Being in a band is like being in a family, says Relic Kings vocalist Rob Faries.
The Moose Factory-based rock band is currently working on new music.
Previously known as Black Stone, Relic Kings is comprised of three main members: Faries, guitarist Michael Archibald and drummer Jimmy McLeish. There are also touring members Stewart Sutherland and Shaun Melanson.
“I feel very lucky to have great bandmates who love music just as much as I do,” Faries says. “They’re very committed, they’re really amazing musicians. They’re world-class musicians.”
Faries, 43, says the band is planning to record later this year and early into next year and then have an extensive tour promoting new music.
Today, July 10, the band will perform virtually at Weengushk International Film Festival.
For Faries, who loves performing live and interacting with people, not being able to perform during the pandemic has been hard. He can’t wait to sing on the stage and see people again.
“Our live performances are very powerful. They do not translate well to acoustic shows on the Internet,” he says. “You don’t get to experience our music without hearing the five-piece band live.”
The band’s 2016 Armoury EP was produced and mixed by a Canadian producer Mike Fraser, who worked with AC/DC, Metallica, Aerosmith and Led Zepellin. The album was mainly an upbeat, guitar-driven rock album.
The following 2019 album, Blinded By The Sun, had more variety in genres and included ballads.
"What we're doing now is we aren't trying to sound like anything. We write songs. If the song we feel is strong, we'll include it on the album regardless of the style," Faries says.
In 2018, the band won Rock Album of the Year at the 2018 Indigenous Music Awards. In that same year, they had an acoustic, two-piece show in Germany.
Faries says the band might return to play in Germany sometime in the future. The response the band got from their music, although not all members performed, was amazing.
“The audience was so attentive. We actually incorporated a lot of speaking in between the music, so there was a lot of storytelling,” Faries says.
Some of their performances also took place at Yonge-Dundas Square, Horseshoe Tavern and the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto.
Faries loves doing live music and performing not only in clubs and bars but in First Nation communities as well. One of the most memorable shows for Faries happened in Kashechewan during Cree Fest.
“To feel that energy from them really puts you in a different spot when you’re performing. It drives you as a performer and it really gets you going, gets you pumped up,” he says.
The band has two music videos for the songs Hypnotize and Stay Tonight. They were filmed at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY. The whole filming experience was very enjoyable and the videos turned out nice, Faries says.
He says it’s never too late to start chasing your dreams. Faries didn’t start getting seriously into music until later in life.
Faries grew up in Moose Factory surrounded by music. His brothers and sisters exposed him to rock music and his parents play guitar. His mother can also play piano and organ.
As a teenager going into his early 20s, Faries had a cover band, travelling with it across the province. At one point, alcohol and partying became more important to him than doing music. As he listened to old demos, he says he was pitying himself and "getting depressed".
When he quit drinking 10 years ago, he didn’t want to listen to music for a long time because he associated it with drinking.
“When I started to separate the two, I was transported to when I was a kid and I felt like I was a kid again. It was a really amazing feeling,” he says. Then, some friends invited him to play music and an opportunity to do recordings came up. At the time, he was about 35 years old, which in the music business is a bit late, Faries says.
Faries never expected to be in a band, record albums, win a music award, have songs played on the radio, tour and shoot music videos. The whole journey has been unbelievable and unexpected for him.
“I thought my time had passed to pursue this and I feel so lucky that it hasn’t. I just relish every moment and I really enjoy music and working with people,” he says.
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com