Halifax guitar-rock band In-Flight Safety is in the midst of a cross-Canadian tour which started on September 25 in Victoria, British Columbia. The tour will see the band play 13 shows across this great country of ours before they find their way to New Brunswick for shows in Fredericton and Moncton next week.
The group is continuing promotional efforts behind We Are An Empire My Dear, their most recent record released this past January on the group’s own Night Danger label. The dozen tracks assembled on the record lean on beautiful, infectious guitar melodies and incorporate some nice touches of piano to help fill out their sound.
Since the start of the year, the group has had plenty to help keep them occupied and is not slowing down for the foreseeable future.
In May, they released a video for their single Model Homes. Directed by longtime collaborator Drew Lightfoot, the video is a marvelous blend of blueprint-inspired animation and live action and makes for some of the best four minutes you can possibly spend on YouTube.
Throw in appearances on CBC Television and a touring schedule that verged on incessant and you’ve got a recipe for success.
“2009 has been a great year for us; it really feels as though we are picking up steam as the year progresses,” affable IFS front-man John Mullane says.
Although any of the events above might qualify for highlights for the band this year, one specific event stands out to Mullane and his cohorts.
“Our friend Troy who books The Seahorse Tavern in Halifax had asked us to headline a tribute night honouring the music of The Smiths. We’re huge fans so we happily agreed to try our hand at a few covers.”
After arming themselves with five songs from the legendary band, they discovered that former Smith Andy Rourke would be in attendance that evening. Rourke, who was doing DJ sets across Canada, ended up digging the In-Flight Safety take on The Smiths songs so much, he joined the band on stage for the song Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others.
“Next thing I knew, the Andy Rourke is on bass, Brad (Goodsell) is playing the tambourine and all of us were downright giddy,” Mullane says. “We actually extended the outro piece on the song for an extra four minutes in order to milk the moment as much as we could. Andy was such a sweet guy; it really was one of those once in a lifetime moments.”
One of the most significant changes seen by the band over the past couple of years has been the decision to form their own record label, Night Danger.
Mullane admits that running their own show has forced a welcome sense of ownership upon the group’s members rather than having to rely on others to help them accomplish their goals.
“Having Night Danger has made forward progression slightly easier because no one is more motivated to keep us working than the band itself. We have found that we are able to get things done in a hurry because we don’t have to wait around for folks to take initiative on our behalf.
“The only real downside to any of the above is that there is only so much you can get done. You end up being limited by your own resources!”
Limited resources or not, it hasn’t stopped the band from leveraging their clout to help others. At the present time, Charlottetown band Milks and Rectangles are the only other band signed to the label, although Mullane doesn’t rule out adding more bands into the Night Danger roster.
“We really and truly have no vision for where the label is going at the present time but we like it that way. As it stands, it is very organic and we are in love with the idea of building up a family of official allies who we can help promote. We’ve always promoted and talked about certain bands in interviews; the label helps to give us an official forum to do that.”
In the more immediate future, In-Flight Safety will be making their first appearance at the influential CMJ Music Festival in New York City later this month. The festival is geared towards the discovery of new bands and has been responsible for helping bring both independent and major label acts to a wider audience.
The festival could prove to be the perfect opportunity for In-Flight Safety to open the American doors of college radio, concert promoters and record labels to what the group has to offer.
“In all honesty, we don’t have huge expectations with respect to what we will get out of CMJ. Our live show is the most well-oiled it has been in our career so we are looking forward to hopefully impressing a few people. But at the same token, we are just looking forward to our first NYC show; there is nothing but excitement about that. The show is just the icing on the cake,” he gushes.
Once CMJ has concluded, the group barely has a week off before they embark to Yarmouth to take part in the Music Nova Scotia Awards. The group received an impressive six nominations for the upcoming awards and is fortunate enough to be one of the performers during the awards ceremony.
The six nominations which the group has received help to recognize and validate the hard work the band has put in this year. The group finds themselves nominated in categories including Video of the Year, Album of the Year and Entertainer of the Year among others. In terms of sheer nomination numbers, only fellow Haligonian Joel Plaskett (who equaled the In Flight Safety’s six nods) can compete, a fact that humbles Mullane.
“We love Joel and have an immense amount of respect for him.
“We are looking forward to catching up with all our Nova Scotian friends next month in Yarmouth.”
Once the excitement and potential award haul from Yarmouth has faded away, Mullane notes that a small span of time off is in the works but that once the New Year is upon them, they will continue touring in support of We Are An Empire My Dear.
Given the fact that the band does not seem to comprehend the meaning of the word “break,” it might make you wonder when they are squeezing in time to write another record.
“We are constantly chipping away at new material,” Mullane concedes. “It is just a matter of getting that core group of songs that makes you feel compelled to make a new album. There is no current plan to make a new In-Flight Safety album but when the songs present themselves, we will dive in head first.”
In-Flight Safety will be performing at the Capital in Fredericton on Thursday October 15 and at the Paramount Lounge in Moncton on Friday October 16.