We got the chance to catch up with Mercedes Arn-Horn from Canadian band Courage My Love to talk about their upcoming trip to the UK, their newest album and monobrows!
So you’re coming back to the UK so soon! You were here in May/June last year so you know British crowds are you expecting a cool reaction cos I know the venues are a lot bigger this time around?
Yeah it’s always a good time over there; we’re always looking forward to those dates the most. Every time we come there the crowds are small but mighty and everyone is passionate and it’s always a good time. We’re deffo looking forward to it and it’s gonna be one of the highlights of the tour.
And next year you’re going on to support As It Is in Europe so even bigger venues to take on?
Yeah, every time we’ve come here it’s been headliner stuff which is really fun and we have a great time cos it’s a different vibe and you can play to those who know your songs and you’re the main event. But opening is a chance to make new fans and play bigger stages and you see what other European fans are like that aren’t just our fans.
Your new album Synesthesia came out this year, it was described as “infectious” by Alt Press and we certainly agree, it’s so catchy and the riffs are superb. So what was the reaction like from your fans cos I know it’s different to your earlier stuff, it’s more mature?
Thank you! It’s great to hear, the sound has definitely changed and fans were not expecting that from us. The first song we released from Synesthesia for the world to hear was “Stereo”; it was one of the most poppy songs of the record. From the beginning since Stereo, we could tell who was a die-hard fan and who were the fans that just liked a few of our songs- and the die-hard fans loved it. I can tell that live the songs are impacting people in a different way. Some people hold these songs closer and apply them to themselves and hold the lyrics closer.
That leads perfectly to my next question because there seems to be an underlying darkness to some of the lyrics and everything surround it, did you draw on any personal experiences for the themes of the songs and lyrics?
Absolutely! For us we always write about personal stuff, we’re very honest with each other about what is going on in our personal lives and we try to use that when we’re writing songs too. For Synesthesia, it was a perfect storm cos all three of us were going through really tough shitty times and it seemed to all happen at the same time. So it was a good writing experience cos we were all on the same page so it was reflective of us all at that time.
In terms of the recording and writing process, did someone come with a theme or a riff or did you approach with any lyrics first?
At first we were just writing so we didn’t have a theme for the album but sometimes it just happens early on in the process, the flowers arrange themselves then you can tell what it’s gonna look like. My writing is like a diary; I don’t even know what the song is about until I’m halfway done writing it, then I look back and I’m like oh yeah it all makes sense now. Because of the times we were going through, the songs started out being really dark but we had a break in between recording and writing where we did half the record then went back to write. The second half of songs, they turned out as a little less vulnerable and pathetic and sad; instead of a place of misery, they were a place of strength and overcoming all this stuff. It was a very natural way to do it. So the record isn’t a concept record, it’s more of a narrative of the thoughts going on with us at that time so it was like a happy ending.
You recently released a lyric video for ‘Walls’, who came up with the concept of it because there are quite trippy visuals and up close and personal filming?
We didn’t have much of a budget cos we were on warped tour but we knew we wanted to do something cos there are so many talented people on that tour. We knew Walls was a song that would really work, cos we never envisioned a complex video for that song. We did most of the filming in the bandwagon we were in, we went to Walmart and bought coloured lights or we filmed in parking lots we were in cos some had that cool football lighting in them. The concept was like a collective thing, at first we were filming to see what looks good and like testing everything but then we thought after a while we tried to make the most confusing, visually gratifying video that we’ve made so far. The story of the song didn’t need drama; it would be cooler if it was more of a vibe. We also have a friend in Paris who directed the Animal Heart video named Polygon. He is an amazing editor and a glitch artist; he makes stuff that really suits our current aesthetic.
Yeah! I noticed like your aesthetics in your promo photos and everything surrounding you guys had a theme and is almost the visual to the synth music within the new tracks
We knew with a title like Synesthesia, it’s a mental condition where all your senses are combined so if you’re hearing music you might be seeing colour. So to embody that we wanted have a general theme of old school technology and old film vibes and shooting our videos on actual film cameras and manipulating everything digitally. Sometimes it’s really cool that you can do tricks with old cameras that you can’t always do with new stuff, so we learnt a lot about that so we wanted to carry the theme over into everything.
I read in a couple of previous interviews that you’re really inspired by old school horror films, have you been inspired by anything new recently? Whether it is art or film or any new music?
Yeah! For Synesthesia we were inspired by a movie called ‘Suspiria’ by Dario Argento, he’s one of my favourite directors of all time that usually does horror movies, but this one is more of a psychedelic art piece. For us, a lot of the colours and contrasting images and vibe-y parts of the movie inspired us artistically in what direction we wanted to go in. But for right now, I’m really inspired by Frida Kahlo, who knows what that means?
Maybe that’d the third album and you’ll grow a monobrow and start vibing Frida
Yeah you’ve gotta go all out!
A few weeks ago you went on Warped Rewind At Sea and you were on a bill with bands like Bowling For Soup and Good Charlotte, how was that?
It was insane! It was a really great time, I think it’s the first one they’ve ever done so it was an honour to be a part of that. Yeah to be a part of a bill with awesome bands, bands we have looked up to, like you’re on a boat together but everyone was super chill. Plus it was over Halloween so that was awesome!
So in contrast to that you’ve done British festivals (not that we have anything like that), but you’ve done some in the past, are you looking to come back next year for the season?
Yeah of course we’d love to play any festival, but we like Camden Rocks, we want to look to play that again, I know for a fact we’re definitely trying and hopefully we will be back.
You’ve teamed up with a company called Set The Set so your fans can pick the setlist for the UK tour. Was this a team decision so people could hear the old school/rare songs or if someone loves the new album they might want to hear more off there?
It’s great to hear from our fans and know what they wanna hear, since this is the third time in the UK, we’ve played both old and new songs before so this was a way to spice it up so people would want to come back and see us again. It gets us to know our fans a little better and what they’re into. Everyone has that one song they hope the band plays, like “dude I hope they play (blank)”
Yeah cos will always you get those fans like “you shouldn’t have played that, it’s good but I prefer (blank) song cos it’s my favourite” and you’re like well we can’t play everything!
Yeah exactly, it’s cool to see how many fans have the same favourites!
Thank you for your time!
Thank you! We can’t wait to get out there!