Today’s Feature – April 27-28: Fiance`

April 28, 2008 at 9:58 pm (Today's Feature)

Some time in 2006, the pieces started to fall into place to form the Denver-based Fiance`, out of pure chance and luck if anything else. To put it simply, the group was “born out of the Internet and the Olive Garden.” Sounds like a pretty good story – the four artists coming together while waiting tables and looking for talent through Craigslist. So it may come as a surprise to learn that,

#1 – Their chemistry on stage and on tape is much more than acceptable. These guys sound like they’ve been together since childhood. And #2 – The amount of success they’ve had in such a brief period of time!

Releasing their first EP, “Girl from the Ivory Coast,” in March of 2007, the band had hardly been around for six months. Their opening offering opened to critical acclaim, and accurately reflected the foundation of Fiance`’s sound, “a piano-based mix of indie rock and brit pop… honest songwriting that includes complex character sketches to haunting accounts of contemporary suburban life.”

More is on the way through their sophomore EP, “Please Ambitious Please.” The collection is an excellent next step for Fiance`, further exploring the gritty side of their music, translating to a significant emotional landscape for listeners to respond to. The band hopes their music “can affect the listener the way their favorite music affects them.”

Fiance` performances are like living projects, always breathing, always growing, always changing. Every show brings on new lessons and new methods to more accurately portray their sound. You can catch the act even as the four musicians continue to write new material, touring extensively throughout 2008. That however doesn’t mean they won’t be back in the studio shortly – so keep an eye out for even more. Get into the XXQ’s to learn more.

XXQs: Faince`- Michael James

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Tell us about how Fiance` first came about?

Fiance` was born out of the Internet and the Olive Garden. Patrick and Tyler met while waiting tables at the Olive Garden. I found Pat by chance through MySpace. I was (and still am) involved in a solo project, but I was sort of looking to start playing with a band again. After chatting over the phone, Patrick and I met up one evening in a practice room at his school and played through a few things Patrick had written. It seemed to flow pretty well so we decided to meet again and the next time we got together Pat had invited Ty to play bass. After playing together for a few months and going through a few auditions, we met Chris from a Craigslist ad. The truth is the way things came together was by chance and luck. I think we are lucky because not only is the chemistry in the band amazingly seamless, but also it seems like we’ve all been friends for a lot longer than we actually have been. I think that speaks to the chemistry and the connection we all feel to each other and the music we make.

PEV: Currently hailing from Denver, Colorado, what kind of music where you listening to growing up?

I listened to a whole variety of stuff. I am a few years older than the other guys so I grew up listening to stuff from the 80s. I listened to everything from The Smiths, and Tears for Fears to Metallica with some other bands (possibly of the late 80s hair band era) that shall remain unnamed to protect my pride. In high school I was heavy into the grunge/Seattle scene…everyone from Alice in Chains and Nirvana to Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots. I also started branching out and listening to older stuff like Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

The Beatles were (and continue to be) a huge influence to this band…especially for Patrick and Chris. It sounds almost clichŽ to say that but it is really the truth. Patrick also draws inspiration from songwriters like Elliot Smith and David Bazaan. Ty tends to be a bit more off the beaten path…he is really into everything from Tool to barbershop acappella-style stuff.

PEV: Tell us about your creative process… What kind of environment do you have to be in to write music?

As a band we are always writing new music. When we are not…or when we are playing a lot of shows and we simply don’t have the time to write…we all get very anxious to get back to our little basement room and make new music together.

In general, Patrick will come to us with an idea for a song…maybe a lyrical idea, or a line or two of melody. In some cases he has come with virtually completed songs…other times it is just the seed of a song. In all cases though, the song in “Fiance`-fied” in our words. We tend to all throw in a bunch of ideas and in the end it usually sounds like a Fiance` song. The more we write, the more we are starting to write as a unit. In other words, these are not just Patrick’s songs with a backing band. We are truly creating the stuff together in a very collaborative and collective way. As time goes by…I think we will only do more of that.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Fiance` performance?

We try to be honest and sincere with our music…both in our recordings and our live show. I think that our show is in constant flux. By that I mean we are constantly tweaking songs and refining them not only for the benefit of the audience, but for us as well. We have songs from the first EP like the title track, “Girl From the Ivory Coast” that we have totally reworked and made it this epic live song. I think we all wish we could re-record the version we play live for the first EP.

Our main goal with the live show is to translate the emotion and the energy of the songs to the audience and to continue to get better. When it comes to our show, we have a motto, “We want to blow the audience’s minds.”

PEV: Tell us about your first performance. How have you changed since that first show to where you are now?

Our first show was at a club in Denver called Bender’s Tavern. Other than the obvious mishaps and sloppiness of a first show, it was actually not that bad. I just remember the energy of that night. We had literally been playing together for about six months before we ever set foot on a stage. Needless to say, we were out of our minds excited for it. The show went very well and the response was great. One of the bands we opened for that night was impressed that it was our first show, which gave us confidence that we were on to something. When it was all over, we just wanted to get up there and do it again.

I think since that first show we have really just found out who we are on stage as a band. That energy is something you develop and tweak over time. Our show is a lot smoother now as well…we transition from song to song and Patrick has become very comfortable interacting with the audience and engaging them. Like I said earlier, we are constantly trying to get better…ask me this question again in a year and I will probably tell you how much better we are than we are today.

PEV: What can fans expect from your highly anticipated sophomore EP “Please Ambitious Please”?

