Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Your Favorite Enemies

Your Favourite Enemies
On May 20th, Montreal alternative-rock sextet Your Favorite Enemies will release their latest record Between Illness And Migration in Canada. After playing multiple festivals and shows across the globe, the band will play Toronto’s Hard Rock Café at 11:00pm tonight as part of Canadian Music Week. Before hitting the stage, read our brand-new interview with Your Favorite Enemies as we chat about leaps of faith, culture shock, loving festivals, and almost getting arrested.

AMBY: Hello Your Favorite Enemies, welcome to our site. Please introduce yourselves to our readers.

Your Favorite Enemies:Thank you so much for having us! It’s always a humbling privilege for us to have the opportunity to share about the band, since for us, Your Favorite Enemies have always been so much more than a rock band. It’s truly a family for us! Yes, we’re a six-piece noise-psych-shoegaze and prog kind of rock band from and still based in Montreal, but we could resolutely be defined by our profound community values and our defying DIY ethos. We first got together in 2006, like so many other bands, in some 70’s outdated Mexican inspired basement (that basement still looks the same, it’s too much of a cliché to touch anything!). Music started as a way to survive and slowly became a way to live and commune. Let’s say it has always been far from being a 5-year plan to conquer the world in the name of any self-promoted stardom make-believes! YFE have always been 6 completely different individuals taking a chance to be “one” in order to give life to something greater than themselves… good or bad… as long as it’s genuine and real. That probably explains why we’re always with one another and why our team consists of our very best friends… and that’s the true blessing we’ve got, being together!

AMBY: How would you describe each member of the band in one word?

Your Favorite Enemies: I love being the one answering such questions, even if I implacably have to give the other members of the band very good explanations – also known as illusionary excuses – about my answers! Looks like none of them loves having Poison or White Lion as their favorite band! Sorry Sef and Ben! There’s no win… either you run, either you shy away! So let’s face it… worst case scenario would be for me to ulteriorly ask you for an interview in order to find myself a new band or a couch to crash onto…

Alex: Tidal-Baudelairean, Sef: Obnoxiously-Self-Anointed, Jeff: Positively-Upbeat, Ben: So-So-Soft-Metal (with a deep voice, please!), Miss Isabel Delicately-Raging, Moose: Intense-Relax-Intense-Relax-Intense-Relax-Repeat… Slooooowly.

AMBY: You release your new album Between Illness and Migration this month in Canada. What’s the significance behind the album’s title?

Your Favorite Enemies: It’s a leap of faith. A moment by which even the contemplation of my illusions and make-believes wasn’t enough to cover the shadows of my self-alienated desperation. Holding on to my illness instead of letting go and assuming to “be”. That acknowledgement leads to an invitation to be free, to migrate, following even the smallest of all lights, that halo shining at your feet. And again, you’re invited to take a chance…

AMBY: Which songs off the record are your personal favourites?

Your Favorite Enemies: It’s always difficult to determine which songs would be our favourite ones as they’re all so personal and intimate. But if there’s one song to be identified as the album’s corner stone, it would most definitely be “From The City To The Ocean”. It perfectly represents the nature of what “Between Illness And Migration” is truly about… a journey through the self-deceptions and high hopes living within ourselves.

AMBY: Having toured in multiple cities across the globe, has there ever been a time you’ve felt culture-shock?

Your Favorite Enemies: We just came back from a 3-week tour all over China. Even if that was our third time touring that amazing country, I would say that our encounters with public toilets still remain a culture shock. Little image: 4 little holes in the ground without any separating walls. The first time is quite shocking. But let’s face it, what a wonderful way to make new friends! “Hello, how are you? I’m Alex… I’m from Canada… What’s your name? Nice to meet you… Do you mind if we wait a little to shake hands? I don’t want to lose my balance right now”. We could do a whole interview only on culture-shock! But one thing is for sure, everywhere we’ve been, we’ve always had an amazing time! Proof that people, not politics of authorities, truly define a nation… and that’s true, from Texas to Chongqing…

AMBY: With everyone’s favourite season right around the corner, what’s your favourite part about playing festivals?

Your Favorite Enemies: Hanging out with people. That’s what we love. There’s no “real rock star only” kind of enclosure coop anymore, so we can share with other artists we’re fans of or become friends with others, as much as we can walk around with longtime fans and people who have just discovered the band. That’s the community spirit that we love. We still look at it all as magic. Some artists hate it, especially when they feel they need to do it, but for us, it’s always a blast… Whatever time of the day you play, whatever stage you’re on or the country you visit, if you’re there for the right reasons, there’s always a little something special and singular that comes out of it… every single time!

AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to the band while performing on stage?

Your Favorite Enemies: We were playing in Shanghai at the Midi Festival. It’s a very iconic festival, independent and very defying in its nature, which is already something in China. So we’re starting the show, and by the second song, I’m right in front of the crowd, standing on the security fence! Everybody’s getting very excited about someone jumping from the stage to go that close to the crowd, crowd that is well known for being quite the passionately crazy type! I got back on stage, took my super 8 camera and this time jumped in the crowd…! And I managed to go all over the 50 thousand something people that were there, while crowd surfing! The guys on stage were wondering where I was, having to perform what turned into a 20-minute improvised jam, before I resurfaced from the ocean of people. I will always remember the faces of the guys, confused, panicked and utterly worried… That was priceless! They still hate me for that I guess, but they had their payback! A few months later, while performing at the biggest music festival in Beijing, a major governmental festival televised all over China, I almost got arrested live for jumping off stage to simply go close to the crowd… Our soundman was telling me in my in-ears, through the screams of the producers, “Alex, you have 2 seconds to get back on stage, otherwise you’ll be prosecuted for rioting… It’s not a joke Alex! Get back on stage! NOW!”. I didn’t get arrested, but that segment wasn’t televised, I heard. “I fought the law and the law won”… at least, that time…!

AMBY: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Your Favorite Enemies: It’s a tricky question since Canada is truly our home. But let’s say second home… We all have different places, so our common ground would be Barcelona, Spain. We fell in love with the catalonian culture the second we set foot in the street. Sounds of laughter floating everywhere, all about being filled with the community spirit, people sharing their meals in the middle of the night, always ready to invite strangers to feel home… incredibly generous and welcoming people. Every time we tour in Europe, we have to find whatever reason there is to spend a few days in Barcelona! We already have our favorite local places…! It speaks loud about our deep affection for the city, which for us is always defined by its people.

AMBY: Lastly, what’s something about Your Favorite Enemies that nobody knows yet?

Your Favorite Enemies: During some festivals, one of the band’s crew often dressed up as Sef (the lead guitarist of the band), with a fake beard and everything that comes with it, and went side stage while pop bands were performing live, so as to appear on crowd pictures and videos! And Sef still doesn’t know we’ve been doing that! The secret is safe, Sef ain’t about reading that much! True story…

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Thank you Your Favorite Enemies, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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