Interview with Royal Foundry
Montreal Rocks spoke to Bethany and Jared about the key to success when you are married to your bandmate, the lost record collection that Bethany never heard, Irish socks and the evolution of their sound.
Catch them at Petit Campus with Monowhales, Oaks Above and Aroundjoshua on Thursday November 8th, 2018
More information here: Link
Reason to attend: High energy Alt-Pop that will give you more of jolt than a $10 Starbucks coffee.
Montreal Rocks: You guys are in Halifax, right now?
Jared: Yeah. Just played the Pop Explosion.
MR: How is that going?
Bethany: It’s great, we love it. It’s our first time being part of Halifax Pop Explosion, but also being this far out east. We love it here. It’s beautiful. Fall is in full force, the colors are just so nice.
MR: I can see the reflection through the glass window behind you. Beautiful colors. Halifax is such a great city, I’ve been there twice to speak at events and the people are just so nice, so polite.
MR: (I unsuccessfully try to describe and remember the name of a street: Argyle Street. The closest I got was a pair of Irish socks.)
Bethany: There are some very cool, very artistic pockets of Halifax that we are exploring, right now. It’s cool to see a lot of art on the street. It seems like an art city. It’s cool.
MR: Your tour actually starts on November 2nd.
MR: This is some pre-tour stuff, that you get to participate in?
Bethany: Last week-end, we had a few dates in Alberta. We did Alberta, then we hopped over to Halifax. Starting in Toronto, we will be driving across, back towards Alberta, finishing in B.C..
MR: Is the last date in Saskatoon?
Bethany: We have a few more dates after that. With Monowhales, we are going as far as Ottawa, our last date with them.
MR: And…including, of course, Montreal.
Jared: Yes, absolutely.
MR: So, we are looking forward to that. It’s kind of an interesting…well, I’m not going to use the word marriage. You guys are married! Touring with the Monowhales… I’ve seen the Monowhales once before. I’ve known them for a while. Looking at what you guys do, you are both very energetic bands. A lot of energy and I can just see how that’s going to make a really intense show.
Bethany: Yes…(laughs)…hopefully everybody leaves totally exhausted. That’s our goal.
MR: I will start with this: What is the question that annoys you the most. The one you get asked all the time. We just get that out of the way. So we don’t have to worry about it.
Bethany: I think: “What’s next?” Usually, when we have interviews, we are promoting something. So that’s the obvious next thing. I think it’s fairly obvious that artists are always working towards new music. It’s not as much annoying, just redundant.
MR: People obviously talk about how you’ve changed. You went from folk to alt-pop. That would kind of get redundant as well, because everybody knows it already. But what is it about the current music that really speaks to you guys?
Bethany: When we first started writing music, we didn’t sit down and think: “OK…we are going to write a folk album, this type of musical genre.” We just did it. As we matured as song writers together, and gained more experience writing together, we just started writing music that made us excited. It’s been very interesting, and we’ve grown a lot with exploring different musical genres and seeing what fits well with us.
Jared’s always been in a band, since how old? Like, 12 or 13? Right from the get-go, it was pop rock. Very experimental, psychedelic even. The folk aspect was definitely a step sideways, that kind of experience.
We were just newly married. When we started writing music together, we had no intention of starting a band. We were just in the studio. We would spend time there and it became our hobby. Folk music just came to us. We never had a discussion: “Let’s start a folk band.” Or anything like that.
Now that we’ve enjoyed it, for these last couple of years, it’s been really fun to get to the point where we are making really energetic music. Our last album, which is kind of half between pop and half alt rock. And now, since that was last August, we’ve been stepping into…how would you describe it?
Jared: A little more guitar driven.
MR: Prog pop.
Bethany: Yeah. (laughs)
MR: It’s a whole new genre you created!
Bethany: Yeah. It’s been cool to see our trajectory in how we are exploring different music. Again, it’s not something where we sit down and think: What kind of a song do we want to write. A rock song? Or do we want to write an alt song? A love song? It just becomes whatever it is and at the end of the songwriting process, we are like: OK…that’s the kind of song it is.
MR: When you enter into a marriage, it’s already a whole different shift in dynamics for a relationship. There is a learning curve. I’ve been married 27 years now…hopefully I’m getting it…slowly. There is a new dynamic and new ways of doing things. I guess the same thing happens as a band because you guys have to learn how to work with each other. Is that something that was easy or did you have a little difficulty working out the kinks of the relationship/band relationship?
Jared: Yeah. It definitely took some time. The difference with a band when you are not married is that you can let things fester, or sleep on it and go back to your problems the next day. Well, we sleep in the same bed, so it’s best to deal with everything right away. That’s what we’ve had to face, learning to work through all our problems. Be really up front about them. Especially when you are dealing with something as sensitive as creativity. You are bearing your soul, and then your wife says: “Nah…I don’t like that.”
MR: You can’t take it personally, I guess.
Jared: Yeah, it’s gets a little more personal than just a regular band of friends. I think we’ve made it work.
