Up Close and Personal with the Fiona Noakes Band The New B.P recently caught up with The Fiona Noakes Band and we were honored that Madame Fiona Noakes took a little time out of her busy schedule to give us a up close and personal look at her song “Misunderstood” and the band. ABOUT FIONA NOAKES BAND Looking to be introduced to Ottawa’s indie alternative folk rock scene? Then meet your gal, Fiona Noakes, Canadian-born singer, songwriter, actress, and writer. Sounds like a mouthful? Still barely enough to describe this versatile soul of talent, we dare say. Inspired by music icons such as Tegan and Sara, Emily Haines, and Metric, her music and heartfelt lyrics have the power to touch, stir, heal, and transform. With human experiences in their most raw and authentic states exposed, such as heartbreak, loss, and nostalgia, one can’t help but succumb to being transported to the depths of the sea, and to experience sweet waves of emotion. Terry K: Can you tell us how your video and song “Misunderstood” came about, a little history behind the song and why you chose to write a song about mental illness? Fiona Noakes: I wrote Misunderstood a couple years ago. At the time I was driven to write a song about a person who feels misunderstood in life – about how people perceive them and how they feel defective because they don’t live up to societal standards or norms. This song is also about someone who suffers from mental illness and their longing to have that partner in life (whether platonic or romantic) help them through their struggles. Terry K: How has mental illness affected your life? Fiona Noakes: For me this song definitely touches on personal aspects of my life. My whole life I’ve always felt different and struggled because I was always told how weird I was and due to this for a while I tried so hard to fit in or be “normal”. I realized though towards the end of high school that just wasn’t me and started to meet awesome friends who accepted me and loved me for who I was – not someone I was trying to be. I think to have this connection is so important. Being the authentic you is how you will thrive in life. This song really evolved into an anthem song with the video – everyone in life at some point no matter who they are can relate. The message we want to send out with the song and video is all about self-love/self-acceptance,self-respect, compassion, and not being afraid to seek help. Be proud of who you are. Terry K: What effect has mental illness had on your life? Fiona Noakes: I have suffered from mental illness and have also had many people close to me suffer from mental illness. I feel this is an incredibly relevant topic that needs to be addressed more. There is no shame or embarrassment in this and I can’t stress the importance of seeking help. Terry K: Can you give a little history on how the “Fiona Noakes Band” came to be? Fiona Noakes: As for the history of the band, my current guitarist, Cliff, I met a few years ago. He was my guitar teacher at the time and had expressed interest in joining the band when I mentioned my guitarist at the time, Tim, was moving out West. I met Danae through Cliff who also expressed interest and Ben we auditioned through an online music ad. Seedus is our most recent addition and has been a good friend of the band for some time. We approached him over a year ago about joining the band, as we were looking to add another guitarist and he was interested. For more visit: https://terkinn.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/up-close-and-personal-with-fiona-noakes/
If you watch Fiona Noakes Band’s “Ghost of the Abyss” video without watching the first part of the story in their video for “Fury of the Sea,” you might get confused. This indie alternative rock band from Ottawa, Canada has a two-part series of interesting videos that depict an ongoing story full of masked men and a mysterious amulet. In their video for “Fury of the Sea,” Fiona Noakes Band, comprised of guitar and back-up vocals Cliff Chamberlain, bassist Ben L’Ecuyer, drummer and back-up vocalist Danae Tsikouras, and lead vocalist Fiona Noakes, obtain an amulet of unknown origins and dig up their instruments by the sea after a dangerous encounter with some masked men. In “Ghost of the Abyss,” directed by Emily Shanely, Fiona wakes up in a forest and proceeds to be chased down by people who are after her amulet. She is fed sweets that put her in a drug-induced daze, and she proceeds to find her band mates eating the same candy. Watch the video to find out what happens to Fiona Noakes Band in the forest; one thing is for sure, this is not your average alternative rock video! “Ghost of the Abyss” music video is the continuation of “Fury of the Sea” music video Lyrics by Fiona Noakes Music Arrangements by Fiona Noakes, Cliff Chamberlain, Ben L’Ecuyer, Danae Tsikouras Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Dean Hadjichristou (Addictive Sound Studios) Song Produced by Fiona Noakes Band & Dean Hadjichristou (Addictive Sound Studios) Vocals – Fiona Noakes Guitar – Cliff Chamberlain Bass VI – Ben L’Ecuyer Drums – Danae Tsikouras Directed by Emily Shanley Shot & Cut by Derek Price Make-up by Tara Cairns Cast – Deniz Berkin, Cliff Chamberlain, JF Dufault, Phil Dukarsky, Francko Edge, Edith Landreville, Ben L’Ecuyer, Fiona Noakes, and Danae Tsikouras Read more: http://fdrmx.com/fiona-noakes-band-ghost-of-the-abyss/#ixzz3Y4MPdQuU Follow us: @fdrmx on Twitter
