Canadian rock band Favorite Enemies will play 13 huge shows in China in May 2011. The band have played in Japan and Indonesia before so should receive an awesome reception from Chinese fans, especially as their first show is the Zebra Festival in Sichuan.
Your Favorite Enemies - China Tour - May 2011
4.30 Chengdu Zebra Music Festival，
5.2 Beijing Midi Music Festival,
5.5 Xinxiang - Ark Livehouse，
5.6 Zhengzhou - 7 Livehouse
5.7 Wuhan - VOX
5.8 Shenghai Midi Music Festival
5.12 Shenzhen- Brown Sugar Bar
5.13 Hong Kong - Hidden Agenda Live
5.14 Guangzhou - Tekkwen Livehouse
5.15 - Foshan - AD Livehouse
5.20 Hangzhou - Code Space with The Phoenix Prestige
5.21 Beijing - Mao Live House, with Subs and The OnFires
1. Please talk about your band's name. You've said there was everything and anything in this name. But I wonder if it included a kind of opposition to inhumanity, especially for the word Enemies?
It’s funny, because many people are wondering what You Favorite Enemies is about or what to expect from a band having such an intriguing name! For us, there are many ways to approach such questions without becoming some kind of philosopher… lol… In the band, we all come from different places but all have one point in common… we had to fight fears of all kind, insecurities of all kind, doubts of all kind, miseries of all kind… And when we first opened up about those, we realized that our favorite enemies are those very same feelings we had to fight… but quite surprisingly, it’s hard to let go of them all at once. In many ways, we realized that all those feelings were our favorite enemies. And in many ways, human nature is pretty much our favorite enemy; it’s hard to fight our nature. But we believe we can grow out of it if we stop feeding those feelings of despair… there’s hope!
2. I would admire your commitment towards human rights. But the question is, do you think that was good for you because people firstly know you by your attitude, not music?
I believe that the true value of an artist’s music resides in the nature of the artist himself. When you attend a Your Favorite Enemies concert, you do understand pretty quickly that nature of who we are as artists… We believe that if your music is not worth dying for, well, it means that you are just another irrelevant artist, like so many these days… We may be known for many things, good or bad, but one thing is for sure: every one knows that Your Favorite Enemies is one of a few bands to actually live what they are talking about. We are musically dying every time we are on stage and we are living the moment to the fullest! There’s no safety zone, there’s no statusquo… it’s all about being real! Time is too short to build a warm and safe cocoon to live into… life creates life!!!
3. How's your label Hopeful Tragedy Records? Did it sign any other artists?
Creating our own label has been the most important decision we ever made. Not because we are against major labels or corporations, but because it was the most genuine way for us to live up to our community values, to be closer to our fans, to create without any commercial filters or any external intervention. Basically, it was the most genuine way to take ownership of who we are and what we believe in… Many people thought we were crazy when we decided to start our own label! I think that once again, fear of failure should never dictate the direction you are taking as an artist … nor insecurities of creating your own way if the path in front of you isn’t the one you want… Again, life is short; it’s all about having a vision! Ambition can kill a man’s dream, but a vision will define its colors. That’s how we see life in general and that’s how we deal business in particular… As for signing other bands, we need to be fans of bands if we want to sign them… but most of the time, we are helping those bands to start their own label, based on who they are and not based on how to copy someone else to have success! We did help a lot of bands along the way… we should have signed some of them! We would have made a fortune! But it’s not about the money… it’s about art!!!
4. You created your own label, produced the YFE-TV Channel, developed your different websites, wrote songs, produced your albums and so on. Which means you had too much time and energy. But how could you?
Good question! Passion is definitely part of the answer! A real commitment and a total dedication as well! But we are privileged enough to have a wonderful team with us, all good friends, as crazy as we are - and some even more! We are a family, and every project we’ve got is based on the involvement of every single one of us. So, I guess the secret of it all remains the true engagement we’ve all got towards our vision… ambition is the enemy…
I don’t know the reasons for the other bands, could be economic, could be commercial, I don’t know… the reasons could be numerous! But as for Your Favorite Enemies, everything is based on our strong relationship with our Japanese fans, based on our commitment to share passion for art, life and compassion, based on a true desire to know each other… it’s not economical, it’s not commercial and it’s not about stardom! It’s truly a love affair with our Japanese fans, which is the same reason we are touring all over
