Meet the Pop Rock sensation whose meteoric rise to stardom can’t be understated.
Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, the enigmatic Pop-Rock outfit have amassed a wealthy following, with the early release of their debut album, ‘Find the Shoreline’ already surpassing more than 1.25m streams on Spotify. The line-up, consisting of Eric LaBossiere (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Joel Perreault (lead guitar, backing vocals), Joel Couture (bass), Ivan Burke (drums, backing vocals), and Guy Abraham (keys, synths, Ableton, main backing vocalist) have recently refined their style, adopting a “50/50” motto, igniting a trade-off between the experimental, evocative nature of their songwriting, and the captivating, widely accessible choruses which infiltrate their latest record. This concept became a reality with ‘Find the Shoreline’, and the band’s conscious decision to simplify melodies and shorten track lengths culminates in an emphatic, commercially accessible record, all while adhering to the unique identity of the band.
With the electrifying riffs and memorable one-liners laying the foundations for the album, it’s the band’s versatility which transcends ‘Find the Shoreline’ to the next level. A tracklist comprised of pop, rock and alternative sounds at its core, but also embracing elements of punk, ska and the ethereality of art-pop – and it all sounds so natural. With such charm and amicable qualities, it should come as no surprise that the band have garnered widespread attention throughout the album rollout. Elected to open for some of Canada’s most established artists at the Burt Block Party Festival later this month, the band will embrace the spotlight and take centre stage – which is exactly where they belong. While a tumultuous journey up until this point, things are certainly falling into place for the Canadian-American outfit, and as they plan to embark on a mega tour throughout 2023, Hello Fiasco are undoubtedly ones to watch.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking to the band’s lead vocalist, Eric LaBossiere. Here’s how the conversation went:
Hi guys – Great to have you over here at Cultural Reset! First of all, congratulations on the release of your emphatic new album, ‘Find The Shoreline’. How does it feel to finally get the music out in the public?
What a relief! There is no hiding the fact that it’s been a long haul to make this record happen. And I would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t mention that this moment of releasing this album really makes up for all of the ups and downs we’ve experienced over the last few years. We started this back in 2016, in secret, when three of us from the Mailman’s Children (Joel Couture, Joel Perreault and myself) decided to change how we wrote and produced music. We decided that in order to make a better go of our careers and to get our music on a bigger stage so to speak, that we needed to meet the listener in the middle by not only writing and producing what we loved, but by ALSO writing and producing what the listener loved. 50/50 became our motto. Essentially, we wanted a product that was more friendly and commercial. So, we went back to the drawing board with John Paul Peters; a producer we had worked with before and who we highly respected. We decided to shorten songs…simplify melodies and structures… make sure everything rhymed… make sure that the lyrics were solid and relatable. But I think the biggest thing we did is took on two new members from the French Quarter of Winnipeg, which is called St. Boniface and where we all grew up. Ivan Burke had already filled in on tour and in the studio for our 4th and final Mailman’s Children album, and he did an amazing job, so we asked him to join us for the new venture. We didn’t even know that new venture would be called Hello Fiasco at that point. And then after we had tracked the first 11 of 23 Hello Fiasco songs, we realized that we still needed more vocals and more sound in the band. This is when we decided to call up Guy Abraham, who had sung lead for Peel, The Velvet Pill and Mission Light. Not only did he become the main supporting voice of the band, but he has filled in a big void of ours by taking on keys, synths and Abelton for the band as well.
Released early on Spotify, the album has already amassed a whopping 1,250,000 streams, as well as being added to over 2,500 playlists. How pleased are you with the album’s reception up to now?
It’s a crazy thing to see the unexpected become a reality. We are so proud of what has happened so far and we look forward to what is yet to come. It’s a really good feeling to know that so many are jumping on board with our new songs and sound.
Critics and fans have likened your Pop-Rock sound to genre-defining artists such as Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco. How much do these bands influence your work, and are these comparisons something you thrive off?
I remember when we were polling our new songs across six countries, to make sure the project was heading in the right direction. And I remember seeing these comparisons come in…comparisons to really big rock, pop rock and alternative bands. I have to be honest…at first, we were all a little shocked because our old band and bands had either mostly been compared to smaller bands, unknown bands, or no bands at all sometimes. It’s the complete opposite with Hello Fiasco and I think this is mainly because the music we are writing and producing now is a little more “world” or “commercial friendly.” It’s an honour when someone says Eric’s voice reminds them or Brendon Urie or David Bowie, or that the bass and guitar riffs remind people of Fall Out Boy or the Cars, or when they say that some of our tunes remind them of the Killers or even ColdPlay. It’s a good feeling knowing you are being compared to big names, whether some people like to admit it or not.
‘Find The Shoreline’ is an incredibly diverse album, with its deviating pace and vast topics making for an enthralling listen. Was this a conscious decision, and how difficult was it to showcase your diversity while maintaining a concise body of work?
