Barely ten months after their first full rehearsal together, the four-piece Saskatoon group — consisting of lead vocalist Celeste Nicholson, Matt Stinn on guitar, Keegan Stretch on drums, and Nevin Buehler on bass — is very much in control of their sound, their energy, and where they see themselves going as a band.
The video, appropriately entitled “Control” (see what I did there?), was released on YouTube on Sept. 26. It’s already cruised up past 7000 hits. While it stays true to their established sound — driving drums, milky sharp guitar, heavy (but thoughtful) bass, and ethereal vocal harmonies — it also shows that they’re prepared to step out of their comfort zone and dabble in a more electronic sound.
“Control” is a single from Friends of Foe’s upcoming first studio album, slated to be launched this New Years. The Pickup got together with three of the four Friends of Foes to chat about the experience of recording in studio while simultaneously shooting a music video.
From both a musical and visual perspective, there is a lot going on in the video. Shot by local videographer and friend of the band Morgan Carter, the footage captures roughly a third of the 15 days the band spent in the studio laying down the album.
“Throughout the process of us in the studio,” said Stinn, “we had the doors open to [Carter]. We said, hey, whenever you want to come in, come hangout on the couch. When I watch the video, it seems like a very unbiased, third-person look. It really encompasses everything.”
The behind-the-scenes glimpse at FOF’s studio time mashes together serious levels of multi-instrumental and vocal talent and just the right amount of goofing off (who doesn’t love sliding office chair bass lines?)
They have fun, and they take care of business. It’s all about the creative collaboration.“All of us take a hack at vocal ideas and melodies to really make sure that each song is a beast of it’s own instead of just following a formula.”
Each of the band’s members comes from a different musical background (from classically trained, to self-taught, to musical theatre), but they’ve managed to fuse their styles, their tastes, and their influences into something unique. In ‘Control’ we see Stinn and Stretch joining Nicholson behind the mic. Having most of the band contribute to the vocals — in terms of writing, recording, and singing on stage — is a big part of what defines FOF’s sound.
“I’ve never been in a band where we put a lot of work into the vocals,” said Stinn. “It’s always kinda just been this sounds good, let’s do it. In this band it’s like, oh, let’s do three-part harmonies, let’s do counter harmonies.”
“For me, I’m always trying to always push our sound and make it as wide as possible,” said Stretch, when discussing the evolution of the band’s sound. “I just feel like there’s no limits. ‘Control,’ being the song it is, is kind of electronic at times, and it’s very different for us.”
According to Stinn, compared to the rest of the album, ‘Control’ will “stick out like a sore thumb.” Assuming that doesn’t mean he forgot his guitar pick when he recorded that track, expect the rest of the album to be more in line with some of their other tunes, with more emphasis on clean vocals next to grungier instrumentals, and a bit less electronic post-production.
You can get your hands on a copy of the album this New Years at an album release party and show at Vangelis Tavern.
FOF also plans to do more touring in the new year, and hitting up festivals during the summer.