snow was already falling at that time, covering everything in a frosty, sparkly white blanket. A season was dying as another one was replacing it. Did we have to be happy about it? Should we have been sad about it? This, too, was a little unclear.

We arrived at the venue much later than expected… This long drive gave me the time I needed to read all the comments and the expectations people had about the night. Yes, this would be Your Favorite Enemies’ last concert in 2015… and yes, it would be mind-blowing, nothing less. The closer to the venue we got, the more convinced I was. Tonight would be a memorable one.

Soundcheck went well, very well. Everything went on smoothly, so smoothly that we could just look forward to the concert. The guys from Buckcherry were nice and welcoming, the promoters were incredible as always, the sound was great for everyone, and it allowed everybody to be relaxed backstage before the show… something that doesn’t get to happen very often!

And then the show happened, upon us and over sooner than we would have expected! Words are lacking to express exactly what has happened. It went by in a flash, with an energy I didn’t think the guys could have at this very moment. Somehow, it’s as if everything I thought I knew Your Favorite Enemies were about was different. And I think many others could tell the same thing. I don’t count the number of times I’ve heard praises about the performance. Not only because they were technically playing their parts well. But because what was going on stage was powerful in a way the band has rarely showed us. A new season, the end of another? Maybe. But I think I can say in full knowledge that a page has been turned…

We came back home late, and as these words were being written, everybody else still was around the table, eating the traditional Sunday night grilled cheese and chips, sharing stories of the moments we have lived with you! Now, everybody is fast asleep… Good night to you as well!

– Stephanie