Riding high off of a recent performance at the Ottawa International Film Festival, Fiona Noakes (FN) spoke with us on behalf of her band (from left to right, above: Cliff Chamberlain, Ben L'Ecuyer, Fiona Noakes, Seedus, and Danae Tsikouras). We learned more about her surprise musical influences, the band’s recent music videos and upcoming 2015 activities! (photo credit: Deniz Berkin) SA: How did you get your start in music, and how did you end up working with your band? FN: It was a dark and stormy night, I was a troublesome 8 year old and up to no good as per usual, so my parents took it upon themselves to put me in something that would help me flourish as a child. They decided this route would be piano lessons and lo and behold I decided to stick it out and eventually received my grade 8 piano. Piano lessons were my first nibble into the musical universe, although I was always coming up with songs in my head since I was in the womb, but never took the time to ever write them down or record the melody. Once I finished my grade 8 piano my next goal was to tackle guitar. This was the gateway into more definitive songwriting for me. With my current band I met Cliff, our lead and rhythm guitarist and back-up vocalist, a few years ago when I decided to start up taking guitar lessons again. At the time I was looking for a new guitarist, as my former guitarist, Tim, was moving. Cliff was interested in working with me and introduced me to Danae, our drummer and back-up vocalist, who was also interested in joining the band. With Ben, our bassist, and Seedus, our rhythm guitarist, we met them through time travel. I can’t discuss the details unfortunately. SA: What bands or musicians would you cite as the biggest influences on your sound, and on your voice in particular? FN: Tegan and Sara are my biggest musical influences sound-wise and voice-wise. Throughout high school I listened to all sorts of music and had a lot influences that I am sure had an effect on me along the way. Was a huge Blink 182 and Eminem fan. Listened to a lot of French rap and rap in general. Loved Sarah McLaughlan, Marilyn Manson, Frank Sinatra, Alanis Morissette, Our Lady Peace. Over the past years listened on repeat to MGMT, KT Tunstall, Emily Haines/Metric, Mother Mother, The Pretty Reckless, The Kooks, Fiona Apple. SA: Thus far in your career, what has been your biggest success? FN: Biggest success so far - I think just continuing to make music and being able to share it with people who can connect with it. To me that is magical - if someone can relate to our songs and and if our music can help someone in some way cope or realize that they are not alone in the world. SA: On the other hand, what is the biggest challenge you have faced, and how have you dealt with it? FN: Biggest challenge would be maintaining the commitment of my passion and not losing sight of the role it plays in my life. I have a full-time job, also do acting projects, and am in a relationship, so I always try to make sure I can equally put enough energy into all of them. This takes organization, communication, and passion. For the Full Article visit: http://sometimesalways.ca/post/112632247560/fiona-noakes-band-riding-high-off-of-a-recent
A track called Misunderstood inevitably runs the risk of being cast off as whiny and adolescent, but Fiona Noakes Band pulls it off. The video is anxiety-ridden yet understated; it’s a grown-up version of teenage angst. This indie alternative rock video begins with a light bulb illuminating a dim room and fades into Fiona Noakes singing about insecurity, a longing for acceptance and a yearning to be understood. Cutaways from Noakes and her band reveal a man and a woman standing face to face with only the light bulb separating them. As they peel off layers of their clothes, hand-written words are revealed on their skin. These words range from introvert and nerd to terrified and self-harm; they become increasingly more personal as the video goes on. In the end we see that the band members also have words on their skin; in fact, they all have the same