New release ‘felt natural’

Montreal band The Famines try paper release format on latest album, excited to play Princess Café on April 9

The independent music scene is experiencing quite the nostalgic revival. With growing vinyl and cassettes sales, many bands are returning to their roots to create a more personal and interactive experience for their fans.

Montreal’s The Famines have taken a more minimalistic, creative and lower-risk approach for their new release. On April 9 the punk outfit will be hosting a release party for their very first paper single.

Singer and guitarist Raymond Biesinger, who juggles work as a musician and successful illustrator, has designed a 20-by-30 newsprint that will serve as a companion piece to their two new singles. Much like a vinyl single release, the poster is double sided to signify a-side and b-side singles.

“The thing with vinyl is that it can get really expensive and can take up to 30 weeks to deliver … We found a company in the U.K. that did newsprints and had good turnaround,” said Biesinger.

Drummer Drew Demers echoed Biesinger’s sentiment in regards to the recent difficulties of releasing music today.

“The music industry is very ADD — you can listen for 89 seconds and decide whether you like the music … it’s a lot more difficult to release material and things like cassettes are very time consuming,” he said.

Biesinger indicated the associated risk with selling vinyl was very high. Given if a band was unable to sell all units, they’d be stuck with quite the financial burden.

All things considered Demers and Biesinger said the decision to release a paper single “felt very natural.”

When touching on the new sound of their upcoming singles, Biesinger recalled the band’s past releases.

“I always want to say a lot in my music, but in the past lyrics were often unintelligible, which has been a major hurdle to overcome,” Biesinger said.

With the new release, Biesinger hoped to bring clarity to the message he delivers in the new songs by cleaning up the vocal tracks.

He describes the a-side “Stay Home Club” as “freak-beat garage” while b-side “Who Wants Disarmament?” as “slow and doomish.”

Biesinger also touched on the band’s shift in musical aggression and the textural differences from their past work.

“The new songs are far more musically like ‘the threat of violence,’ not the explicit act of violence, which was present on a lot of our past work,” said Biesinger.

Relatively new to The Famines line-up is drummer Demers. The Kingston native joined the band just over a year ago after the geographical difference between Biesinger and then-drummer Garrett Heath Kruger forced the pair to split. While Biesinger lived in Montreal, Kruger lived in Edmonton — the whopping 3,597 kilometre difference made for a challenging creative experience.

Now based in Montreal, the pair is gearing up to release the band’s first materiel since 2011. In addition to the paper release, the band will be releasing another pair of singles in June, along with an LP planned for release later this year.

The band will also be touring throughout Canada, with a string of dates in the Canadian prairies, including an appearance at MoSoFest in Saskatoon and one at Ottawa Explosion.

In a lengthy coast-to-coast tour, one of the most exciting dates is happening right around the corner when the band visits Princess Café on April 9.

“There’s something about playing in smaller venues where you feel this effervescence that everyone is together,” Demers said.

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