Article by: Chad Hutchings
Allow us to introduce you to Dominique Fricot.
You've seen us talk with Revelstoke, and you've seen us talk with North Lakes. Now it's time to introduce you to Dominique Fricot, another great artist headed your way at Wednesday's Sticky Magazine CMW Showcase at The Rivoli.
By way of Vancouver, Fricot is striking out east to bring his soulful rock work to CMW in no small numbers, playing a whopping five sets in four days. He's no stranger the that kind of schedule though, both through his solo effort (in support of his 2012 release If Baby Could Walk) and with his earlier act The Painted Birds - an act that clocked plenty of hours on the road and got Fricot well-acquainted with the festival scene across the country.
To get to know the vocalist and instrumentalist a little better (an artist that draws comparisons to the likes of Chris Martin and Adam Duritz), we recently worked in some quality phone time with Fricot, under the constant pressure to avoid cheap Painted Birds puns about flying solo.
Sticky: So I saw you just announced that you're playing at Squamish Valley Music Festival this year, and you'll be here for CMW of course. Does anything stand out as a favourite experiences with a festival in the past? Any stories to share?
Dominique: I've had some good times at a lot of different festivals. I find SXSW was by far the most immense; you're just surrounded by thousands and thousands of musicians for five days. But festival stories... [laughs] when I played Sled Island a couple years ago [with The Painted Birds], we had a very hectic guitar player...he was very dynamic in terms of his movement. I was sort of engaged in a song as well, and moved over to his side of the stage and had my eyes closed and he smoked me - he hit me straight in the forehead with the headstock of his guitar. I just went “Owww” and closed my eyes again and went on singing. I was just glad, because it came really close to my eye. But, when I opened my eyes and looked out at the audience, they all had that ghostly oh-my-God look on their faces. I didn't realize it, but... have you ever cut yourself on the forehead? It bleeds out like crazy! The chest of my shirt had blood on it and my whole face was covered in blood, but I didn't realize it until I went to push my hair out of my face, and my hand was covered. I realized that everyone was just so frightened by the image of this face completely covered in blood.
Sticky: That's a great one! Now that you're doing your own thing, how does touring solo compare to playing with a band like that?
Dominique: In terms of where I am, I'm just a lot more happy with what I'm doing; I'm feeling much more confident in the music I'm making now and I feel like it's a lot more personal and a lot more honest. When I come to CMW, I'll still have a band with me – I have a lot of friends who are really good musicians from Vancouver who I'm bringing out with me that play with me regularly. But yeah, I think the main difference for me is that I really think I've found my place in what I'm doing and I'm a lot more happy. Being older and a bit more mature, I'm just a little more sure of the music I'm making.
Sticky: Since the old band parted ways, you've had that first EP in 2012 and you're working on another one, is that right?
Dominique: Yeah, I released my first solo EP in June 2012 and I'm actually just finishing off a whole bunch of writing right now. I'll be recording and releasing a couple of songs over the summer for the festival season, and then releasing a new record next Spring.
Sticky: That new stuff, is it on the same plane as what you released on the last EP, or does it have a different feel to it?
Dominique: I think the first EP is a bit mellower. The more you play live, your sound just naturally changes. A live audience is different from a recording studio or writing in your room and you're almost pushing a different style of energy toward the audience and having them bounce it back to you. If Baby Could Walk is very sombre and mid-tempo. The more I write and the more I play live, it's a bit more rockin', but I think it's still coming from the same place and the same vein of sound. It's just getting more teeth.
Sticky: Years ago, there was more of a focus on pumping out LPs – full length, full length, full length – but, with you putting out that EP and those loose tracks on their own, do you think the audience calls for that more these days?
Dominique: It totally does. Everybody talks about our attention spans getting shorter, but I think people just need to be updated more often. Everyone loves new content, everyone loves new videos... new stories to constantly tap into. That goes with songs, that goes with videos, and that goes with any kind of content. I think the album will always be here; a lot of people talk about the death of the album, but I don't think the album is going anywhere. But, I think people are going to be releasing different instalments of whatever it is they're releasing, and that's definitely becoming more prominent with bands bringing out more and more singles and shorter releases. It's just a natural progression that people are going to move more toward 7” and that sort of format.
Sticky: Alright, now one last question: Since you're going to be coming to a festival like CMW, you're going to be getting a lot of people happening in on your sets that don't know you. If you could direct a new listener to a song of yours that you really think gives a good feel of your sound or what you're going for , what track would that be?
Dominique: That's a good question. I mean, there's the single, but I don't know if that's the central piece. For what I'm really going for, there are a couple of live videos online for the song “Strange Lady” and I think that's... well, it's hard. When you're trying to direct somebody, you want to give them something that's really immediate, and that's why the single is so valuable. I could say “Haunted By Love” because it's more immediate and somebody can say “Okay, I can really get into this” whereas something like “Strange Lady” has a bit more depth to it. Why I write music is a lot about the lessons I've learned, or pieces of philosophy that I've picked up along the way that I feel are really beautiful. The story behind “Strange Lady” is of an old teacher of mine who basically lost her memory from Lyme disease. The crux of the song is based around her once saying to me that the most important thing in life is to love your loved ones and to be loved by your loved ones. I think that's kind of where my music comes from and its kind of what I'm trying to get across. More than just the melody and more than just the hook; It's saying things that come a bit more directly from your heart.
If more exploration is your thing, check out the links below, view one of those videos for "Strange Lady", and head over to Dominique Fricot's official CMW profile.