word: misunderstood. Video released in 2015 Directed, shot, and edited by: Josh O’Connor (Arms Race Productions) Produced by: Fiona Noakes, Amy Jones, Bluesfest School of Music and Art Video consultant: Tash Allen Production assistant: Shannon Hodgins Make-up artist: Vanessa Dunleavy Cast in Alphabetical order: Cliff Chamberlain, Francko Edge, Amy Jones, Ben L’Ecuyer, Fiona Noakes, Danae Tsikouras Lyrics by: Fiona Noakes Music and arrangements by: Fiona Noakes, Cliff Chamberlain, Ben L’Ecuyer, Danae Tsikouas Vocals: Fiona Noakes Guitar: Cliff Chamberlain Bass VI: Ben L’Ecuyer Drums and back-up vocals: Danae Tsikouras Recorded, mixed, and mastered by: Dean Hadjichristou (Addictive Sound Studios) Song produced by: Fiona Noakes Band & Dean Hadjichristou (Addictive Sound Studios) Special thanks to Bluesfest School of Music and Art, Kelly Symes, Spectrasonic, and Jess Veysey
Get to Know the Artist: Fiona Noakes Band December 3rd 2014 Meet the Fiona Noakes Band, headed by, you guessed it, Fiona Noakes. Noakes is joined by lead guitarist/back-up vocalist Cliff Chamberlain, drummer/back-up vocalist Danae Tsikouras, bassist Ben L’Ecuyer, and guitarist Seedus. Dedicated to creating a music video for all of their songs, the Fiona Noakes Band has allowed Noakes to combine her passions of writing, acting, and making music together. Through their music, the band wants listeners to be proud of who they are and to embrace all of life’s struggles—the ups and the downs: “This is my apology for being me; I’m so sorry there’s no glory here for you,” an excerpt from their song, “My Apology,” seems self-loathing, but it is sung with an upbeat melody, and when listened with the video, it takes a whole new meaning. Take a listen to the full song here and continue reading Gadfly Online’s interview with Noakes to learn more about the band. Gadfly Online: Can you provide us with some background? Where are you from? What made you pursue a career in music? Fiona Noakes: I was born in Toronto but moved to Ottawa when I was around 3-4 years old. Songwriting has always been in my bones from a young age: I remember coming up with songs in my head since I was a wee lass, but I never took the time to write them down. I also grew up in a pretty musical household (parents always had music playing at home), so music has always just been there throughout my life. I was grateful to have had my parents put me in classical piano lessons when I was eight. I also took music classes throughout high school and got my first guitar towards the end of high school. From there I started coming up with songs on guitar and got together with a high school friend, my former band mate, Tim Trant, to work on the songs together. I’ve always had a passion for performing (acting in film and theatre), and writing music was second nature to me, so it felt like a natural progression to try and pursue it on another level and to fuse both worlds of acting and music together. GO: How would you characterize your music? Do you fit into a stock genre or create a fusion of genres? FN: Our music is characterized differently based off of people’s definitions of the different musical genres. We usually use a few genres to describe our sound: indie alternative folk rock. I think also each band member (lead guitarist/back-up vocalist Cliff Chamberlain, drummer/back-up vocalist Danae Tsikouras, bassist Ben L’Ecuyer, and our most recently joined member on rhythm, guitar Seedus) brings a certain style/influence into the band based on the type of music they listen to/were influenced by, which is quite a wide range of genres including rock, country, ambient, metal, punk, etc. GO: Who would you cite as your musical influence? FN: I have quite a few musical influences. Tegan and Sara are my biggest influence; I also love Emily Haines, Metric, Mother Mother, The Pretty Reckless, the Kooks, Placebo, KT Tunstall, and Sarah McLachlan. In high school, I listened to a lot of Blink-182 and Eminem. GO: What project are you promoting right now? How does this fit into your overall career arc? FN: We are currently promoting our latest album, released this fall, called Fury of the Sea and our music video for our song, “Fury of the Sea.” This album fits in our overall career arc, as it’s a reflection of us growing individually and together as a band. Since we had already been together for sometime when recording this album, you can hear more of a solidified sound and style shining through on this album. This is also our first full-length album we have recorded together. For the full article visit: http://www.gadflyonline.com/home/index.php/fiona-noakes-band/
