F&M began in 2002 as Ryan Anderson’s 48 hour experiment in self-recording. Ryan prefers to think of himself as “experience-trained.” He believes in the cocktail-napkin method of song-writing: a brilliant idea could hit at any moment and he has never written two songs the same way. He draws his musical inspiration from some of his favourite artists — Leonard Cohen, Smog, Will Oldham, and The National, to name a few — from famous playwrights like Bernard Shaw — and from human experience. He was once approached after a gig and told “You sing the saddest songs, but with the biggest smile!” After a hiatus to travel and study, F&M grew into a collaboration between Ryan and Becky Anderson, with new music, an updated image, two additional musicians stolen from a defunct electronic-pop band, and a long lost brother to play the bass.
Becky acquired formal music training on the pipe organ, but is mainly self-taught in piano, accordion, guitar and cymbeline. She is rooted in deep academic longings and completed a Masters in Soviet Russian Rock Music Culture. When performing, She has a dramatic playing style and will often leave her microphone to just walk out into the audience to sing and play the accordion acoustically. Becky draws her inspiration for her music not only from her background in literature and music, or some of her favourite artists — like Dean and Britta, Beth Gibbons of Portishead, and PJ Harvey — but also from the imagery of the circus and even the violence of birds.
Currently F&M is recording thanks to a grant from RAWLCO Radio! Recently F&M partnered with Deadwear entrepreneur and artist Glen Ronald for a thematic album on loss entitled Every Light Must Fade. A music video will be unveiled later this year / early 2010.
So, Ryan and Becky, how do you describe your music to people?
Folk Noir... but we're working on a new genre called "library rock". I think this implies the literate/cerebral side of our music that straddles the dark topics and absurdity of it all. It also implies that we're a rock band that's often telling people to shhhh... we like to rock but we don't hide behind loud amps.
Tell me more about how you originally got into your craft.
Ryan: I started with classical guitar but started getting interested in rock & roll at the tender age of 5... played tuba in the school band and progressed to writing and sporadically made underground tape recordings of my music and playing live in the WAAAAY underground college scene.
Becky: I fought hard against music lessons but am so glad my mother made me go. I started in electronic organ and progressed to pipe organ and classical voice training. I was also very involve in church choirs, community and university choral ensembles. I think the old pump organ in the garage inspired my creative side and after high school I bought a piano at a garage sale. Writing my own songs were a refuge and when I met Ryan he encouraged me to play them live. The guitar and accordion came later from a desire to have a more transportable instrument. Still waiting for a really affordable and great sounding foldable electric piano that can fit in a stylish handbag.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Brunch... lots of brunch... and singing... and drinking wine... Singing during brunch while drinking wine.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Canada! It's massive... we love it but when you tour at -48 degrees Celsius and the next playable town is 17 hours away (not an exaggeration) things can get both hard and costly. Granted the challenges also contribute to the art, and Canadians are as generous and as nice as you've heard but touring in this country can be quite interesting.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Becky: There are really funny pictures of me as a child dancing on picnic tables using paper plates as a drum and plenty of photos of me singing to all my stuffed animals. I also loved directing my barbies in circus like productions. In junior high I took a career test and the results said I would make a great funeral home director or circus performer. Later I took some studies at Moscow State University in Russia and the campus was beside a circus which I thought was pretty funny. Maybe I will end up in the circus yet.
Ryan: The king of Canada... but then I realized our monarchy is based in England... but I may still make the Lieutenant Governor (which is the Queen's representative in Canada).
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
As mentioned, It's really cold and dark here most of the time as Edmonton is a fairly northern city. So our community in Edmonton is a little like a cocoon for nurturing a lot of songwriting and art of all sorts. We have an amazing arts community in our fair burg.
What other artists out there do you love?
We really love The National, Dean & Britta, Smog, Will Oldham, Leonard Cohen, PJ Harvey, Tindersticks, Martin Tielli (of the Rheostatics), Wendy McNeill (GOOGLE HER!!! AMAZING), also Jazz and Classical music... the list could go on and on!
What does your future hold?
F&M released Every Light Must Fade during this past year... and between minor tours we also wrote and completed another record due out in the spring of 2010. We'll be busy touring, reading books that we hope our listeners recommend, brunching and possibly winning the Stanley Cup... can a band win the Stanley Cup?