Yes We Mystic is a dynamic and emotional musical powerhouse originating out of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Approaching genre as a tool rather than a barrier, the self-described “tinkering band” takes instruments, ideas, and sounds from wherever they can to craft something that’s all at once exhilarating, heartrending, pummelling, and grand.
Hurling rock together with folk, hip-hop, and R&B, strings and mandolins together with synthesizers, pedals, samples, and vocal effects, they come up with songs that can mellow and groove but climb in an instant to towering, frenzied heights.
The Progress reached Adam Fuhr (vocals/guitar) while the band takes a few days off in Calgary in the midst of touring their latest album Forgiver (April 2016). They launched the record with two hometown shows in Winnipeg, then took it overseas to Germany, hit up Eastern Canada and will soon be reaching the West Coast.
Yes We Mystic is in Chilliwack at the Tractorgrease Cafe on Thursday, June 30.
Friends since children, Fuhr and Keegan Steele (vocals/mandolin/synth) started their first 7-piece band together in high school.
“It ended abruptly in a traumatic high-school fashion,” Fuhr joked, but the two decided, “we’re not ready to stop making music yet. Let’s keep going.”
They started Yes We Mystic in 2011 and it’s sound and musicianship has changed and grown over the years. Today, Fuhr and Steele share the stage with Jodi Plenert (keyboards/cello/vocals), Jordon Ottenson (drums), and Eric Ross (violin) as a strong, committed and talented group.
“It’s kind of surreal that it’s finally out there,” Fuhr said of Forgiver, their first full-length. “It’s something we’ve worked on for three years.”
Their debut EP Floods and Fires (2011) was largely influenced by the folk instruments they had on hand while putting songs together in a friend’s basement. It launched them onto the Canadian indie scene, bringing them to perform at NXNE, M for Montreal, Breakout West, JUNOfest and Big Fun.
Listeners got a sense that the band was inching in a new direction with the two-track preview release of Vestige (2015). It contained “the last traces” of their folk sound, and a glimpse of what was to come.
“Forgiver blew that wide open,” Fuhr said.
The album acts as their sonic ‘Rosetta Stone,’ laying out everything that the band has picked up along the way, with an innovative approach to songwriting that they’ve held since the beginning. “This record is our statement that makes it clear – to decipher what the hell’s going on with us,” Fuhr explained.
The theme of forgiveness ties each track together, manifesting in disparate ways.
Some tracks, like ‘Undertow,’ are fictional in their approach. Others are direct in nature, inspired by personal events that touch on the aftermath of a betrayal, like ‘The Contest of Wit.’
‘Without Fail’ was cut from the album, but it’s a bonus track on the deluxe vinyl version. It deals with the question of whether or not someone will be able to forgive you for what you’ve done, or if you could even forgive yourself.
“It’s a shame it had to go – thematically– but sonically, it was the right choice because it made for a more cohesive record.”
Fuhr and Steele generally develop the melodic and lyrical structure of each song. “Then we take it to the band and build it up into the complex tapestry that you hear on the record,” Fuhr says.
When they released Forgiver they also launched the Forgiver Project, which is somewhat of an artistic experiment. They put up posters across the country simply asking ‘What have you been unable to forgive?’ with a phone number for people to anonymously respond to via text, which are available to read at Twitter.com/forgiver_.
The art project was a way to further explore and expand on the theme of forgiveness, but for Yes We Mystic, the record is what it all boils down to.
“We’re so proud of how it turned out,” Fuhr said of the final product, “and we’re really happy with how it’s been received.”
The band says the best descriptor for their sound is “intense, cinematic art pop,” which is something you have to hear to understand. And at the live shows, the songs grow to further heightened places.
Check out Yes We Mystic with special guests The Great Atlas at the Tractorgrease Cafe (48710 Chilliwack Lake Road) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 30. Tickets are $12 available to reserve at 604-858-3814 or email@example.com.