La Femme, is a French band with a mixed musical style that is a blend of coldwave, punk, rock and yéyé.
IN-FLIGHT SAFETY INTERVIEW
Canadian Indie Band, IN-FLIGHT SAFETY, took a little trip from Halifax, Canada to New York City. Vocalist and guitarist JOHN MULLANE and drummer GLEN NICHOLSON blew our minds away with their unique performance and energetic sound at CMJ 2014. TWELV’s interview with rock band IN-FLIGHT SAFETY now reveal their fascinating story that TWELV can present to you!
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1. What inspired you guys to start making music?
I: Early on we were inspired by bands like Sigur Ros, Doves, Interpol, The Smiths and Wilco. We were also inspired to make music that was the antithesis of the time's jam bands. That might explain the mid tempo 7 minute songs of the early days.
2. What are the main themes or topics in your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
I: I write a lot about friendship. In another sense, I guess I am writing about relationship - the ups and the downs. But I am also attracted to tongue-in-cheek lyrics, so some of the songs have darker tones, but I love to offset that with humor. Song to song I try to write about different things, but apparently I cannot seem to break that pattern.. although I do write about a murderer on Tie A String. That counts for something!
3. Can you tell me a few of your favorite songs? And what is a memorable moment from being a part of IN-FLIGHT SAFETY?
I: I don't really have favorite songs, but I am super proud of how far some have come. They are like our children: we do everything we can to prepare them for school.
Most recently I would have to say our time at the Reeperbahn festival in Hamburg: Schnitzel, crazy random Germans, curry wurst, Beck's, and great times.
4. What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous? What makes great a session?
I: We have two separate sessions. One is boring task-oriented show rehearsals, and the other is a more chill, bring a coffee, let's work on random ideas type of thing. Those can go on for ages. But in order to write new stuff we kind of have to get lost in what we are doing. Spontaneity happens when we are just sitting around with our gear, or when I am off on my own. I write bits and pieces of ideas down or sing like a crazy person into to my phone on the street. But at the end of a day a great session requires a great coffee from one of many great spots in Halifax.
5. What has been the band's biggest challenge? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
I: The biggest challenge has been figuring out how to fill down time when we are not on tour. We need to be working, and figuring that out over the years has been a challenge. Recently Glen has completed a degree in Architecture- which is amazing- and I am producing and composing a lot to fill the gaps.
6. What are your fondest musical memories?
I: My fondest musical memory is dancing in the basement to all the 80's and 90's hits my mom had in her record collection.
7. Are any of your family members musical?
I: It’s kind of funny - both Glen and I are half Italian (our moms) and they are both musical. My grandfather on my mother’s side, Domenic Caputo, was a guitar and mandolin maker. My dad cannot sing a note and we are more than sure he is tone deaf.
8. Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
I: I admire so so many musicians. So many local musicians like Mardeen, Kestrels, English Words, Mo Kenney and others I have never met. I love Johnny Marr's guitar playing, The Walkmen, Chvrches, huge fan of everything Dan Boeckner (handsome furs, operators, divine fits) does, the guitar playing of Debora Cohen from The Organ, Tegan & Sara. Julian Casablancas. I love all them for different reasons but all of them create such amazing work. I am in awe.
9. Which famous musicians have you learned from?
I: I have learned so much about songwriting by listening to The Beatles, Wilco, Gillian Welch, Ron Sexsmith, and Radiohead, but I find it hard to list only a few artists. I am constantly listening to new music and taking it all. Every great new song I hear gets lodged in my psyche from top 40 pop to more introspective stuff.
10. Do you have a high school memory that has influenced your music?
I: I remember playing in a talent show and messing up my guitar solo so badly. After I watched someone's taped performance I realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought, and I think I let go of some of those extreme perfectionist tendencies on the spot.
11. Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?
I: Absolutely. When we were kids we listened to anything we could get our hands on. There just happened to be so many songs from movies and a ton of 45’s with singles from the 60s, and in particular the 80s. Big anthems from Phil Collins, themes to Beverly Hills Cop or even early rap stuff like Salt n Pepa. That stuff affected me the most. The 80s stuff stuck with me. I was attracted to the keyboards, and the huge melodies. And oh man we loved early rap (Maestro Fresh Wes, Fresh Prince, Rob Base) we danced to it all the time in the basement while we graffitied my parents walls.
12. If you weren't a musician, what would you be?
I: love producing and trying to make stuff happen. Maybe a film, TV producer? I love the logistical part of being a band on the road - I find it challenging and fun, barring that I would be a computer programmer because that is what I studied in school.
13. How do you balance your music with other obligations?
I: Delicately and by working late into the night.
14. What message are you trying to send through IN-FLIGHT SAFETY?
I: To be honest I am throwing up flares for kindred spirits. I hope they reach the right people and I hope there is a positive energy that reaches people through the music.
15. What is the craziest thing that you have ever done in your life (inthe band)?
I: Tour has a way of putting you in the most ridiculous, scary, unsafe or just plain bizarre situations. Being in a band is just plain crazy. One night you are in Manchester jamming out early 90s songs on acoustic with strangers, another night you are driving through the night on day one of a 34 hour drive, another day you are in the Swiss Alps looking at a swan in an emerald lake, and another day you are stranded in the middle of northern Alberta with a 1993 Dodge Ram that won’t start.
16. Are there any inside-jokes in the band? If so, can you tell me about them?
I: So many inside jokes. I am not even sure where they start. Sometimes movie quotes just replace regular speech, other times someone has coined a phrase like road ghost, PBs for PDs – none of which should be explained in print.
17. Why do you think the CMJ Music Marathon is unique from other large festivals around the world?
I: For me CMJ is just so special because it’s NY. It’s a magical place to play music – I think of Talking Heads, Ramones or Velvet Underground, The Walkmen, The Strokes, Interpol , The National. There is so much music history in NY. Playing a gig in NYC makes you feel like a tiny part of that continuum.
18. What are your favorite spots in NYC? Do you have any places that you always visit?
I: I have so many favorite spots in NYC. St Marks Place Books, the High Line -- I love SoHo for shopping and fashion needs. I spend a lot of time in LES and lately in Williamsburg. Great food, bars, restos and coffee. That’s all I need.
19. What are your favorite restaurants, bars, and nightlife spots in NYC?
I: We have a ton of favorite spots to hang out at in NY. Blue Bottle Coffee in Williamsburg - amazing coffee made by true coffee geeks, Colombe Coffee in SOHO, The Doughnut Plan in Lower East side for amazing doughnuts. We love Café Habana in LES, Pies-n-Thighs in Brooklyn, Freeman’s Restaurant off Rivington St. There are so many spots to list. For nightlife we typically just end up in the venue we are playing. Pianos is awesome. Run by great people.
20. Do you have any fashion trends in IN-FLIGHT SAFTY, can you describe to me a little bit?
I: We have focused a lot on black, grey and white with this tour. We are referencing styles of the British post-punk movement - think Manchester or Northern England (Joy Division). Northern England and Halifax are not that different so I think we pull it off. Also the more casual side of Interpol is also a touchstone. We decided to kit ourselves up for each show with the same look so that there would be a consistency for the fans. Black button downs seem to central to that. My personal secret weapon is Allsaints. I just check out everything they have there to get ideas and might buy a couple of pieces there if I can afford them. Which is never.
21. If you guys were to describe IN-FLIGHT SAFTY in a few words, what would you say?!
I: Have band. Will travel.
INTERVIEWED & WRITTEN BY: RACHEL IIMURA
PHOTO CREDIT: MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON