Interview with First of the Last Stars
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
We both had different journeys into music. Gareth is a classically trained guitarist who was drawn to punk rock and played in a punk band in BC. Ophelie was introduced to music growing up by siblings and trained to be a ballet dancer. We both make music in our free time. If not this, we would be doing something to challenge ourselves in some other way. We would definitely have more downtime from our day jobs.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Between the two of us, we like to spend time with family, time in nature, read, and stay active. We try to find ways to connect to ourselves. When we’re detached, too focused on routine, it hinders creativity.
How long has your band been around?
FOTLS has been together since 2019.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re based out of Ottawa, but grew up on the West Coast and Montréal. The Smalls from out West were a big influence. And being francophone provides a different lyrical perspective. We’re influenced by bands who push boundaries like The Velvet Underground, Jane’s Addiction, Joy Division, Radiohead, and The Smile.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
The name is inspired by a song called First of the Last Glaciers by Montreal band Godspeed You! Black Emperor. For us, First of the Last Stars has a sense of longing or nostalgia, mixed with hope for things to come.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
They’re coming soon. We just put together a full band and are in the middle of rehearsals.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
We would love to play a music festival.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
If we’re dreaming, then it would be Alvvays, The Smile, and Jane’s Addiction.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
It takes patience. Creating good music isn’t something that can be rushed. And it requires the ability to let go of an idea and try different things. Collaboration takes trust, respect, and setting aside egos. Building that takes time. If you find these qualities in other band members, keep at it.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
I think we would tell ourselves that yes, we can actually do this! But expect to put in a lot of hard work.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
That’s a tough one. They each have their own meaning. They come from our lived experiences, so we feel through each of them. Some have to do with real loss. Those are probably the most meaningful.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Off our first EP, our favourites to play right now are Never Alone and Wrong Star - the energy build is so much fun. We’ll have to get back to you to see which get requested the most at our shows.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Our music is inspired by our life experiences. Some songs come about quickly, fully formed, while others need more collaboration, and more time to come together. Our process is pretty fluid and flexible.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Our lyrics mean something (different) to each of us. We try to write them in a way that listeners can interpret them for themselves and be moved. If we can attain that, we’ve succeeded.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
So far we’re both still standing! We park our egos and let each other work out the song before intervening. We’re aware of the other person’s strengths and our own. Not taking things personally also helps.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We’re getting ready to play venues with a full band, and we’re almost done writing our next album. We’ll be releasing it in the not-so-distant future.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
The best way is to check our website for updates, www.firstofthelaststars.com, sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on social media. We’re most active on Instagram and Facebook (@firstofthelaststars).