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Interview with Friendly Giants
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I grew up in the Sixties musically speaking. Music was the primary mystical conveyance and magic carpet ride for a generation that was open-minded, experimenting like crazy on every level, and determined to break loose from the restrictions of an uptight society that for the most part stifled creativity and diversity. Although I always played music, listened to music, wrote songs, if I wasn’t a musician, I’d still be a writer. It was just always there. I observed a lot.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I also work in the film business and that keeps me busy. It’s a much bigger palette, expensive, and one doesn’t see the immediate results of one’s contribution. It takes a lot of people and collaboration to make a movie. This medium is where Art meets Commerce. There’s frequently a clash when that happens. Writing songs is much more immediate and personal for me, creatively speaking. Like the visual arts, you see or hear very quickly what you’ve just done. I like the immediacy of it.
How long has your band been around?
We have been collaborating for about two and half years. It’s actually a musical collective with people coming and going, working on songs together, doing solo projects, or trying to survive.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
I live in the village of Winlaw, Slocan Valley, Kootenays, British Columbia, on the side of a mountain, deep in the forest. This community has a lot of musicians, artistic and creative souls everywhere. In its own way, it’s like an art colony. It’s a very supportive place for creators and they are valued. I feel like whatever I do I’m in the right place at the right time of my life.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
We were Goats in Trees at one point. But I did a search and it turned out that the name was already taken twice over, at least. Friendly Giants (not to be confused with The Friendly Giant, a well-known Canadian TV personality), was very appealing because we are very friendly, not ego-driven, open-hearted, and musically giants because of that. Oh, the irony!
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Two of us were playing in a park last summer. I asked for a chair to sit on, and someone from the audience handed me an old campfire-style canvas chair. I sat in it and promptly fell through a rip, straight onto the stage floor with my guitar up around my ears! I tried to struggle and stand up, but the chair was stuck to my butt. See? We’re giants in our own minds!
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Where we live is deep country, and there are no serious venues. The plan is to release an album in 2023 and hit the festival circuit.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Oh boy! There is a group called Moontricks, and another called Shred Kelly. They have an audience I’d like to reach with our music.
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?
The ‘music business’ is not music. To my younger self? Don’t worry about what other people think, whether you're good enough, or terrible, or mediocre. Just keep playing, creating, and working on your craft. Music is so subjective, there is no true formula or consistency in how people react. You can’t please everyone nor should you worry about trying to. Someone, somewhere, is going to love it!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Go where the energy is, whether it be love, music, work, or play. Believe in yourself and do no harm to others.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
The one I’m working on right now! It’s called Rear View Mirror. Why? When you’re driving you look in the car’s mirror, and it says “Things appear closer than they are”, right? The highway of life and love has curves, straightaways, dips, and hills. This song just rose up out of nowhere and bit me on the forehead, so to speak. Where do they come from? Who knows. But I always get excited when they do.
It means the Muse has dropped by for a ride and sits in the passenger seat..
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I worked hard on The Awkward Truth lyrically. Some people like it. I like it.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
It’s haphazard at best. I am the principal songwriter, and when I bring a completed song or song ideas to the group, it’s open season! It grows from there in some mysterious way. Sometimes it evolves to the point where it turns into something very different from what the original song was. Which is fine by me, because I trust the people I create with and I think they are amazing collaborators. It's a trust thing.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
If you write from the heart, the ‘message’ will come across, however, it may be perceived. It’s not an ideological exercise, and there’s no opinion or intention to convince, nor manipulate another person’s thinking or emotions. It just stands on its own two feet and you're swayed by it or not.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
So far, so good. We enjoy each other’s company, and we have a lot of fun when we get together.
Everyone has their own thing going, and people come and go. It’s a music collective. Nobody is joined at the hip and there are no expectations that Friendly Giants need to be a certain way.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I am releasing a new song called Lost and Found. It will hopefully be released at the end of January. I have a few more songs in the pipeline, including the Rear View Mirror. My intention is to put out an album at the end of 2023.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Our Spotify link is: