Toronto based rock band The Free Press is getting set to visit the Maritimes in support of their record Half Truths and Whole Lies, which was independently released in July 2009.
In the past year and a half, the group has visited our region four times; this time around they are preparing to rock audiences in the major urban centers of New Brunswick. While the Maritimes are typically overlooked by many touring acts, TFP bassist Len Ottesen says the band has thoroughly enjoyed their prior visits to the east coast and that is precisely why they are coming back for more.
“The East Coast feels a little more like home,” Ottesen states. “We’ve always felt that the rock scene in your part of the country has always been among the most vibrant of anywhere in Canada. And as a band, we have found that our music connects well with audiences on the east coast. We have always had fantastic shows out east.
“Toronto is great but it’s so huge and can be far too crowded at times. It’s largely a niche market where it seems as though the east coast loves a whole spectrum of music; you’ve got your traditional stuff, rock bands, every genre imaginable. There is just so much more musical diversity.”
The last time The Free Press visited the Maritimes, their record was still relatively new to consumers. Since that time, the band has kept busy playing shows through Southern Ontario while also dipping into the potentially lucrative US market. The group has toured through the Northeastern US on a few different occasions and recently played the MidPoint Music Festival in Cincinnati.
Did the group’s trek to Cincinnati help give them perspective on just how many bands are out there striving to achieve the same goals that they are?
“Playing MidPoint helps to give you a sense of just how big of a pond you’re in as a musician,” band member Alex Oliveira says. “More importantly, the festival helped open our eyes to the fact that what is going on in the US is so much bigger than what we have going on here in Canada. What is a niche business here is a budding scene in the US; scenes there are established.
“You would be inclined to think that going to the US would be overwhelming business-wise when shockingly, coming home is the toughest part depending on what you are looking to do. If you are trying to work outside of the mainstream, it can be daunting to try to pursue what you do. There are far fewer options and much less support in Canada as compared to the US.”
The ultimate goal the band has in mind when traveling to such festivals is the networking aspect; connecting with as many different booking agents, bands and labels as humanly possible during their short stays.
Ottensen confirms that getting an American release for their record is a goal but more importantly, having the infrastructure to support and promote the band in the future is at the top of their agenda.
“The US can be inspiring. When we play there, we tend to get more in the way of responses from people; people who have the channels to help with marketing and the money to make ultimately make our product successful,” Ottensen says.
While the group continues to promote their latest record, The Free Press will soon be returning to the studio to record some new material that they have been working on.
“One of the biggest benefits to the current state of the music business is that we are not restricted to how often we can release new music. As a band, it is as though we have a blank canvas and no one but us decides what to put onto it,” Oliveira says.
Catch The Free Press at one of their upcoming New Brunswick shows: Thursday November 12 at the Paramount Lounge in Moncton; Friday November 13 in Fredericton at the Capital; Saturday November 14 at the Blue Olive in Saint John.
Check the band out online at www.freepressmusic.com