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Strange Fires

Patrick Earles of Strange Fires on the music scene in Edmonton, inspiration, and his favorite band.Picture 14

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Strange Fires is the musical project of  Patrick Earles who hails from a little country known as Canada.


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YP: Let’s start from the beginning…what’s the story behind Strange Fires? How did this music project form?

Strange Fires: Well, I don’t live in Edmonton proper right now; I live in a town that’s about a half hour away. No one there’s really aware of the sort of music I wanted to make, so I knew I sort of had to record everything myself and figure out how to play it live later. So my first, self-titled EP was a result of that. I recorded it on a cassette 4-track because I used to have a lot of problems recording digitally, and I’m a big fan of lo-fi artists like Ariel Pink and Guided by Voices. A few months later, I met this guy Travis, who plays in a great band called Betrayers, and he introduced me to my first bassist. Then I met my first drummer at a Shotgun Jimmie show, and that was the first lineup. We started playing live about 8-ish months after I released the EP, and I’ve had a couple lineup changes since then, but it’s been cool so far.

YP: Your stellar EP ‘Walkabout’ was released this past June; can you tell us a bit about the collection of songs on the album and when can we expect a full-length record?

SF: I wrote a lot of those once I started playing live, because the only songs I had were those on my EP and that wasn’t enough for a decent set length. I got really into Tame Impala after I put out the first EP and “Outside” was my attempt to rip them off a bit. “Setting Sail” was based around this Breeders/Deerhunter sounding chord progression I had kicking around for a bit, and it’s about not wanting to stay in one place too long, like “Outside”. A lot of Edmonton bands do garage-y stuff, and “Friends” was my attempt at that sorta thing. “Walkabout” is about feeling sorta pressures to become an “adult” but not really knowing how. And “Departure” is about this friend I had who I got sorta close with, then she just sorta disappeared. Weird situation. I ended up recording the EP on my computer with my drummer, so it’s much more polished and the drums don’t suck this time hahaha. As for new stuff, I’m slowly starting to write new songs and I definitely want my next release to be a full-length. No idea how long that will take. Probably at least a year.

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Walkabout EP

YP: We haven’t interviewed many artists/bands from Canada; how would you describe the music scene in your area (Edmonton, Alberta)?

SF: Edmonton’s super close knit; pretty much everyone’s friends with each other and everyone’s pretty supportive of other artists, so it’s a pretty great place to start making music. But right now, the scene’s in a weird transitional period; a lot of really popular guys like Renny Wilson and Garrett from Brazilian Money have been moving away and new bands haven’t really been coming up, plus by far the most popular venue here, Wunderbar, is closing in a couple months. And there’s a really big shortage of venues here compared to, say, Calgary, where there’s like 20 venues in a 10 block radius; I can count the venues a band like mine can play on one hand. Most bands here are doing garage stuff, but there’s a few bands doing different stuff that stands out a bit too. My favourite locals right now are probably Betrayers, The Strugglefucks, Creaks, Diamond Mind, and TeeTahs.

YP: As a musician what or who are some of your influences when you’re creating music?

SF: Deerhunter’s my favourite band, and I definitely try and base my songs on their sound a bit. Around the time I was writing my first EP, I was listening to a lot of Ariel Pink, Guided by Voices, Syd Barrett, The Olivia Tremor Control, and Robyn Hitchcock; 60s/60s-influenced psychedelic/baroque pop is something I geek out over a lot. When I was writing Walkabout, I was listening to newer bands like Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra a lot and I was trying to write songs that kinda did that sort of thing. Some of my songs also have a lot of codas that sort of just jam on one riff over and over, which is an idea I got from Neu! and Deerhunter.

YP: Outside of music what are some other things you are interested in? Do you have any strange or weird hobbies?

SF: Honestly, if I’m not playing music, I’m probably listening to some or seeking out more. It’s definitely the thing I’m most invested in. Right now, I’m studying linguistics in university, as well as English, and I always have to explain what that is whenever I get asked what I’m doing at school, haha.

YP: Finally, can you put together a mini playlist of stuff you’ve been listening to?

Alex Calder – Strange Dreams

Amen Dunes – I Know Myself

The Beach Boys – I’ll Bet He’s Nice

Fountain – Jesus 99

Freak Heat Waves – Correction

Hana Vave – The Expedition

The Kinks – Do You Remember Walter?

Sean Nicholas Savage – Days Go By

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