Toronto collective First Rate People released their fantastic debut full-length album Everest today. GroundSounds got the chance to catch up with Jon Lawless from FRP to discuss the album, the band’s hometown, and what 2014 has in store. Check out the interview below and be sure to get Everest right HERE
Jon: The majority of us are from Grey and Bruce counties a couple hours north of Toronto – that’s our scene. So many people there have so incredibly supportive in so many ways. They’d genuinely rather something new nine times out of ten instead of the songs you’ve already released. It’s very encouraging to be challenged in that way by your community.
Thanks a lot! We struggle a little with that question for sure. I can’t say that we had specific goals with the album – I am inspired by encouraging two strangers or friends of friends to work on something together. You never quite know what you’ll get. My only advice if you’re doing this would be to make sure you have good, honest editors.
You’re very kind. I’d say on average a song will take us two months start to finish but we rarely ever work on exclusively one song at a time. The longest is over a year and the shortest is probably like a week?
The Sweet Hereafter started out as Hayden’s baby. I remember in the cottage we were staying at to record some of the songs both Liam and I were in our rooms falling asleep already and we literally both asked Hayden “what is that???? is that you??” at the same time and that was the start of the song.
Side note: weirdly I found that I dream a lot better by the water – is that a thing? I remembered like 90% of my dreams there for some reason.
I don’t know about favourite but Dark Age was such a benchmark for us. I don’t even play a note on the recording but it was one of the most meaningful songs I’ve ever worked on.
The picture is taken in my bandmate Hayden’s backyard. I thought of the name (with an assist from Jake) and Liam thought of the paper mache mountain to go along with it. Apparently we’ve got a collective mindset when it comes to cover art too!
I think like anywhere Toronto can be a mixed bag. 2.5 million people will do that to a place. I love the people in Toronto but can’t say I have any specific attachment to any of the “scenes” we just make weird pop music with heart.
Lee’s Palace all the way. That was the dream in high school. Playing the same place as Sufjan, Broken Social Scene and so many other greats is always a thrill. Also from a purely architectural standpoint the room in designed brilliantly. Also met the owner last month and I’m happy to report that he’s as lovely as the venue is.
Having your vehicle break down in the duty free area between the States and Canada is pretty hard to forget haha. Weren’t really sure to call CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) or AAA. Slept in a Canadian Tire parking lot later on after getting towed over the border. Not comfy but definitely memorable.
Being featured in the Guardian was pretty cool. I dunno exactly sorry this isn’t a great answer – there are so many things we’re thankful for. Headlining Lee’s Palace for the first time felt like a moment for sure.
After the release of Everest, what is coming up next for you?
More music in many different shapes, forms and sizes haha! Can’t really say beyond that in all honesty but we’re super excited. This is still the first chapter of our collective story.
First Rate People – “The Sweet Hereafter”