Five questions for fairgale
By: Andrew Boyd
ROCK EDEN: What is the biggest thing that has changed about Fairgale since your first album?
STEPHEN: We started Fairgale on a whim a few years ago. There was a definite musical chemistry so we just decided to go for it and dug in. We wrote the first album fairly quickly and ran with it. The new album represents a little more time to play with our vocals, experiment with songwriting, and make new instrumental choices. This album sort of settles into a modern pop-rock sound with strong retro influence.
GARY: The biggest change for me is we really started to focus on learning about songwriting and studying different techniques instead of just putting down a couple verses and a chorus and calling it a day. [laughs]. The songwriting, overall, is more refined I think.
ANDREW: To follow up on what Stephen said, the first album we were really still finding our sound. Our very first jam we plugged in at an old rental house in Airport Heights and played a cover of Bittersweet Symphony. To me, that was the moment I knew that it could work. Didn’t know where we were going or what would ever happen but the chemistry was instant. The third voice opened up harmonies. We had initial intentions to be a Mumford and Sons folk-inspired band but never went that route. That went out of style faster than the mullett. [Laughs] The first incarnation of the band had me playing bongos and lap steel at the same time. For real. This album is just better use of our voices... and less bongos.
ROCK EDEN: What are your favourite lines of lyrics from the new album and why?
ANDREW: I don’t know Stephen’s songs too well so I can’t comment on those [Laughs]. A favorite line of mine is "Hey did you hear about Elvis Presley? All this time he's been living down my street. 31 years working late night security. I guess it gets old trying to be so pretty". It’s from the song “Another Day”. The song is a collection of random thoughts, and that one is just based on the conspiracy theory that Elvis is still alive. I played up the idea that he couldn't handle the pressure of the spotlight anymore so he moved into an average middle-class neighborhood and worked overnights to keep a low profile. I thought it would be funny. That's where my sense of humour went [Laughs].
STEPHEN: I’m not sure I can pinpoint a favourite per se. I’m prouder overall with the lyrics on this album across the board. I feel we’ve grown from a lyrical standpoint. I will say that I played one of our co-writes at a songwriter’s circle - it’s a song Andrew sings on the album called “Bad Reputation”. Mick Davis was also in the circle, and looked at me and said something to the effect of, “ ‘Make you believe that she’s telling you lies’ - now that’s the kind of line that we’re always looking for as songwriters. Great work”. That was a cool moment for me.
BRAD: One track on the record is entitled “Drop in the Ocean” written by Andrew. It talks about the sense of feeling like a small fish in a big pond. Suffice to say we’ve all felt that way at least once before, so this was an easy song to relate to lyric-wise.
ROCK EDEN: If Fairgale could open for any band in the world which band would it be?
BRAD: For me, it'd be Dave Matthews Band or Rush. Very selfish choices based on my love of drummers Carter Beauford and Neil Peart, but performing on the same stage as either of those bands would be a dream gig for me. I had the same feeling of 'awe' when I first listened to both bands. In spite of being two completely distinct sounding bands, their arrangements and musicianship excited the hell out of me.
GARY: This is a hard question! I’m going to pick Arkells. They’re fresh in my mind. Their live show is crazy. And really, a couple years ago at George Street Festival, we watched them from the crowd, and at the recent Iceberg Alley performance, we saw them from backstage. Therefore the only logical next step is to join them on stage [laughs].
STEPHEN: I’m a huge Coldplay fan. I would love to open for Coldplay. I got to see them in Montreal over the summer and the live show just really reinforced what I think of the band. The energy in the Bell Centre was not something I’ve experienced before at a live concert. I should also mention that as a child I really wanted to open for Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers, so I don’t want to totally rule that out either [laughs].
ANDREW: It’s a tough question. I love the Novaks. Local or not, it’s full-on rock and roll and I’m a huge fan. I’d still love to open for them. This is timely right now but would have been my answer regardless - I would have loved to have opened for Tom Petty. His show at Mile One a few years back was one of my favourite shows I’ve ever seen. He had a knack for simple songs that said a lot. Bruce Springsteen and U2 would also be on the list.
ROCK EDEN: What was the most difficult part of the recording process?
STEPHEN: I think balancing time when you have so much going on is the toughest. Album preparation requires a thousand and one things happening at once, and the toughest part is staying focussed and juggling all other personal and band related activities with the recording process.
GARY: My parts were recorded in 2 days. Nuttin’ to it [laughs].
ANDREW: Vocals are always the most difficult. You're always trying to be perfect which is not real life. The longer the session the harder it is to sing. I've also never ever felt super comfortable singing into a mic with headphones on. It’s getting better, but capturing the live element takes some time in a studio setting.
ROCK EDEN: What’s your weirdest road story?
GARY: Oh man. Let’s see what I can remember! One time, in particular, we played a show at a bar in a rural community that included "accommodations". We had a few drinks at the bar, so we got a cab to an even more rural community. The accommodation was basically a cabin with one mattress and several clearly old blankets. There was no heat, and no cell service. Bit sketchy we say.
STEPHEN: Not sure how weird this is, but was certainly a memorable highlight, or lowlight if you will. We had a couple of gigs in smaller parts of Nova Scotia and relied pretty heavily on an iPhone GPS at times. We actually took a bit of a windy, rural detour and brought up solid at a small ferry crossing. Literally, the only way to keep going was across a half kilometre ferry run! The ferry didn’t cross that often so we had to backtrack. A kind local lady guided us out of it and set us straight. We'll just say we reviewed the GPS strategy from there on out.
BRAD: This is pre-Fairgale but it stands out to me. Me and Andrew were on our way back to our hotel rooms after a gig in rural NL about three years ago. It was approaching 4 AM as we were driving along when we came upon a car who had kicked one of its passengers out into the ditch. We pulled over to check on the person but we quickly realized this was a situation we shouldn’t be in. The person began eerily walking towards us as the car began reversing towards us from the other side. We jumped back into our vehicle and narrowly avoided the reversing car thanks to the quick reaction of our driver. The car then sped up behind us, nearly running us off the road before pulling back in front of us and speeding off into the darkness of the night. Still trying to pick sense out of that one.
Fairgale will be releasing their sophomore album "Pillars" in the coming months. Make sure to keep an eye on the band's social media and website to get the latest updates!