Interview – FM Berlin

Photo Credit: Louis-Philippe Chiasson

FM Berlin is a four piece alt-rock band from Moncton, NB. They’re a unique set of guys who don’t let today’s music standards push them into a box. They’ve created a unique vibe and sound that differentiates themselves from a lot of other bands out there and it’s refreshing to hear something that’s not so “normal”. It’s hard to put any kind of label on them but to be honest, that’s a-ok in my books. They’ve created an interesting and creative story that is all their own and it starts with the unique name. They can thank their bassist Glen Farquhar’s father for the inspiration. He was a rebel who, back in June of 1960, smuggled a camera into Soviet-occupied East Berlin. It was there he managed to take pictures of the bombed-out city and take them back to Canada. So if you’re the least bit piqued by what I just said, you should read along and find out some more. These guys are definitely going to keep you interested and maybe you’ll learn something new!

Also, if you’re wise, you’ll check out their tour dates below and check them out if they’re in a city near you!

I’m not going to lie, I am definitely a newbie when it comes to listening to your music. I was obviously instantly hooked. You have a unique sound that I can’t overly put a finger on. The first thing that pops into my mind though is The Killers. So do you have a way of describing your band to someone who goes “Who’s FM Berlin?”?

We always describe ourselves as if The Stokes and The Police had a baby…in space, so yeah I could see where someone might hear The Killers in our sound I guess.

You didn’t quite like the sound you got from recording in a state of the art recording studio. What did you do differently when building the home studio to get the sound you wanted?

I think the difference was taking our time to get things right. Everything had to be cared for, from the sounds right down to the songs themselves. That’s the interesting thing that happens when you begin to dig into songs, everything affects everything.

What was it like with having producers in a different province than you producing your music? Did it make it more difficult and challenging when it came to creating the final product?

Actually, we really enjoyed the process a lot. I mean having a producer there with you is always the best option, but doing it the way that we did, made for some cool experimentation.

If you were able to design your dream tour starring you, where would you go and who would be your dream line-up?

We would definitely like to go straight across Canada. We are working on that as we speak. Also, I think it would be cool to tour Europe (The UK especially) since all of our favourite bands come from there.

Our dream line up would have to be something like this:

The Arctic Monkey, The Strokes, Oasis (impossible at the moment), Elvis Costello, The Arkells and of course, FM Berlin..haha.

I understand your name came from a very sentimental place – which I think is amazing. Did you come up with it fairly easily or did you have a long list of names you had to choose from and FM Berlin is ultimately the one you chose? Are there any “almost, maybes” you’d care to share with us?

Haha, yep. We came up with a few that we thought would work, but in the end, we came to our senses. We thought TORO was a great name until we dug a little deeper and realized it was the name of a snow blower company. Bloody Lips and Smite Lilies were others names we almost went with.

What is something unique you bring to your shows? Do you like routine and do the same thing every night? Or do you like to mix it up and do something different?

I think we bring a lot of energy to the live performances. I feel like we go out with the intention of having a well-rehearsed and put together performance, but there always seems to be a point in the show where things just go where they want to go and we try to follow along. A lot of times the audience has something to do with it. It’s not that they are in control or anything like that, it’s more like a boxing match. You try this, and they try that. They are two moving parts and the trick is to get them to move in accord somewhat. There is an exchange whether it’s realized it or not, and if you get it right everyone settles in and can enjoy the experience.

Do you have any favourite places you love to go back to every time you’re on the road?

Yeah, Miramichi, Saint John, Halifax are all fun spots in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. We love playing in Toronto, although we’ve only been a few times. We played St. John’s Newfoundland once and I have to say it’s an amazing place!

What is your favourite venue to play at?

Hmmm, it’s more about the audience for us. If we make a connection with the audience, we are not really concerned about where we are. We just enjoy the back and forth with the crowd.

Tour life can be tiresome. What do you enjoy while on tour to relax and unwind?

The playing is the best part for us. The rest is just a lead up to the show. That said, we do like to try different foods when we can. The most interesting cuisine that I have had on tour so far has got to be Ethiopian. It’s hotter than you’d expect, so it’s best on days off and not on days where singing is required.

Do you have any favourite songs you enjoy performing live?

We have a new song (which is unreleased) that we are playing on this tour called “I Want This..That”. We open every show with it. 

Most bands enjoy playing a cover or two; do you have any favourite covers you like to play?

We currently like playing 1901 by Phoenix and Under The Cover of Darkness by The Strokes.

Is there anything on the horizon in the near future that new and old fans alike can be excited about?

Well, there is the Ontario leg of the Welcome The Winter Tour, which we are all really looking forward to. Also, we are going to begin filming live performances in our rehearsal spot, and we will be uploading the performances onto YouTube and Instagram. We are taking requests, so if you want to see/hear us perform a particular song, send us an email or a DM us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

WELCOME THE WINTER TOUR DATES:
February 8, Seahorse Tavern, Halifax, NS
February 9, The Capitol, Fredericton, NB
February 10, Pepper’s Pub, Saint John, NB
February 23, O’Donaghue’s Irish Pub, Miramichi, NB
March 3, Supermarket, Toronto, ON
March 8, Phog Lounge, Windsor, ON
March 10, Cafe Deckuf, Ottawa, ON
March 30, Old Triangle, Moncton, NB

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