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The Frontiers: A Need to Create

Monday 20th, March 2017 / 18:26
By Taylor Odishaw-Dyck

Alt-country inspired act release debut album after cutting their teeth on the road.
Photo: Mark Preston

CALGARY – 2016 brought about a lot of changes for The Frontiers – including a name change and a shift in sonic identity. Four members left the band in the spring of 2015, and two new members cycled in through the coming months. They added Jeff Towers on percussion in late 2015, and brought aboard guitarist and producer Mike Fournier early in 2016. When the dust settled, they got down to work. Lead songwriter Drew Jones, violinist Mike Kissinger, stand-up bassist Ethan Dalen, and the two new members went on to perform 86 gigs that year, including 42 from June to August. “We create value based on how much we can gig,” states Jones, over pints at the Kensington Pub.  “Recording was an afterthought,” he continues.  The fact is, the band was sitting on over a dozen songs ready to record. All they needed was a nudge of ambition from their newest member, Mike Fournier, as he offered to record an EP for them at Slaughter House Studios, where he rents out a recording space. They decided to record the entire album live-off-the-floor – a true testament to the cohesion of their live set.

“After listening to the takes over and over, I noticed that muting the vocals really cleaned up the feedback in the session, so we decided to re-track the vocals one by one in my home studio,” states Fournier, explaining the refining stages of this ambitious 10-hour project. They only ended up using 5 of their 10 allotted studio hours, due to the fact that they nailed each track by the third or fourth time through. Their lead single, “Man of Steel,” was actually nailed in the first take. Jones and Towers credit The Avett Brothers, an American alt-country band as their main source of inspiration for the tightness of their live set, stating that “though [the] songs are formalized, we leave a lot of room for live improvisation.”

In speaking with Jones, Towers, and Fournier, it’s easy to realize that their musical chemistry stems from their everyday life. The group would finish each other’s sentences as they reminisced on their inclusive band philosophy.  “Nobody is the star… It’s not about one person,” agreed Towers and Fournier. “We line ourselves up on stage in a half-circle; we want to make sure our philosophy shows through,” adds Jones. The digital edition of their new release Enough is Enough, is available now on Bandcamp, and they have just announced that their album release show will go down at Broken City in late March, with support from Fig and the Flame, and The Dearhearts.

The album is packed with breathtaking violin scales, intense vocal harmonies, and honest lyricism: “It’s been a while, but now I’ve finally figured out just where I’m going.”These guys are no longer messing around, as they intend to take their music to the next level. Enough is Enough was chosen as their album title to reiterate this mindset. “This is a DIY project in pure form,” states Towers. “Anything within our reach, we take care of ourselves.” They can talk the talk, and the trail behind them backs up their confidence. In 2015, they sold out a previous album release show at The Palomino under their old moniker, Sealegs, and sold out of their physical CDs soon after.

“Whether you get noticed for it, or you don’t, you still create it,” states Fournier, then stepping back to let Jones finish the thought. “When that need to create is meshed with a response from the community, that’s when shit gets real.”

Catch The Frontiers as they release Enough is Enough alongside Fig and The Flame and The Dearhearts at Broken City, March 24th.

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