For a band that is of the lowest of lo-fi, Calgary’s Friendo sure talks with plenty of confidence. Consequence of Sound had enough luck to shoot some questions at front-woman Nicole Greedy, and in return received the most mature answers we’ve ever seen from a still up and coming act. Prepare yourself for the least pretentious musician you have ever heard from a blog interview; from calling her new album name ludicrous to dubbing a “raw” tape recording just plain affordable, Greedy offers a refreshing look at a scene filled with musicians that tend to take themselves too seriously. Seriously.
Besides the reference to No Country For Old Men, what is the significance of the name Friendo?
Friendo was the name of my sisters childhood imaginary friend, which was a pretend typewriter. She also had a pretend rabbit she named Backy-toetoe, which isn’t our band name because it sounds kind of racist.
What are the origins of this collaboration, and how have your previous projects influenced the band?
Michael [Wallace] was donating sperm when he bumped into me at the desk as the on-duty nurse. I liked his credentials and he noticed I was listening to his favorite album, the score to Dawsons Creek (Season 1), and thus resulted in an immediate bond. In bed. Henry [Hsieh] was a street savvy, hobo steam punk that made money busking on his garbage can and car-part drum kit (ala Tool Time) in Winnipeg (my birthplace). Whilst visiting my family there, Michael and I agreed to adopt a steam punk and saved Henry from his destitute life in a third world city.
Consequently, Henrys influences largely derive from the sound of squeegees, domestic spats and Tim Allen stand-up. Michael’s work with Women has made him professionally-minded. My experience with women (in the band Puberty) has made me appreciate men. Michael and Henry can play nice music in Friendo, because they get all their macho bullshit urges out when they play in the metal band Monkey (whats with that name? I dont understand). I get heavy beating the sticks in a band called Topless Mongos, which has actually influenced me lately because I get garage music shoved down my throat non-stop when I hang out with those guys. Michael and Henry are also in 10 other bands that they dont tell me about because they are embarrassed, so thats all I know.
With Cold Toads, was there an attempt to convey a particular message, or was it just an introduction to what Friendo has to offer?
One thing we learned from Cold Toads is to think about our album name selection harder. The message I get is, why couldn’t we think of a non-stupid name? Maybe I just hate it from handwriting it on all of our LPs. I’m having trouble concentrating on this answer because my mom is complaining about Big Brother commercials in the background. I thought it was a funny commercial (don’t tell her).
Friendo – Pass Times from Welcome To The West on Vimeo.
You recorded the album with tape recorders and the most basic of studio equipment. Was the intended sound captured, or was there regret in lack of quality in retrospect?
A lot of the songs are me feeling too embarrassed to play/sing loud with all eight of my roommates listening, so I’m just whisper-singing into the built-in mic on my computer. I like crisp recordings but I don’t like spending money or time on them. I am excited for the next time I record, because I got an iPhone and the mic on there is pretty good.
Can you describe the de-tuned guitars and muffled harmonies besides calling it lo-fi?
Michael bought a 50-dollar guitar and didn’t understand intonation and maybe is slightly tone deaf. Muffled harmonies relate back to the computer mic/embarrassment methods I use. Also I mostly hate writing lyrics so I just mumble nonsense. We basically didn’t know what we were doing at all. So, if anyone really liked that sound they will probably be disappointed in the future if we ever learn about music.
Over the past few months, you’ve traveled from coast to coast. What were the craziest moments on the road?
This rabid girl attacked Henry in New York while we were trying to load out our gear. Of course he uses this as an excuse to get out of loading, and we all come out and she is like, pounding him against a railing and has like this miscarriage on his face basically and the next day he had every STD imaginable, and some STI’s, but it was worth it because carrying gear is way worse. I’ll send you a picture of that, hopefully that girl doesn’t sue you. The second craziest moment was when we learned what a “Double Down” was.
When on tour, do you guys stick to the written songs on stage, or is it more of a jam/free-for-all?
Sometimes I alternate between up and down strokes when I’m channeling my inner Phish.
Have there been major differences touring in the US rather than at home in Canada?
We all got fat and acne as soon as we crossed the American border, except for our travel companion Jeff who wasn’t allowed in, and had to fly home because he has a beard. Everything bad for you is a quarter of the price in American as it is in Canada. I never had a hot dog with cream cheese on it before, and it has left a lasting impression on me. Henry also got a six-dollar hair cut that greatly detracted from our overall sex appeal. People made fun of how we say “pasta.” Shorter drives were the best part and better comic book stores.
What can we expect from Friendo in the near future?
Michael will probably be on tour with Women just long enough for our band to fade into obscurity. Then maybe we’ll release some generic kind of garage songs because we just learned power chords. There’s a chance the next album will be in tune though, because Michael got a new guitar. We’ll learn how to sing, stop using reverb, and then everyone will really hate us.