This week we caught up with Canadian indie folk duo, Strange Tides to discuss their brand new single, Criminal, their creative writing process and the Canadian music scene!
- How did Strange Tides form and how would you describe your music to new listeners? We played together a few times in a church band and developed a friendship out of that. A few months later, Victoria had a gig and needed a guitarist, so Kirsten was obviously her first call. It’s a little cliché to say, but that show was almost a movie moment—our vocal blend, harmonies, stage presence, etc. all fitted together perfectly and we knew we had to go forward as a duo. We’d describe our sound as folk-rock, though we do struggle to stick to a genre. Generally, we strive for honest lyricism and deliberate musicality, in whatever form that takes.
- You are based in Canada but have also lived in the UK , how would you compare the Canadian music scene to the UKs? To be honest, neither of us was active as a performer during our time in the UK, so it’s hard to say! Perhaps our one comment would be that the UK has a more cultural quality, in the sense that you can head down to the local pub and hear a person performing ballads that have been sung for hundreds of years. Of course, there’s the modern scene as well, but we feel it’s rooted in a heritage that perhaps lessens the divide between performers and laypersons that we see in Canada.
- You recently released your debut single, Criminal – what’s been the general reaction to the single so far? It seems people are enthused! We are ecstatic that our single passed one thousand streams in its first week. That said, we suspect few would admit to hating it to our faces!
- What was the influence behind Criminal? “Criminal” is a candid response to the judgment and rejection we both encountered at our former church. As a queer Christian, Victoria’s contributions are about her experience of falling in love with a woman for the first time and the consequential ostracization she experienced when the church was informed. For Kirsten, “Criminal” is an expression of her frustration that the church’s permission to question elements of theology or religious culture was contingent upon her reaching “correct” conclusions. In summary, “Criminal” grew out the anger that accompanies disillusionment. We both believed we were participating in a community of curiosity and empathy, but instead were met with fear and judgment. It is a protest against those who would use their authority to control the people in their care, and (we hope) is an anthem of solidarity for those who have been similarly suppressed.
- Can you describe your creative process behind the track? Is there a particular place you go to write or is it something that just comes naturally to you both? It was truly collaborative! We were both jotting down notes independently of each other, and to answer the second part of your question first, we usually do, with notebooks on the go. When we feel we have a strong concept for a song, we get together for a writing session, usually at one of our houses. For “Criminal”, when we shared those notes, we realised we’d both been essentially writing the same song! Victoria is great at creating catchy hooks, so her thoughts quickly became the chorus. Kirsten has a gift for both storytelling and soaring guitar licks, so her ideas easily created the lyrical verses and grungy sound. Our producer, Dan Ponich from Park Sound Studio, has a background in rock; with his additions, our energetic folk expression was transformed into the folk-rock anthem it is today.
- What’s been the most memorable gig that you’ve played and why? We love this question! There are two that stand out the most and we really can’t choose between them. The first has to be the time we were shushed by a group of barflies who wanted to watch the game instead. The second is the time Saliska Sun opened the show, and one of our audience members described to us in painstaking detail how we were okay, but Saliska could truly make it. We don’t dispute that, but it was quite hilarious. The joys of performing
- What advice would you give to musicians who are thinking of forming a band? Jam together first! Get to know each other’s styles without the pressure of an impending gig. We wish we’d done that. We also feel its important to discuss aspirations, so that everyone feels satisfied with time and effort (or lack thereof) each member is investing.
8. What are your aims and ambitions as a band for the future? Speaking of aspirations! We are currently working on an EP with hope that it will be out in the next year or so. And, of course, we’d love to be able to gig again one day.
Make sure you keep up with Strange Tides via their social media platforms below…