6. You wrote songs for the video game Final Fantasy. Talk a bit about it. Are you fans of video games?
We are all huge fans of video games, but we have to admit that some members of the band are more crazy about games than others! And when we are saying crazy, it means CRAZY crazy! As an example, Ben, the bass player of the band, probably spent more hours playing Final Fantasy games than he spent in school! So to say that Ben was totally obsessed by the game is totally true! When we received the offer to write songs for the game, it was a natural association for us. The process was great, especially that we were able to actually give the soul of the game through the music… so that was a real opportunity for us not only to put our artistic imprint on one of the most important game of our generation, but to actually connect with people on another level, to lay down the soundtrack of a dream collectively lived all over the planet. It was really a wonderful artistic experience for us. And to be honest, even if we are always very solicited to write songs for video games, being fans of these games still remains the only criteria for us to contribute! Otherwise, it’s only commerce and commerce doesn’t have a soul! But as Ben would say; we love so many games that it’s never been a problem! Yeah, he’s still a kid!!!
7. Billboard Magazine named you as one of the top 5 bands to watch out for in 2008. What did that mean to you?
It means: “wow, 2008, it’s so 3 ago… already… time goes fast!”… I’m just kidding! At the time, we were setting up our label and getting organized on every level so we didn’t quite react to be honest. It was more of a major story to people outside of our world. It was a big news for many people, but as I said, time goes by very fast and if you stop enjoying yourself because other people think you are the next big thing, it means you are only a flavor of the month. You are just like that new toy offered at McDonald… you are plastic and due date… But yeah, it was flattering to know we were mentioned in the Billboard. It’s funny because they kept talking about the band ever since they first talked about us, while we just kept working hard to create our own story! We never waited for anyone! I think others, more than us, still think of us growing up like a big thing… like if people were saying: “hey, the guy my parents never allowed me to play music with because he looked like bad news is a star now”… so that’s funny! It’s the “those guys won’t never make it” ultimate joke of all! Our biggest thing always remained the people telling us that we are a little bit of the spark they needed to create their own story and to work on their own dreams… the rest is nothing but pure ego and ego doesn’t create anything but regrets and remorse, especially when you realize how easy it is to fool yourself into believing you are the coolest band in the whole world! I rather be myself… no regrets, no remorse!!!
8. Now, do the same thing! Could you recommend some bands to watch out for in 2011?
That’s such an unfair question! Do you know how many friends will call us, write us and get back at us if I forget to mention their names? And believe me, I’ve got a lot of friends and they will call, write and get back at us! They might even call you directly to try to add their names!
9. You recently acquired a recording studio and was preparing for your next album. How's it going now?
It’s fantastic! We’ve been looking for a long time to acquire a place that would allow us to do what we want! We’ve got 2 professional studios, a rehearsing space equipped with recording facilities, an incredible multi media room, a graphic department and enough space for every members of the team! We are very fortunate to say the least! And the parking is almost big as an American football field… And there’s a wonderful park filled with trees and flowers… If I had time to put a foot outside the studio, I would say that it’s great to enjoy the outdoor opportunities we’ve got!
But I guess that’s a little bit of the dark side of having our own studio; it’s hard to stay away from the control room! There’s no clock ticking, so we can experiment as much as we want and we can work at turning noises into sounds. We can take time without wasting time. We are always keeping the emergency of creation alive… Otherwise, when you overthink or overproduce, you kill the essence of art and eventually lose yourself into soulless creations…
10. Was the studio rebuilt from a former church? Did this holy space give you any inspiration to write songs?
Yes, it used to be a Catholic Church. It’s a very special building, very artistic. That’s why we decided to build the studio while keeping the uniqueness of the architecture and the spirit alive. We recently learned that our church has been built by an eccentric and modern priest who wanted to reach out to the youth without the heavy dogmas of religion. I guess it was truly destined for a rock band to craft music in! It’s inspiring, but not in a way people might think. There’s a lot of natural lights coming inside. It’s peaceful without being dead. And for us, the center of the room is the middle of all the pews, where people used to sit. It’s not even on the stage, that used to be called the Holy place. For us, the holy place is right in the middle of the people… a fabulous place that is! But you need to visit to fully understand. You’re invited, just knock at the door! Follow the loud music, it’s easy to find!!!
11. While we are on the subject of album, would this new work be your debut or third one? Cause your previous two works were considered as EP, right? If so, you guys were so lazy!
