Fast Romantics release “Afterlife Blues”

Fast Romantics
Photo: Fast Romantics

Fast Romantics have a new album out this Tuesday titled “Afterlife Blues” and are about to embark on a North American tour. The band worked with producer Howard Redekopp (Tegan and Sara, Mother Mother, Hannah Georgas) for a second time and said that truly connecting with the fans on all levels is the goal of the new album. The band even exceeded their fundraising goal on their Pledgemusic campaign. Their fans could pre-order the album all the while receiving incentives from the band including advance copies, signed vinyl, and even a chance to be a roadie for the day. I got a chance to speak with Matthew Angus from the band about the new album and things he enjoys about Toronto.

Congrats on the new album. How long did it take and where was it recorded?

Well thanks, we’re kind of congratulating ourselves too, cause it’s been an awful long time coming. We took a bit of a different direction after finishing the last EP. Moved to Toronto, settled in, took some time finding our sound again, starting fresh, and then started working on this a little over a year ago. We did it over two sessions with Howard, in a number of different places. We tracked about half the record at this amazing studio called Revolution in Toronto, and then did the rest of it at Howard’s also amazing studio in Vancouver, and at Steve Singh’s also amazing studio here in Toronto.

You teamed up with producer Howard Redekopp again. What was different this time around?

Nothing much changed about Howard except his hairstyle, he was brilliant to work with as usual. What really changed was us. This time we were actually ready and confident to make something. Last time we went in a bit confused about who we were and what we wanted to make. This time we had laser vision, and Howard in his usual way helped flesh it out of us.

The recording process of this new album. Live off the floor or each person recorded it separately?

Little bit of both. We did a lot of raw energy stuff at Revolution, but I like to take my time with vocals and stuff.

I enjoyed your video for Funeral song. What church was it filmed in? Tell us a bit about the experience filming it.

Well thanks! It was filmed in the oldest church in Ontario, which is right next to Dundas square, called First Lutheran Church. Lovely people there that were very gracious in letting all these rock n roll and Hollywood types invade for a day. It was a really great experience. Our director Ricardo Temporao was brilliant, the DOP Ian Anderson is a genius… The whole thing went off without a Hitch, which is what happens I guess when you ask talented people to help you out and they agree. Actually there was one hitch – we played so loud that one of the giant lit candles fell over and nearly burned that beautiful historical site to the ground. That woulda sucked. I’da gone to hell for sure for that one.

Watch the video for “Funeral Song” below

You reached and even exceeded your fund raising goal for your Pledge Music campaign to support touring and other expenses to promote the new record. Tell us about that.

Yeah we were humming and hawing on whether to jump on the preorder-crowdfunding-whatever-it-is fad and we’re pretty glad we did. Sold a stash of records to some very awesome early adopters. I think it’s a great way for indie bands to draw attention to their projects and get early support and funding for what is always an expensive and penniless journey. Anyone bashing these kinds of preorder campaigns as ‘charity’ is kind of just spewing garbage. The day that paying money for music is ‘charity’, please just flush me out the airlock.

Songwriting: does everyone bring ideas or is it mainly you (Matt) and the rest of the band adds their magic to the mix?

It’s always changing I think. For this record I would bring the songs to Jeff, and then Jeff would bring some brilliant ideas for arrangement and lay down bass, and then everyone else in the band came in and contributed their genius and it was this very orderly and productive collaborative experience. I’m actually in awe of how good my bandmates are. These songs wouldn’t make any sense to anyone if they weren’t here to make them actually sound good.

Where do you see the band in 5 years? (5 year plan question…I know right?) And where do you want to be in the next 5 years?

Exactly five years from this minute? Likely waking up in some other city getting ready to go to another city. We just want to be playing all the time. That won’t change from today all the way until five years from now.

If you had to collaborate with one Toronto band, who would it be and why?

Is Feist a band? I want to collaborate with Feist somehow. Why is obvious.

Top 3 artists that have inspired you in your life?

Me personally? Leonard Cohen, Otis Redding, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, John Lennon, Thom Yorke, Jarvis Cocker. Did I mention I can’t count?

Favourite place to eat in Toronto? Betty’s.

Favourite thing about the city? How everything is familiar yet anonymous.

Favourite hang out in TO? That’s really hard. Northwood is an amazing little bar.

Random Rapid fire:

Sneaky Dees Nachos or Hey Meatball Spaghetti? The former.

Queen or College St? The former.

Trinity Bellwoods or high park? Trinity Bellwoods on weekdays, High Park on weekends.

Early bird or night owls? Night Owls.

Embracing today’s age of downloading free music while stressing the importance of your fans to purchase your music. Tell us your thought on this.

Yeah well the truth is who the fuck knows what the right thing to do is anymore? Downloading music is awesome. It’s liberated us all to discover amazing new music all the time and that’s great. It’s liberated people without ten dollars to hear our music. But at the same time we ask people with ten dollars to buy our stuff cause, you know, we gotta eat too. It’s balance. I think a lot of people like contributing to artists who work hard and put out meaningful music, which is all we ever try to do.

What do you think of physical vs digital album sales? Do you have a preference? Any thoughts for the future?

I think physical copies are important, but it’s all going to digital and we know that now. And that’s fine. Its about music at the end of the day, so however people consume what we’ve created is fine by me. But I’ll always fight for vinyl, and I’ll always buy vinyl, because I feel like it gives you a complete experience of any one artist’s creation. Things you can feel in your hands and put on your shelf and be proud to own are important, they define us as music fans, and they shouldn’t go away.

What is one fact people don’t know about each band member that they wouldn’t expect?

I know that Jeff originally wanted to be a male model. Beyond that we all know everything everyone else knows about everyone.

You must be excited for your tour and kick off show Oct 11. What vehicle are you travelling in and does it have a nickname

You have no idea how excited. 30 dates or so over six weeks, all around North America, consuming nothing but beer and celery. It’s the fastest way to cleanse body and mind. As for the tour van, thanks for reminding me, it’s a week until we leave and we still haven’t found one. Maybe we’ll be doing this tour on bicycles.

What’s next for Fast Romantics?

Touring until we can’t tour no more, which is forever methinks. Europe and more North America, all in the works for next year. Maybe even Australia, if they’ll let Shane and Lauren back into the colony.

Fast Romantics kick off their tour in support of the new album in Toronto October 11 at The Garrison.  Should be a fun one!

Fast Romantics Website.

About Freddie Mojallal 40 Articles
Lead singer of The Autumn Portrait and music writer for Toronto Guardian.