You can't be totally immersed in the local Toronto rock scene without knowing Fade Awaays. The young group made up of Reid MacMaster, Sean Hackl, Duncan Briggs and Owen Wolff took the time after their set in Montreal to sit on the side of a sidewalk and discuss how writing as a band works, their multiple musical influences and how they're going to tour the world!
I guess we can start with why is there 2 ‘a’s in Fade Awaays?
Reid: Google availability. Anybody that looks up Fade Awaays with 2 ‘a’s; we’re going to be the first thing that comes up. Its a matter of making it easier for people to find out music.
How do you guys write the songs for the band?
Reid: Its very much a group thing, it's really a collaborative effort, we all have these similar influences and a lot of bands that we’ll listen to together and discover together like ‘oh yeah you guys should check this out’ or ‘we should all listen to this song’-maybe one person will bring a riff but I’d say 80-90% of the song comes when we’re all four of us in the basement writing and trying to build on a song as a collaborative effort
Sean: Usually just one of us would come to practice with a riff and we’ll build it off from that and we’ll sometimes have lyrics, sometimes we don’t and we just figure it out. Sometimes we just write random rap songs
Duncan: Its kind of funny too, like four months ago Owen was still fresh in the band so a lot of our energy was back into getting the set that we want to play tight. We weren’t really writing too many songs and then we recently got a manager and he was trying motivate us and tell us plans for the future and then after that meeting we went downstairs and wrote like 5 songs
Sean: Yeah, we’re finally starting to get new content so that’s really good!
So music first then lyrics?
Reid: Lyrics will generally come last because when a song is being built we try and base the vibe around something and get the whole feel of the song and from that we’ll think of what the song can be about; like what feelings are we getting from this. That’s for me, I can’t speak for you guys cause we’re all lyric writers but I mean, for me I kinda hear a song and think of a message from how the song is being built and base my lyrics around that.
One of your more popular songs is Voodoo Girl, who/what is that about?
Sean: I actually wrote this song the summer of grade 11 and I don’t know, its not about anyone in particular but I guess it definitely is a love song. I wrote it in one day at my cottage and I just sat down and wrote it. It came naturally, its about
Reid: Its kind of about a confusing love
Sean: To be honest its about not being able to function properly when you’re drunk. It kind of says it all, loving someone that you can’t have and trying to get to that person
Duncan: That’s so beautiful
What inspires you to write the lyrics?
Sean: Again, we’re all lyric writers so I think it comes differently. Personally, sometimes I’ll just have an idea, like usually the riff comes first then i’ll come up with the melody and then it’ll come with words but I try to be as creative and add emotion to the lyrics as possible
Duncan: Some songs end up going together too. Like we can have one song that we’re not going really far with and it just makes sense to put it with another song. Get Along was a mix of one of my riffs and one of Reid’s riffs that we couldn’t finish them further than what we had already written so we put them together
Reid: I find writing lyrics as a story is really easy and having a character arc and having a development in the lyrics-not so much like the characters in the lyrics, if there is any, but I find there needs to be a progression that the listener can hear and go along with, you know what I mean? I don’t know if that makes sense
Duncan: Every tune is different too, it just comes and goes naturally
I think this is a fun one, what music inspires you? Like what bands?
Reid: Oh my goodness.
Sean: I think in terms of influences for this band, I’d say people like Ty Segall have influenced a lot of our songs. Bands like Meatbodies even maybe
Reid: Twin Peaks I think is a big one. They’re the kind of band with multiple songwriters and singers and they have this garage rocky vibe that’s so much more about the fun for the audience and putting on a good show and its just rock n roll, its about a good time and making everybody feel accepted and having fun
Sean: Another band we’ve always looked up to is The Hives because they’re fucking awesome and we definitely aspire to put on an energetic show I think
Reid: Uh, The Beatles! We have been listening to a lot of The Beatles lately though. Especially being a band with multiple singers they’re a band that totally set the way for having a lot of creative minds in one project and being able to contribute to this one set thing that is put forward by the group. So yeah, The Beatles, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Together PANGEA, Fidlar, Oasis
Owen: The Strokes
Duncan: Cage The Elephant
Yeah, I was gonna say that you can kind of feel the Cage The Elephant
Reid: That’s sick!
Stefan: Yeah your voice is very much like Matt Shultz
Duncan: This is Stefan by the way
Reid: Stefan is our fifth member and guitar technician
Sean: He taught us how to play guitar
Reid: Yeah, rolls all our joints, he basically does everything for us
You guys are basically just fakes
Reid: Oh yeah, Stefan is the mastermind
Hahah, any other bands?
Owen: I was gonna say what I incorporate into my drumming is a lot of The Who and Led Zeppelin. I like playing sort of reminiscent of that old style of hard rock and roll because there’s a reason those records were as impactful as they were and a big part of that was the drums. Especially Led Zeppelin and The Who are some of the greatest and I just want to pull some of that back into the modern age.
You guys have been writing more, is there an EP or album coming soon?
Reid: We have some recording planned for the near future but what we’re thinking of doing is, we’re not feeling, not so much comfortable but like we don’t really feel like we want to release a debut album right now because a debut album is a really big staple in a band’s career and we want to be more focused on developing our sound and building our audience and work our way up and try to develop ourselves more as a band so we can become tight and start to write the songs we think can work for that
Owen: We just want to put as much work as we can into what we’re doing right now just to learn as much as we can about ourselves and how we record
Sean: Probably some singles coming in the spring or something
Reid: Yeah, like we have a lot of new songs which is nice and its nice to be in the position that we have all these new songs and a new direction that we can play with. We’re just in a really great position where we can think about it and plan what we want to do in the future and just develop ourselves and make being in a band, being in this band the best possible we can make it
What would your ideal tour look like?
Reid: Like kind of touring non-stop, like a little bit. I’ve never been to Europe so my goal is to go to Europe on tour and play music. And of course playing around the US and playing in New York would be super sick! We have a couple bands that we’ve become friends with over the past couple of months that offered us a couple New York shows for the next year and we’re trying to branch out to an American audience. Also, of course going to LA.
Owen: I really want to tour in Japan
Sean: Basically when we get a comfortable tour bus, a hot tub and tennis court
Reid: To be honest we just need a lot of money and we’ll be okay, so if we won the lottery we’d be set
Owen: We’d be the biggest rock and roll band of all times
Reid: Okay, honestly if we weren’t making any money but we got to go out and play for thousands of people every night that really want to hear our music, that’s the dream, that’s the real lottery
That’s so nice
Reid: We’re just a bunch of Canadian boys who just want to play rock and roll for the rest of our lives, it's really not that hard!
Where do you see this band going?
Sean: I think we’re trying to tour the world and play some sick festivals and release new music
Reid: Noel Gallagher said it best “if you’re not in it to try to be better than The Beatles, then what the hell are you doing?”
If you were a cover band what band would you be?
The Hives, The Strokes, The Beatles if we could ever pull it off
One song you’ll never get tired of
Reid: Fade Away by Twin Peaks
Owen: The World's Best American Band by White Reaper
What song comes on first when you put your phone on shuffle?
Duncan: Still Together by Mac DeMarco
Owen: Maxwell’s Silver Hammer by The Beatles
Reid: Drones In The Valley by Cage The Elephant
Sean: My Sunshine by Ty Segall
Check out Fade Awaay's music HERE
Photos by: Madison Green