Fiona Noakes Band‘s music video for “Fury of the Sea” begins with a body washed up on shore. The body wakes up and it turns out to be the lead singer, Fiona Noakes. She looks utterly confused, wondering where she is. We are then introduced by two mysterious men wearing black masks. These men are interesting figures lurking in the water. With the help of special effects, these creeps look distorted, making rapid body movements as they crawl and examine another body by the shore. Many characters appear and soon, Noakes is reunited with her other bandmates. Aside from the plot, the viewers can enjoy some close ups of water hitting the rocks by the shore and the sunlight beaming through the leaves. Let us not forget the important part: the music. The indie/alternative track consists of a unique mixture of blues-y guitar chords and folk rhythms. “Fury of the Sea” will satisfy your hunger for that high-energy, yet simple fusion of blues, acoustic, indie, and folk sounds. Video Directed by Emily Shanley, Walkway Pictures Shot and Edited by Derek Price, Say Ten Productions Lyrics by Fiona Noakes Music and Arrangements by Fiona Noakes, Cliff Chamberlain, Ben L’Ecuyer, Danae Tsikouras Song Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Dean Hadjichristou, AddictiveSound Studios Song Produced by Fiona Noakes Band and Dean Hadjichristou http://fdrmx.com/fiona-noakes-band-fury-sea/
On the eve of Fiona Noakes Band setting to release their latest album Fury of the Sea, Curve has been lucky enough to sample some tracks. Fronted by Fiona Noakes and accompanied by Cliff Chamberlain (lead guitar), Danae Tsikouras (drums) and Benoit L’Ecuyer (bass), this band sets out to take you on a journey through love, loss and other things on the side. The first sampling from this album is the catchy “Misunderstood”. It opens with a guitar introduction that is as familiar to you as the introduction to the Indigo Girls’ “Pendalum Swinger”. Quickly though it takes you on its own path where Noakes and the band deliver a solid pop-folk track. Slowly the haunting sound of the guitar winds you through the verses of “Your Stare” with the smoky vocal line leading into a change of beat for the chorus. The track is mellow and hints at flavours still to come on the album. Title track “Fury of the Sea” has a strong instrumental line with the percussion melding nicely with an upbeat guitar and bass while Noakes’ vocals tie it all in. Closing out this preview is “Billy Davis House”. This track has that recognisable sound of a mid-nineties indie ballad. It would fit nicely as the soundtrack to a classic montage scene fit for a “But I’m a Cheerleader” or “Empire Records”- esque angst driven teen drama. Whilst there is a heavy folk influence to their sound, that draws from greats that have come before them, this four-piece Ottawa, Canada based band have managed in this small snippet of tracks to forge their own way. http://www.curvemag.com/Reviews/Fiona-Noakes-Band-set-to-Release-Upcoming-Album-Fury-of-the-Sea-140/
On the eve of Fiona Noakes Band setting to release their latest album Fury of the Sea, Curve has been lucky enough to sample some tracks. Fronted by Fiona Noakes and accompanied by Cliff Chamberlain (lead guitar), Danae Tsikouras (drums) and Benoit L’Ecuyer (bass), this band sets out to take you on a journey through love, loss and other things on the side. The first sampling from this album is the catchy “Misunderstood”. It opens with a guitar introduction that is as familiar to you as the introduction to the Indigo Girls’ “Pendalum Swinger”. Quickly though it takes you on its own path where Noakes and the band deliver a solid pop-folk track. Slowly the haunting sound of the guitar winds you through the verses of “Your Stare” with the smoky vocal line leading into a change of beat for the chorus. The track is mellow and hints at flavours still to come on the album. Title track “Fury of the Sea” has a strong instrumental line with the percussion melding nicely with an upbeat guitar and bass while Noakes’ vocals tie it all in. Closing out this preview is “Billy Davis House”. This track has that recognisable sound of a mid-nineties indie ballad. It would fit nicely as the soundtrack to a classic montage scene fit for a “But I’m a Cheerleader” or “Empire Records”- esque angst driven teen drama. Whilst there is a heavy folk influence to their sound, that draws from greats that have come before them, this four-piece Ottawa, Canada based band have managed in this small snippet of tracks to forge their own way. http://www.lotl.com/Reviews/Curve-Previews-the-Latest-to-come-from-Fiona-Noakes-Band-124/
Bitter State (Radio Edit) - Fiona Noakes Band Now Available on iTunes! https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/bitter-state-radio-edit/id897191009?i=897191022&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Skopemag.com Article Continued ....
