Canadian band Your Favorite Enemies take time out of their busy tour schedule to have a quick chat with S24/7. Check them out at MIDI Shanghai on Sunday!
Right from the outset you guys have done every aspect of the what you do yourselves, right? Did you always have a clear idea of what you were doing?
Not at all, everything started so fast. We had to get organized pretty quick and I guess that has been the key to what came next. We didn't have the time to double guess our decisions, to think twice about the nature of our choices, and just didn't have time to be self-conscious about it all. Insecurities, doubts and fears being out of the way, I guess it's been a blessing to be able to build by instinct, according to who we are instead of aligned to what we should be and do.
Not many truly independent bands achieve the success you have - what's your secret?
"Success" could be a dirty and tricky word. For us, the notion of success is to be true to ourselves and loyal to each other. And to be honest, the secret is in the beards. Everyone loves men with beards. You should grow one yourself; you'll see, we're changing the world, one facial hair at a time ;)
How has your support for various causes driven the music you make?
Music is intrinsically linked with who we are and what we believe in. That's why it's been so important for us to stay true to ourselves and to remember the reasons we still jump on stage. Life creates life. Every night, whatever number of people in the crowd, we've got the fabulous privilege to create a little spark of life together. And when it's enough of a spark, dream and hope will bloom into a real fire. That's what we've been experiencing from the very beginning of our Chinese tour; life!!!
So is the music the main concern, or the message you're trying to get across through that medium?
The moment we live with the people is the main concern.
You have your own label, Hopeful Tragedy Records - are you now bringing other bands/artists through as well?
Quite surprisingly, every time we fell in love with a band, we managed helping them start their own label and to get in charge of their own story. If we would have signed some of them, we would be pretty rich by now!
But you know, the true fulfilment for us is to know that everywhere we play, bands are being formed right after by people who attended one of our show. They became their own voices. And that's fantastic!
You describe your new album as "a fantastic imaginary voyage" - can you tell us about it?
We've been living this journey like in a bullet train so far. We decided to take the time to creatively recall all those faces, all those places, all those sceneries and colors. As we were laying down the foundation of the record, we realized how much transformations occurred in every single one of us. We're not only able to feel that voyage, but we're actually able to be that sonic migration, and that natural motion leads us to places we never thought were possibly reachable within the realm of our own understanding. Well, that's a lot of words to say we really let go of everything that may have been a possible hold back... and for us, that album is truly worth dying for...
What do you think is it about your music - or the kids who like it - that makes you so popular in Japan?
Again, it's truly about our commitment to live the moment, to be with them, to touch them, and to be touched as well. That's why when we play festivals, we always do everything we can to play in smaller clubs as well, in cities no other bands have any interest in performing at. Our Chinese tour is a great example. It's a crazy tour we embarked on, but so far it's been a true awakening of life. Japan for me, as for China now, has been a love affair, a place I now call home. Love is lived in different ways in every place we visit; it's all about the people!!!
"REAL music is based on the emergency to create, and from that creation, life is created and transformation is emerging"… that's what you strive for - which other bands right now are doing the same?
I don't know... I still listen to the bands that got me into music in the first place. I'm not in the usual cool band name dropping. Have you been strived by a band recently? I mean, really? Not a little buzz love, but a real mind-blowing experience that lead you to redefine your life? if you had, I'm happy for you. I wish I had. But I'm still awaiting my next musical knock down...
You've also been involved in various other projects, film etc?
Yes. We've been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work on different projects we were truly fans of and really keen to be involved with. The Final Fantasy project is a good example. We grew up being Final Fantasy fanatics, so to be a part of the legacy has been a true blessing for every single one of us. Being involved in movie soundtracks of directors we admire, writing with artists we are fans of, as much as actively support or initiate different humanitarian projects... this is a wonderful privilege.
So this is your first China tour - how are you liking it?
It's been a real empowering tour so far. Witnessing life arising every night, sharing about our dreams, hope and faith. We couldn't have imagined such meaningful, powerful and defining moments. It's a communion of differences becoming one voice every night. Every single night. We're being lifted up by a wave of people embodying their vision of tomorrow right before our eyes. It's truly one of the most incredible human experiences we have ever felt.
Are you finding out a bit more about Chinese acts? Any from MIDI that you'll be making a special effort to see?
Of course. That's the beauty of touring, and the only way, in my opinion, to get to know the soul of a country; through it's an artistic community. We became really good and close friends with members of Chinese bands. And honestly, from the bottom of my heart, if I had to name one without mentioning the others, I know I will have to the pay our next band community dinner bill. And trust me, you don't want to get caught with the food bill of angry musicians on the road!!! I love you all guys! I said it... so the bill of our next dinner together is on you!!!
WORDS: Shanghai 24/7