By Kennedy Pawluk
EDMONTON – New(ish) art-pop rock trio Fitness are exploring body awareness on their new album titled ‘ing’ (pronounced “dashing). With the over-arching sentiment “bodies are weird,” in mind, the conversation was physical. Guitarist and lead singer Keanan Swan-Azmon went along with the concept.
“I mean Fitness plays into that body concept, body image and how our bodies don’t really belong to us,” explains Swan-Azmon.
“We’re constantly being bombarded with ideas about how to present our bodies, what our bodies should look like and how they fail to meet that standard.”
The strength in Fitness lies in their ability to find melody (and extremely catchy hooks) within relative chaos. Their live set contains peaks in energy, where Swan-Azmon appears to be losing his lid, but in a moment’s notice drops to emotional catharsis, leaving the audience with an understanding into the frontman’s psyche in a stunningly dynamic twist.
Drummer Sam Leuck met Swan-Azmon in Medicine Hat through a few fruitless jams. After both moving to Edmonton several years later, they found bass player Devin Murphy-Hopp, who fit in perfectly.
Fitness’s sound is largely shaped through dissonance, complex rhythms and the openness for experimentation.
“I think a lot of the songs are very personal, passionate and emotional,” reveals Swan-Azmon.
“But also, at least for me, there’s two voices competing in the songs. There’s someone who’s like, ‘I’m suffering look at my pain and all these things.’ Then there’s someone, this sort of voice that’s trying to remind. I’m trying to remind myself that my pain is very specific to a context and not as grand as I like to think of it at times. So grappling with sincerity, trying to be sincere but always reminding yourself.”
“For me I really found Keanan’s song writing has very challenging rhythms, and I found that’s left me with a lot of room to experiment,” adds Leuck.
“As opposed to playing in a garage rock band, which is something I’ve done in the past. This feels way more like, as a three-piece we each have a little more of an individual voice which I really like about it.”
With a lack of constriction among the members in the band and a fraught approach to avoiding one certain genre, Fitness may not explicitly write about the human form but they embody a positive mentality going forward.
“Maybe Fitness is more than being in good shape and kind of more about being happy and healthy,” concludes Leuck.
Fitness’ highly anticipated debut album will be released digitally and on cassette at the Buckingham on Friday, Feb. 23 (Edmonton). The show will also feature performances by local emotional rockers Wares and Lethbridge post-punks Wint.Buckingham, Fitness, Wares, Wint