I think the new EP really spans a large dynamic landscape. There is the poppy up-tempo stuff like “I Don’t Want You Anymore” and then there is the polar opposite in a song like “Quiet Things.” We really tried to explore the emotion in the songs and translate it so that the listener had a moving response to the music. That is our end goal with everything we create…we hope that it can affect the listener the way our favorite music affects us.

I think “Please, Ambitious, Please” has a lot to offer…and it takes a few listens to really begin to understand the different dynamics of what is happening. But that is the best kind of music–the kind that grows on you over time until it is a favorite in your collection.

PEV: How is this different from your past projects?

Naturally, we learn from our mistakes. We all have a soft spot in our heart for “Girl From the Ivory Coast.” We were all proud of it when we released it. But at the end of the day, there are things that we wish we could have changed and things that we learned from “Ivory Coast” that helped us get closer to the music we wanted to make for the new EP.

With the first one, we felt kind of rushed to get it out. We didn’t have any recorded material and the pressure was on to put some out. We were also a young band, and I think the performances show it…we were still figuring each other out as musicians. I think that with “Ambitious” the songs are much more refined and cohesive. We were also able to spend a lot more time on this disc…tweaking stuff, re-recording tracks, to get it where we thought it needed to be. The growth that we’ve shown on this EP is significant.

With that said, we still want to do things better next time…and I think we will.

PEV: How would you describe the sound of Fiance`?

I think we are a piano-based mix of indie rock and brit pop. There is a huge British influence in our music…but we also have this very American honky-tonk piano thing happening in a lot of our music. We are constantly experimenting with intricate arrangements and orchestrations both musically and with vocal harmonies. In short, we hope our sound is “good music.”

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of Fiance`?

When we take breaks from writing and rehearsing we do it by playing Frisbee. We play in parking lots, we play in parks, and we play on tour. Fiance` loves Frisbee.

PEV: The name of the band, Fiance`, is unique. How did you come up with that?

Our band’s name is actually inspired by a picture that was taken in 1976. It is the picture that we used as the cover of our new EP “Please, Ambitious, Please.” The picture is of a man jumping with all his limbs spread out…very joyful looking. The man was Patrick’s mother’s Fiance`. They did not marry…but the picture remained and 30 some-odd years later inspired the name of our band.

PEV: What one word best describes Fiance`?

Sincerity.

PEV: How is life on the road for you? Best and worst parts?

We LOVE life on the road. The worst part is that we have to come home and go back to every day life. We all feel so lucky to be able to travel around the county (and hopefully some day the world) and play our music every night. Although we are cramped into a small little van and sleeping on floors, it is worth it to us. If we could do it constantly, we would in an instant.

PEV: In all your travels, which has been your favorite city to play (US or International)?

I think so far we have had the most fun in Omaha, NE. We have not had the chance to tour except for regionally around Colorado, but the people and response in Omaha has been fantastic. It is now on our list of places that we will play numerous times a year.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

For the most part, they have been so supportive. It is a great feeling when your family and friends support you in a career like music because it is so easy for them to take the stance that we are dreamers…or unrealistic pursuing a life in music. The clichŽ is to hear “when are you going to get a real job??!!” But everyone we know on a personal level has been truly supportive. The best part is that the people close to us really believe in us. We don’t have the pity support…but genuine backing from our families and friends because they believe in our music. We all feel really lucky in that respect.

PEV: What can we find the members of Fiance` doing in your spare time?

As I mentioned before, we love to toss the Frisbee. We also have gone on several bowling outings together…we are quite the ‘lane masters’ if you know what I mean. We also recently found our inner ‘old men’ and went to the driving range…I think that Fiance` could become a team of super golfers in the future.

PEV: Which artist would be your dream collaboration?

I would imagine that we would all answer this question a bit differently. But if there were one artist that would be a dream of all of ours to work with it would be probably be Lennon or McCartney. Obviously, working with one of those individuals will never happen…but you never know about the other. Anything can happen.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band you think we should all be looking out for?

We meet and play with a lot of great bands while we are on tour. On this last tour we met a band called Gazelles. They are out of Denton, TX…we were blown away by their live show. People should definitely keep an eye out for those guys.

PEV: What is your take on today’s mainstream music scene?

I think there is some great music being made right now. On the opposite end of things, there is some really watered-down crap too. The industry is in all kinds of upheaval. From a business perspective, I understand why the labels are less interested in artist development and long term “career artists” and more willing to sign vanilla one-hit wonders that can make them some money and be easily dropped when the spotlight fades. But the music that becomes mainstream out of that mentality really suffers because of that methodology. In the end, I think labels will still be around. It is hard to imagine exposing the world to music without some kind of larger marketing machine behind the artists. But the major label system that has been in place for decades now is fading fast. I think indie labels that aren’t looking to post massive multi-million dollar corporation style profits are the wave of the future. In my opinion, the smaller labels that take on only a few artists that they really believe in and treat those artists like family are the one’s who will build great music and careers that benefit both the label and the artist. I hope in that trend, the music will begin to be more of a priority again…not just the thought “Can artist X sell Pepsi products?”

PEV: Ten years down the road, where will Fiance` be?

I hope that we are still writing and playing music together. We want to travel not only in the US…but also around the world playing our music…and in ten years I hope we will have done that.

PEV: So, what is next for the band?

We are going to spend most of 2008 supporting our new EP through shows and touring. We will most certainly continue to write and not only “road-test” our new songs for audiences, but also begin work on our next recording. We don’t ever spend very long out of the studio environment.

For more information on Fiance`, check out www.FianceMusic.com

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