Heavy with a side of catchiness, this local band is one to watch
Sometimes, musicians need to form a few crappy bands before finding a group of people that really makes performing and songwriting something special. Sometimes, finding the right people to form a band all comes down to good timing.
Nearly two years ago, four guys from two different bands came together to form an aggressive rock band called Fashion Police. While they may have worn fur coats on stage before, the band name is not a declaration of their immaculate sense of style. Rather, it’s representative of their sense of humour.
“We’re a bunch of silly dudes who just like to have fun, and that was the idea of this band from the beginning,” said lead singer Alex Kaluza with his mouth full of food. He paused. “Sorry,” he said with a laugh. “I’m eating a tuna sandwich.”
“We didn’t want it to be something too serious, you know, like ‘Bleeding Red Crimson Death,’” said Preston Ward, the bassist. “We wanted a name that people would hear and be like, huh?”
When you listen to their music however, in an attempt to describe it, words similar to ‘Bleeding Red Crimson Death’ come to mind. Between the violent screams of Kaluza, the gritty guitars and the dark lyrical themes, their tunes sound much like Kaluza described them: fire.
“I think overall we just wanted to play pissed-off music. I think we’re just all angry,” said Brendan Mainville, the guitarist, with a laugh. “We’re really happy on the outside, but inside we’re dying,” Kaluza added.
Fashion Police is the first band Kaluza has sung lead vocals in, and one of his biggest challenges was having to write lyrics. “I never knew how much fun it could be to get it all out on paper,” he said. “I’m a pretty happy dude in general, but for some reason, when I start trying to write something, nothing comes out happy.”
Most of the lyrics are based on made-up stories, he said, incorporating storylines and characters. For example, one song describes someone who is suicidal, another a drug addict, another someone who is hallucinating. “There’s a lot about death,” he said. “We’re currently seeking help for [Kaluza],” Mainville joked.
The band is set to release a new EP this summer. “It just sounds really loud and in your face, but there’s some grooviness to it,” said Kaluza. He said the band plays with atypical song structure and varying time signatures. Like their first EP, Winter, it was recorded at Prolific Summer Studio in Burlington, Vermont alongside producer Justin Gonyea.
Kaluza and Mainville had been friends for many years, trying to form a band that would commit. They picked up Ward, the bassist, who was in between bands at the time. They tried a few different drummers before Mike Niro was scooped up. After a few jams, the ball really started rolling. When Kaluza and Mainville started the band, they said they wanted to create music in the same vein as American rock group Young Widows.
“We tried that and we just sucked,” Kaluza said. “When we stopped doing that, we just made our own sound. Obviously it’s heavy music and there are some similarities but I think we have something unique within our genre.”
Ward said that instead of putting bands on the pedestal and trying to be like them, they take aspects of the music they like and make it their own.
The band said one of their most memorable performances was on Halloween of last year, where they included a funny surprise for Niro. The band took the stage dressed in fur coats, but what they didn’t tell Niro was that underneath the coats the rest of the band wore shirts with his face on it.
“I grew a third eyeball,” Niro said. “He almost couldn’t drum anymore,” said Mainville.
Having been in and out of various bands, they’ve come to realize that keeping a band together comes down to collaboration—and maybe some joking around.
“You can be a really good musician, you could have all the talent, but when it comes to being in a band, it’s a group effort,” Ward said. “If you’re not all working together, or if one guy’s got too much of an ego, or one guy’s not committed, it all falls apart.”
Kaluzo let out a laugh. “We all have really big egos though,” he said.
The band will be performing at Turbo Haüs alongside Hounds and Indian Handcrafts on April 8 at 9 p.m.