Proudly Canadian, Fool’s Union is really starting to gain some traction since the recent release of their new single “Raven Lake.” The follow-up single to the band’s fall-released “Maniacs,” the song was inspired by the place it was written, the real Raven Lake, located near Dorset, a small community in Northern Ontario.
Lead singer and guitarist Nick Cino had rented a cottage that you could only travel to through a dense forest. Upon his arrival, he was met by a crystal clear lake and breathtaking scenery, which inspired him to write this song. We all desire an escape to a place with some tranquillity, where we can just relax and be ourselves, away from all of the hustle and bustle. “Raven Lake” is representative of this feeling and this desire, that need to get away and carve out a little bit of redemption for ourselves.
Joining us today for our latest Stereo Six session is Cino, who outlines some artists and songs that really inspired him in the writing and recording of “Raven Lake.”
1. Broken Social Scene – “7/4 (Shoreline)” (2005, Arts & Crafts Productions)
Nick Cino: “I’ve always loved the hypnotic sound of the drums and bass on this track, pulsing throughout the song and pushing things along. I knew from the get-go that ‘Raven Lake’ had to have that same driving rhythm. We’ve always stuck to the more heavy/alternative side of rock, but ‘Raven Lake’ definitely has more of a Canadian indie rock vibe.
“Vocally, I always tend to write myself into a corner where I end up singing way too many high notes, and with ‘Raven Lake,’ I wanted it to have a calm, dreamy vibe, and that definitely reflects indie rock like Broken Social Scene. I haven’t listened to a lot of the band’s other music, but it just goes to show how one song can have a profound effect and influence on another song.”
2. The Stills – “Logic Will Break Your Heart” (2003, Arts & Crafts Productions)
Cino: “This one of my favourite Canadian indie rock records of all time, and one of my favourite records in general. The Stills released three albums before breaking up, but they definitely have an influence on our songwriting. Sometimes influences on a song can be subtle, and sometimes they can be overt. Logic Will Break Your Heart is a record with a very cool and unique vibe, and that vibe runs through the entire record.
“As a band, we’ve always explored a lot of different genres within rock, but lately, we’ve been focusing more on vibe and trying to capture a feeling. ‘Raven Lake’ is an emotional song, and it was important for it to build. It starts out subtle and moody, which is new for us, but then breaks out into a big, spacious chorus which is very Fool’s Union. We worked really hard to get the vocals right and set the tone right from the beginning of the track, and hopefully, we succeeded. And if we turn some people onto the music of The Stills, even better.”
3. The Strokes – Is This It (2003, Arts & Crafts Productions) / Television – Marquee Moon (1977, Elektra Records)
Jon Daly: “I always loved the real angular guitar work of these two bands. Television’s Marquee Moon drove home how you can work really neat syncopation over driving drums. I love how both of these bands incorporate phrasing that is not the most conventional to support the vocals. Nick actually plays a Nick Valensi signature Riviera, so I counterbalanced that with my American Strat, ala Albert Hammond Jr. for this one; it’s got a great blend of tones.
“I love how The Strokes capture both being raw and garage rock-sounding while still being angular and sleek. I think that ‘Raven Lake’ really embodies that. Guitar work that’s not too on the nose, but out there enough to make you perk up an ear.”
4. The Band – “Whispering Pines” (1969, Capitol Records)
Cino: “‘Raven Lake’ at its core is a song about escapism and nature. We’re influenced by modern Canadian rock, but also owe a huge debt to classic Canadian rock like The Band. We’re not a roots rock band, but we used to dabble a lot in the genre, and ‘Raven Lake’ reflects an appreciation for the wilderness just like ‘Whispering Pines.’ Nature provides reflection, and The Band were always great at conveying imagery but also emotions, and we tried to draw from that on ‘Raven Lake.’”
5. R.E.M. – Monster (1994, Warner Brothers Records)
Dave Marini: “‘Raven Lake’ is a wonderful fusion of modern rock and 1990s rock. Pumping low-end and infectious melodies inspired by bands like The Tragically Hip or R.E.M. All of our songwriting is primarily driven by melody. At the end of the day, a good melody and a catchy tune is what we’re after; we’ve never been interested in being overly experimental or trying to reinvent the wheel. We wear our musical influences on our sleeves, and the song is always king. When we’re humming the melody ourselves, and it’s digging its way into our brains, we know we’re onto something. ‘Raven Lake’ is a super melodic song, and I think it represents what we’re capable of as a band and what could be possible for the future.”
6. Curveball: The Tragically Hip, Deftones & Blink 182
Adam Cannon: “‘Raven Lake’ for me is a happy marriage between classic ‘Can-Rock’ and a California 1990s alt-rock vibe. The verses remind me of something The Tragically Hip might do but then switches with a big Travis Barker-like fill into a chorus groove reminiscent of something you might hear on a Deftones record, drum-wise. So many different kinds of drummers can influence the way a song turns out.
“We draw from so many influences, but the cool thing about songwriting is how those musical nods can present themselves in ways we never expected. When we get together to jam, there’s always a germ of an idea, but we always play it in the room and flesh it out as a band. This process allows each member of the band to add their own creativity to the mix to maximize the potential of the song and hopefully make something special.”