'Sending Up All The Right Rock Signals!'
THE FLAIRS are a Canadian band preparing to take the world by storm with their catchy, hook-laden rock songs harkening back to the halcyon days of ‘80s metal and punk, sweetly flavored with a whole-lotta 21st century attitude.
With the release of their second CD SHUT UP AND DRIVE and a US tour beginning in June 2006, THE FLAIRS will drive this point home.
After virtually growing up in popular Canuck band Tuuli – playing three US tours including sold out nights in L.A. and countless Canadian dates, showcasing at SXSW, fielding interviews from the likes of VH1 and Much Music Canada, and opening for such renowned bands as The Donnas, Disturbed, and rock legends Cheap Trick – vocalist/guitarist Dawn Mandarino and powerhouse drummer Jen Foster decided to form their own group with a more edgy and “in-your-face” sound.
The first seeds of THE FLAIRS were planted in the summer of 2002 when Dawn and Jen met guitar-slinging babe Gillian Hanna (Bif Naked), as they crisscrossed North America playing outdoor festivals and concerts. Finding common ground and a fast growing camaraderie, the three gals added Gillian’s brother Ryan on bass and THE FLAIRS were officially born.
After creating a burst of new songs and locking themselves in a studio, THE FLAIRS recorded their self titled debut six-song EP which was released in November 2004. The band then spent the summer of 2005 recording new material for the album SHUT UP AND DRIVE and shot a video for their single, a brilliant spin on Skid Row’s “18 & Life.”
The upcoming release will be distributed through Warner Music in Canada and Burnside in the U.S. (June 2006.)
Chatting recently with lead singer Dawn and bassist Ryan, and I first wondered if their catchy, hook-laden rock band sound harkening back to the days of '80s metal, was always the one they had orchestrated for themselves - or had it evolved to what we all now hear? Dawn - "We've never tried to write a certain style of music, we just all have very different influences and the music we create just came out like that. The punk aspect defintiely comes from me as I'm a huge Ramones fan and Gill & Ryan are more metal influenced which you can hear in the songs for sure. Jen and I were also really influenced by bands from the 90's like Veruca Salt, Garbage, and Nirvana. We have definitely evolved as we've grown as songwriters over the years."
Ryan - "When you write a song you've always got some kind of idea on how it's going to sound but I definitely think that it's evloved and you can get a sence of that by listening to the album.....it's only going to get better."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying you new 'Shut Up And Drive' CD, how would you yourself describe your sound and what they are to expect? Dawn - "It's basically rock, metal, punk, and pop all mixed up. There's a lot of fast songs with killer riffs and a sultry female voice to make it even more different!"
Ryan - "New hard rock with a whole lot of style."
Your album title 'Shut Up And Drive' is an interesting choice, but perhaps it originates from a more personal standpoint for you? Dawn - "Our favorite thing to do is play live and go on the road and tour and we've all been itching to get out there which is why we chose this name. It's where all of our head spaces have been at this past while so it's all we could think of!"
Ryan - "The title just came up and it fit everything that we were going through @ the time."
And just where did that band name originate and what else could it so easily have been? Dawn - "We came up with SO many names and they were all taken and The Flairs was kind of something we kept coming back to so we decided to just go with it!"
Ryan - "Mmmmmmmm................there were so many names that we were going through @ the time and it's kind of hard to think back @ this point!"
If there was one track on 'Shut Up And Drive' that truly encapsulated The Flairs at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? Dawn - "I would say "Stinger" or "Sorry 4 Lovin' You" for very different reasons. I think Stinger is a strong song musically and lyrically....it really stands out in my mind because it's a really passionate song. However, sorry for loving you is what our band is pretty much about...it's fast, aggressive and in your face."
Ryan - "'Stinger' ... it's such a simple song but it has so many different elements to it and with Dawn's lyrics it just fits very well."
Noting that there are three girls and one guy in this band (not to mention a brother and sister!), I'm wondering what the rules are backstage re: dressing, undressing and other such personal moments?! Dawn - "There really are no rules...we've all slept in the same beds and we're like a family at this point so anything goes!"
Ryan - "So far I haven't had to walk into anything I don't want to see and I'd like to keep it that way. haha. Other than that our band is very open about everything!"
With your press stating that you are 'a magical blend of youthful spirit and undeniable talent,' I'm wondering if there could have ever been any other better words to describe you at this point?! Dawn - "Determined, Risk-Taking, Aggresive, and Driven are what comes to my mind right now."
Ryan - "Aggressive"
Being that there was at least one other band out there in music land called the Flairs, I'm wondering if you ever researched this and if you didn't, I guess it didn't matter much? Dawn - "We did and only found the one from the '50's and figured it was long ago enough and didn't matter!"
Ryan - "Yup there's actually a few...I don't want to talk about it's giving me a headache.....haha!"
Please tell us about two (2) of the new songs on the upcoming CD and what they lyrically mean to you? Dawn - "'Sorry 4 Lovin You' is something that every one of us has been through. It's about getting hurt and used in a relationship and the feeling of anger that comes along with going through that. I have a lot of pride and when someone does a number on me it pisses me off. Thank God I have playing live as an outlet to release all that anger!"
"'Stinger' was written during a time where I felt things were really tough with our career and we were surrounded by a lot of negative energy in the industry. It's hard to find people to work with that truly support you and want to see you do well and aren't just in it for their own benefit."
Ryan - "Dawn does a lot of the lyric writing but songs like 'Drive By' and 'Runaway' mean something maybe a little more because of having lyric input on those songs."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! Dawn - "Probably 'Love Is A Battlefield' by Pat Benetar but the others would never allow that! :) I absolutely love her voice though and would be thrilled to cover one of her songs."
Ryan - "Toto's 'Africa.' Gillian really got me into that song. It's just got such a huge chorus and I think it would be a lot of fun to play!"
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! Dawn - "I adore all animals. I just got my 2 cats tattooed on my back and I bet penguins are really nice."
Ryan - "I've swam with Penguins...!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of The Flairs' new CD, just answer this easy question: Much Music Canada instantly picked up their first video “Ready To Roll,” and another aggressive track also reigned as #1 Best All Time Pop Rock Song on the infamous indie band site Garageband.com ... but what was the name of that other track?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before August 1st with your answer and the subject title 'FLAIRS SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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