At least some of us were lazy! Seriously, I think it’s difficult to look back at the albums we released without considering a little bit of the madness that quickly arose when we started. We found ourselves on a fast train and decided to stop the circus for a while. Otherwise, we would have been turned into some kind of new buzz band and would have lost any possibilities to root the band based on our core values; people are no costumers, art is no commodity, empathy is no commerce and soul is not for sale. Every time we release a song, an EP, an LP or whatever other format, for us, it’s the sonic snapshot of a moment. We’ve been through so many things since we started the band, so we’ve got quite a lot of songs! And enough upcoming musical projects for you guys to say: “what, you’re still touring in
12. I personally like the song No Time Left For Confusion. It seems that you like to use acoustic instruments?
We actually love to craft music based on the moments we are going through, no barriers or limits. We are a very intense live band… but we don’t want to caricature or to abuse art in order to fit some kind of rock n roll cliché. The quietest whisper could be the loudest sound of all if it’s created with a real meaning. There’s so much gimmick in the music business right now… Soul remains the center of what we craft. You can transform the world with an acoustic guitar! But we do love creating electric chaos in the mist of it all! So we have the best of both worlds! That’s the power of being free to create according to your spirit and not according to what people are expecting or how you want others to portray you. It’s not “whatever fits”. It’s always a matter of being honest with yourself; “is it real?”
13. Emo is dead, don't you think so?
I don’t know… is it??? For us, those etiquettes are created in order to sell products, not to define soul in any way. Was Chuck Berry rock n roll??? Led Zeppelin hard rock??? The Sex Pistols punk??? Nirvana grunge??? For me, there’s only 2 categories of music: REAL OR PLASTIC. REAL music is based on the emergency to create, and from that creation, life is created and transformation is emerging. As for the PLASTIC music, well, it’s a product assembled to generate profit; it’s faceless, soulless, spiritless and heartless… the nature of Plastic music is to sustain status-quo in order to generate more profit out of the very same piece of crap.
14. Any plans to make some musical change afterwards? Or you never thought you were Emo band? So, whatever people say!
I don’t think music is something you plan. When your music is REAL, it’s always evolving because it’s not based on trend or cool. It’s shaped from who we are at the moment of creation. It’s defined by what you are experiencing at the moment of crafting. It’s emerging from your soul, not from a well thought plan to fit the charts and to get along with the radio format. In many ways, it’s not “whatever people say”, it’s “whatever people feel”! As crazy as it can be, when you share the moment with people in a concert, it’s all about what you experience when you listen to the music. If it’s real, it will last forever. If it’s plastic, you will change the radio channel or quickly go to the next thing…
15. What about the independent film directed by yourselves? What it's about?
See, we are not too lazy after all! That film has been a very important project for the band. It’s about the emancipation of what’s keeping people away from their dreams. It’s about being dead like millions of others, feeding ourselves with the lies of living the dream when we are actually slaves to our fear of living. It’s about letting go and breaking free from our own illusions. As we are becoming more conscious of the emotional fraud we became, bigger the lies of happiness need to be… It’s about living the moment and facing the fears coming with it. We live in a world of illusions, crafted to keep the status-quo aligned with the profit of people truly living the dream (or an illusion of their own. It’s not a rebel artwork or some silly political call-up. It’s a celebration of life! Do I sound excited? Yes! I am!!!
16. This year is the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind. Was that a deep influence on you? Or you nevermind the Nevermind?
It’s impossible for me to look back at my life without recalling the rupture that caused Nevermind in my life. There’s before and after. The Clash, The Pistols, Minor Threat and a few other bands had a major impact on me. They somehow opened the way to that “big bang” of my own when Nevermind came my way. Suddenly, music was REAL again! And as REAL music do, it creates life and it transforms. So in that matter, it changed the course of my life in a very important way. REAL music holds that power. And that album. Nevermind, was that REAL… at least for me it was.
17. Well, you gonna start your
We are very excited about it! We’ve been envisioning that moment for a long time, to be honest! We had a Chinese Community of fans almost from the very beginning of the band! So it’s no accident if we insisted to travel in cities where international bands do not usually perform. We were invited to festival first but we wanted to be with the people. There’s nothing like playing in clubs to get to know the true nature of a city and the people defining it. That’s one of the reasons why we’re so excited. To be with the people is to speak a common language. It’s to get back to what truly matters. And when you’re real, it’s easy to understand each other.
We do know what needs to be known about Chinese Rock Music. It’s loud, it’s fast and most of all, it’s ALIVE and REAL…
18. If not, why don't you ask me a question about it?
Does it mean you are ready to follow us on tour and teach me? That would be amazing!!!