Bethany: Even with that, it almost microwaves our song writing process a little bit more because we are not afraid to tip-toe around each other. We are very honest with each other and our end goal is to continue to push each other for excellence. Every time we start a project, we say that we want to go forth with excellence. Give our best and who knows what the outcome may be but working hard is a huge part of our song writing process. It’s still something that is our main drive and we encourage each other in that. Obviously, we will have our bad days, but we really have some good days too and I think we remember those more than the bad.
MR: It might even be an edge. To learn the problem solving, the full honesty and trust, right from the get-go. It might give you an edge for your relationship down the road. Most people don’t learn that till years, years, years. You got to learn that right from the start, so that’s awesome.
Bethany: Yeah, I like that.
MR: I want to talk a little about where the love of music started. Picture yourself a small child, you are exploring your house and you find the albums…or the 8-tracks even…who knows how long this was. What were some of the things you discovered in your parent’s music collection that triggered the love of music?
Jared: For me, it was my dad’s vinyl collection…just digging into that. Beatles Abbey Road was a big one. I used to play that every day before school. That really affected what I got into and started creating. There’s the Breaker Brothers, some Yes, and Supertramp thrown in there. It was really instrumental.
My dad was a touring musician, so we were always surrounded by music and we had instruments all over the house. For me, that was a pretty natural thing to get into, kind of like the family business.
Bethany: I’m like the complete opposite. My dad really was into music as a young kid and he had, from what he tells me, an entire basement full of records. There was a flood in my parent’s house. They were newly married and at the pinnacle of his collection and all of his records got damaged.
MR: That’s so sad.
Bethany: He talks about those pre-flood days fondly. Whenever we talk about music, if it’s any classic band, he’s always like: “Oh, I had that record!” A lot of his identity is tied to his record collection and he always boasts about it.
I would say, growing up with CDs, my dad had the Best of The Beatles. He was a huge Yes fan. He threw in Chicago, because my mom loved Chicago and he would just belt it in the car to her, because they are mostly love songs.
That’s the kind of vein of music that my dad would listen to in the vehicle and that’s how I started getting into it.
I come from a very different family than Jared, we are not as musical as him. When we got married, I was really thrown into the deep end, in terms of just writing and what it means to be a song writer, how to song write. Having no experience, but Jared has been surrounded by that. It’s an interesting A and B perspectives of just two different extreme sides of the spectrum when it comes to writing music. I take that as a good thing. It’s done well for us so far.
Jared: It’s a nice, fresh perspective, I think, to approach things in a unique way.
MR: It’s probably also why you are so well received. Getting awards, winning prizes was probably a stepping stone getting your career going. Being able to melt all this stuff together, is part of your name, right? Moving forward with a bunch of influences and putting it together.
In terms of the live show, how has that evolved over the years? Going from folk, to what you are now, real high energy songs. How do you guys find performing? Having fun out there?
Jared: It’s changed quite a bit. We started with, obviously, an acoustic banjo and then we brought in a Celloist. This changed our sound quite a bit. Then we found out, oh…he’s also a metal drummer. We started incorporating a little bit of that, this gradual progression. Now we have the full thing. We have bass, keys, guitars, drums, the whole standard rock band.
We do a lot of triggering, drum machines, just a lot of technological stuff to fill out the sound.
MR: Do you find that now, this is your sound? This is you.
Jared: Yeah, it feels the most defined. I think we will continue to change, continue to feel like we finally got it.
Bethany: We’ll stay in the same vein, I think. Maybe we will just divert with odd songs, here and there as we explore different musical genres. I don’t think we will ever turn out a rap album or anything. Definitely more rocks, alternative, indie, stuff like that.
MR: People will sometimes get mad at you if you change directions. To me, it like, if you are visiting Toronto every year…change it up. Go to Vancouver…come to Montreal! Variety in travel, in food, in wine, in anything is so good. Why not in music? I’m glad you guys are able to explore and try different flavors. See how that affects you.
I’m looking forward to seeing the show. If just one band, you or the Monowhales, play, it will be quite a show. Having both of you play is going to be a really cool double bill. We really look forward to having you guys visit Montreal.
Petit Campus, where the show will be played, is kind of a cool area of Montreal. You have the strip with all the cool little shops. You will probably want to go shopping at all the vintage stores and get some cool costumes for the road.
The only problem is, we used to be known for Poutines and Smoked Meat. The best smoked meat is kind of going to be close to where you are going to be. Now we are known for construction, unfortunately.
Royal Foundry: (laughs)
Bethany: Yes, I’m sure that every city that we go to, there is usually some sort of construction. It’s usually downtown where it’s the worst to maneuver around. We are prepared for that kind of stuff.
We are so looking forward to coming to Montreal. We’ve only been there once, for a few days to visit. This is our first time playing there, so we are really excited.
MR: You will be playing on Thursday, November 8th, only a couple of weeks away, so we look forward to having you here and I wish you the best on your tour, and that you get some more exposure.
Obviously, things are working well. People are picking your song for the CFL. A lot of great things are coming your way. It’s really showing that people are appreciating what you are putting out there, so keep it up!