By Willow Herzog
Yes We Mystic are a Winnipeg treasure; a band whose cinematic and touching orchestral pop transforms from sweet and delicate in one moment to pummelling in the next. After becoming friends in childhood, the band was formed when vocalist/guitarist Adam Fuhr and mandolin/synth player Keegan Steele formed a sprawling seven-piece ragtag “Arcade Fire wannabe band” in high school.
The project later dissolved but the sentiment did not. Yes We Mystic was born, and since then they’ve perfected their grandiose sound over multiple releases. Though various members have come and gone, keyboardist/cellist/vocalist Jodi Plenert and drummer Jordon Ottenson currently round them out. Violinist/synthesizer player/guitarist Jensen Fridfinnson played his first show with the group this July.
Recently signed to DuckDevil Records, Yes We Mystic is looking to further expand their vision. These art rock transformers not only focus on the music; they are a self-proclaimed “art collective” that adds extra conceptual layers to their music. On 2016’s epic and tragic Forgiver, the group literally created an art piece hotline advertised through a postering campaign in nine Canadian cities that simply stated “WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UNABLE TO FORGIVE?” alongside a number to text. They received hundreds of responses that were then shared anonymously on Twitter. Earlier in their career, they also did a Winnipeg postering campaign around their 2015 two-track releases Vestige, featuring a portrait of an unknown man with no information contained.
Musically, the band’s vision is broad. With the integration of numerous instruments like ukulele, banjo, cello, violin, and trumpet, they’ve explored multiple avenues. There’s still a few things left they’d like to do, though… even if it’s a hypothetical. Like collaborating with iconic singer/songwriter Paul Simon.
“His words are like chocolate in your mouth,” enthuses Fuhr. “The way the syllables fit together, nonsense, but good to say. Good to say and also something special to say.”
Despite occasionally daydreaming of big things, the group strives to tie greater connections to their work and interact on a human level.
“We aim to communicate the emotions related to universal human behaviours,” says Fuhr. “But while elevating them into these huge, grandiose tidal waves of drama in an attempt to overwhelm the listener and steep them in powerful and sometimes unfamiliar feelings, which we hope will have the effect of self discovery.”
Yes We Mystic is heading back on the road after a six-month stretch of staying put, the longest they’ve gone without a tour since 2013. These well-seasoned performers have more than 100 shows in 10 countries under their belts, so it’s a show not to miss. Their live show swells with intensity, concentration, and passion.
Yes We Mystic perform August 8 at the Aviary (Edmonton), August 10 at the Palomino (Calgary) and August 15 at the Rickshaw Theatre (Vancouver).
Yes We Mystic play on August 8 at the Aviary (Edmonton), August 9 at Bo’s Bar and Grill (Red Deer), and August 10 at the Palomino (Calgary)Rickshaw, The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club, Yes We Mystic