by Nilabjo Banerjee


Fan of Pretty Little Liars or Vampire Diaries? Then, odds are you have already been introduced to Fast Romantics. Their songs “Cool Kids”, “How Do You” and “MoneyMouth” have been background score to some dramatic scenes in the teen dramas. Band’s reaction to the exposure? “To be honest, I’m just as surprised as you are”, frontman Matt Angus admits, “that we are appealing to that crowd”.

Originally from Calgary, the now Toronto based indie-rock five-piece are on the road playing tunes from their last release Afterlife Blues. Produced by Howard Redekopp (Mother Mother, Tegan & Sara), the album has honesty and vulnerability all over it. Notable for their high-energy shows, it would be a major miss not to see them live.

Hey Torontonites, they play Adelaide Hall tonight! I had a chance to chat with Matt Angus, and we talked about playing with Ari Gold.

Fast Romantics is a fairly young band. But, you’ve already done some cool gigs like playing at the ol’ CBGB in New York and the opening of Holt Renfrew in Calgary with Jeremy Piven. Piven fan?
Are you kidding me? We couldn’t contain ourselves!

Perfect. So, my follow up is you get to choose to do a cameo with Ari Gold or the flamboyant Versace Salesman in Rush Hour 2. You choose?
I’d think it would be a great honour to be yelled at, as if it was a nuclear war, by Ari Gold. I would love to be on the receiving end of one of his tirades. I would just sit there and take it and bask in the glory of all of his anger. How can I not be enjoying this?

Totally agree with the choice. Now, about the second record, Afterlife Blues, there is a great deal of honesty and vulnerability in the songs. Has there been times when a song has moved you playing it live?
When you said that, there was a moment that came to me that happened recently. A friend of mine had passed away. Our set is usually very high energy, except when we get to ‘Afterlife Blues’, which is a bit mellow and the show becomes quiet as a result. But, due to this recent life event, there was an air of ill health and loss. So, when you start singing those lyrics, not only do you lose where you are, but I got really emotional. I haven’t had original songs move me in that way. But, this was one of those overwhelming times when you feel like, “Wow, the words I wrote for another reason apply to this situation”. And I was realizing this as I sang them in front of a crowd, which was a weird sensation.

Especially when it’s in front of people you don’t know too well. That had to add to the eeriness even more.
It definitely did. But, that’s what music does and why this record makes sense to us. We have emotional connection to this music. As a result, it’s a lot easier to play it live and comes off right, feels honest and comes from a place we happen to be in.

Sorry about your loss. Have to ask if you have any tour horror stories?
There are few pretty R rated ones that I shouldn’t probably share. Not because I don’t wanna be R-rated, but people involved in them probably wouldn’t want the stories to be shared. Something went awry in Austin few years ago, which is odd because Austin is one of our favourite cities to play in. We were booked into this venue that had an indoor and outdoor part. Due to some mixup, there was a corporate event going inside and we were moved to the outdoor stage area, which is a great space during festival season or end of summer. For whatever reason, that night happened to be the coldest nigh in Austin in many years. So, lets just say, not many people showed up. But, we made the best of it. Come to think of it, it was one of the best sounding shows on the tour. Just no one was there to see it. Although I got to say those 15 people were feeling pretty privileged.

You have couple of Aussie expats in the band. Have they made you eat Veggiemite?
They have too much respect for us to do such a thing. We had already tried it before, so we knew how revolting it was.

Now have you made them do anything uber Canadian that is equally revolting, like shovel snow?They have had to endure this winter, and they had no idea what hit them. We kept trying to say that this is not how normally it is. But, I don’t think they believe us. We are praying that next winter is a bit warmer.

Doesn’t help that Toronto had power outages and freezing temperatures over Christmas, while they are getting updates from family and friends chilling at the beach.
Exactly! Their power went out for 2 days and had to come and stay in our basement. They had a tough go during the icestorm. They got the brunt of it and lived the Canadian nightmare.

That’s horrible! Now, April 1 is nearby. Are you a prankster?
I was when I was younger. But, then one of the pranks had such a disgusting consequence, that I don’t do it anymore. I pulled a trick on my roommate that involved a Ceram wrap over a toilet. Let’s just say he fell for it and the results were so horrific that I had to retire.

NOTE: Fellow members of Fast Romantics, you better WATCH OUT come April 1. Matt revealed his pranking plans, which will not be disclosed here.

However, here’s their latest video for “Afterlife Blues”.