We initially recorded 23 songs, to end up with the 12 that comprise “Find The Shoreline.” And throughout the 23 – or even the 12 that made the album – there are 100% for sure different styles within the album we created, which has been classified as pop rock. You have 9 rock tunes, and some have elements or either pop, alternative, punk, emo or even ska/reggae. And then you have 3 ballads that are also quite a bit different from each other. One of them is more etherial and thought-provoking (“Before Time Leaves You”), one is an acoustic pop-rock duet with a known Canadian Jazz singer named Erin Propp (“Atlantis and Compatible”), and one is more on the country western side of things (“Words Are Fast”). Yet somehow, the collection of songs makes sense together. The bassist and I run the business side of band, and I cannot tell you how much flack we got for the choices we made in deciding the album…right from the beginning. Many of our own allies and contacts were dead against some of the choices we made, and they were pretty clear about it. They kept saying that we were just taking too much of a risk in combining the styles we did to make one pop-rock album. My response was pretty simple, “If you look back at YOUR favourite albums, and why those albums went down in history, it was almost always because of the risks taken and the eccletic nature of the work.” I mean, people want a ride and surprises, right? They want a journey, don’t they? That’s kind of how Joe and I decided the final cut of “Find The Shoreline.” And really, if the same guys playing on all of the songs, and the same producers are working on those songs, what might seem to be major diverties is not really as diverse as we think. Usually, those diverse songs end up working together when you interlock them one after the other on an album as though they were puzzle pieces.
The tracklist is abounding with meticulous passages and memorable choruses, with the unique songwriting revealing great chemistry within the band. How does Hello Fiasco go about structuring their songs?
In the past and with The Mailman’s Children, I used to live in Canada where the band was. As a result, we would all write the initial song together more often than not. But with Hello Fiasco, it’s completely different because I’m in Montana. I usually write the entire first draft of a song on my own; lyrics and music. Things get emailed over to Canada and then the guys have some time to listen to the demo and figure out where they will fit into the picture. Because we’re a little more experienced now, we like to rehearse in the studio we record at, and right before recording. This is when we all get together and spend a few concentrated days on the song, getting it ready to record while the iron is hot. The lyrics don’t transform much, but the guys and our co-producer John Paul Peters all make major contributions to shaping the music side of things. We all seem to like this system, and it really seems to work when we look back at the songs we have been making these last few years.
The creative vision behind the band can be also seen through the music video accompanying the album’s lead single ‘Hold Me Close’ – which demonstrates the band’s exceptional versatility. How was this experience, and can we expect more videos for ‘Find the Shoreline’ in the future?
We got to make several videos over the last couple of years. There were lyric videos, animation videos, and other kinds. But the official video for “Hold Me Close” was a dream come true. We had the amazing Canadian singer Sheena Rattai (Red Moon Road) play the starring female role, alongside our bassist Joel Couture, who played the male counterpart. We got to shoot the bulk of the video on top of the legendary INN at THE FORKS hotel in downtown Winnipeg, MB, which has a widespread panoramic view of the city. It was fire season so that’s why you see that cool orange haze against the blue backdrop throughout the video. One of the reason’s we got to perform and look like rockstars on that rooftop is because of filmography team we had for the video. We had a camera crew of 4, including Alain Muller, Joey Senft, Kevin Maretz and Nick Van Seggelen. They covered EVERYTHING! We had even hauled speakers up there so that the song could be pumping out of the system while we played along. It was so loud it could be clearly heard over Ivan’s drums. It gave us lots of energy and at times the people down below would clap, thinking we were actually playing and pulling a Beatles “Get BacK” stunt. It was such a great memory making this video.
The band have been requested to open for some of Canada’s most compelling artists at the Burt Block Party festival later this month. How excited are you to be performing new material at such a prodigious venue?
I think some of us are still in shock. For me, I personally remember the first time I saw Bif Naked perform at the Convention center in Winnipeg for thousands of people. I also remember the first time I saw I Mother Earth play at Another Roadside Attraction. And I also remember the multiple times I have been able to see the Watchmen perform all across Canada. It is such an honour being asked to play not just one but three bands we highly respect.It’s strange and humbling to think that they will be listening to OUR songs, and hearing us play, sing or talk up there.
On the topic of performing, the vigour and intensity of tracks like ‘Hold Me Close’ and ‘Listen To Me’ are dying to be performed in front of crowds of people. Will Hello Fiasco be embarking on a tour once the album rollout is complete? What are the band’s aspirations for the remainder of 2022, and beyond?
Yes! When you’re indie or DYI, and your catalogue is under your own label and publishing company like ours is currently, it takes time to set up strategic tours. Especially if you want to make sure those tours are worthwhile. As we build the Hello Fiasco name over these next months, via PR, press, interviews and some live recordings, we are also planning 2023 tours for parts of Canada and the world as we speak.