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Photo courtesy Chelsee Ivan

Toronto’s FRIGS are getting serious, but not too serious

By Kiana Negahdari, March 19 2018 —

FRIGS, the Toronto-based post-punks behind the recent album, Basic Behavior, are coming to Calgary on March 29 to play with DRI HIEV at Broken City.

The band’s sound is driven by lead vocalist Bria Salmena, who evokes the voice of the late Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries. She and Duncan Jennings formed the band when they were both studying in Montreal. Not long after, Lucas Savatti joined as the bass player and Kris Bowering tagged along about a year ago with a drum kit. FRIGS moved to Toronto only a few months after forming, becoming a serious and focused project according to Salmena.

“We were just young kids in university who had a lot of other things going on and we liked to party a lot,” she laughs. “If we had stayed in Montreal the band would have been less focused.”

In many ways, the band has grown a lot since 2012.

“We’ve grown sonically more than anything. We spent a long time figuring out the type of music we want to make without forcing anything,” Salmena says. “We have dabbled in various styles over the years and tried to write and create songs that come naturally to us.”

Basic Behaviour was released on Feb. 23 and was recorded over a 16-month period, half at Jennings and Savatti’s apartment studio and half at Union Sound in Toronto. According to the Salmena, recording at home allowed them to take time to explore their sound, experimenting with sonic textures and productions and meticulously re-working their material.

The new album has 10 tracks including “Gemini,” Salmena’s favorite cut, which she says is one of the more exploratory songs on the album. “Heavyweights” is another slower song on Basic Behaviour, which exhibits characteristics unique to FRIGS such as the wails of Jennings’s guitar and Salmena’s scratched croon. As “II” showcases, there’s a lot of frustration within FRIGS’s music — the repeating phrase being, “This is shit.”

Basic Behaviour’s art is a collaborative effort between Olenka Szymonski, Gunnar and the band members. The cover features a naked woman in a water tank with calla lilies on her body and a chain coming towards the frame.

“The idea was to mess with perspective,” Salmena says.

Regarding the motivation and drive behind her musical career, Salmena says, “We definitely don’t do this because we think we can make any real money. We enjoy playing music. I personally keep doing this because it’s a very scary thought for a young person to wake up and realize what you’re doing you will not succeed at and yet you keep doing it. And when you hit rock bottom, you have to figure out something else. It’s out of fear.”

Salmena’s advice for future musicians is simple.

“Pay attention to what’s going on and try to be a part of it — try to make the music that you think is the right representation of how you feel creatively,” she says. “And check your emails! Be on top of your shit! Running a band is like running a business.”

FRIGS are visiting Calgary on the March 29, playing in Broken City with the local powerhouses DRI HIEV. Tickets are only $9 and are available online. Stream Basic Behaviour on Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp.

Check out “Gemini” below.

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