Stoli: It can be very hard to find good people. Did you have to cut people prior and what commitment do you expect from your bandmates?
I think the biggest thing in any form of relationship is communication. It is pretty easy to tell from the start if someone is interested or not and if there is an issue get it out there before it becomes a bigger issue. My band has been incredibly committed to this project and even though they are also involved in other musical projects they are able to manage it all very well. We are all on the same level in this band with our goals and ambitions and the direction we would like to head.
Stoli: Your new EP ‘Staring at the Ceiling is out now. How long were you working on that album and where can readers listen & buy?
For Staring at the Ceiling were in the studio maybe for a full 5 days? We were also very lucky to be working with the amazing Dean Hadjichristou at Addictive Sound Studios who recorded, mixed and mastered the CD. Dean is very efficient and speedy with the recording process. The songwriting process for us begins with me coming up with something on guitar, from there I put lyrics to it, bring it to the band who build on that/make the songs come to life and then from there we rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
You can find all the songs on our website: www.fionanoakes.com
The album download is also available through iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/staring-at-the-ceiling-ep/id669079795
If you’d like a physical copy of the CD holler at us and we can send you one through snail mail or in person depending where you are!
Stoli: I love the video and song “Breathe In the Fear.” What does that song mean to you and how does the video represent your vision for the song?
Thank you very much Stoli. The song is a powerful song to perform. It definitely invokes a state of panic and fear from within and it’s open-ended enough that people can interpret it on all sorts of levels. Some people have interpreted it as an environmental song that talks about the end of the world, others as internal struggle. The song to me is about internal struggle and not being able to let go. I’ve always had a fascination with horror even though I still check under my bed for monsters every night. I approached the lovely director, cinematographer, editor Derek Price (Say Ten Productions) with the song, telling him I wanted to do a video on the scarier side and he really brought that to life. It was a bloody great time on set.
Stoli: The EP has 6 songs. How many songs did you have to choose from and how did you decide on those 6 songs?
Bitter State was actually re-recorded. We had been wanting to re-record an electric full band version of the band for a while, so figured why not put it on the new cd.
The other songs were the newer songs I had written at the time/were fresh to the band, so that was more new material to record that had not been recorded yet.
Glow that was the only song that was not recorded at Addictive Sound Studios. We had actually recorded it a few months before with my friend and sound master extraordinaire Jesse Newell.
Stoli: When we visit you in Ottawa, Canada where can we go to hear live music & enjoy cold beer?
So many awesome joints in town to choose from. Zaphod’s, Maverick’s, Cafe Dekcuf, Brass Monkey, Babylon, Darcy McGee’s, Ritual, my balcony.
Stoli: Do you feel that Justin Bieber’s behavior is giving off a bad vibe for other Canadian musicians?
See Skopemag.com for remainder of the article March 11th, 2014