Rebecca Anderson is having a lazy day.
It didn’t start out that way. The Edmonton artist, who is one-half of the band F&M, which she shares with husband Ryan, got up fairly early on this Monday morning to accomplish things, but there is that whole thing about it still being dark on the cold, Canadian prairies in the A&M at this time of year that dictated lethargy.
It’s not yet winter. But it’s there — hanging outside, staring in through your window, giving you a chill to remind you that the freeze is on the way.
So, the perfect time of the year for doing nothing, except maybe listening to music, perhaps having a glass of wine, and just keeping warm.
“Just add some books in there,” Anderson says and laughs. “And some staring off into the distance.”
And, apparently, writing and making music. The veteran duo’s latest album Lessons From Losers is very much a product of the cold and dark that descend upon these parts for five-or-more months of the year, and the rich, lovely, drawing-room-pop result is a blanket and bottle and hearth with which to warm yourself.
F&M will bring the songs from it and their decade-long career to town Thursday, Nov. 1 for a show at the King Eddy.
Prior to that show, and on that lazy Monday morning, Anderson spoke with theYYSCENE. Here are excerpts from that conversation.
Q: This album was very much born from the winter months wasn’t it?
A: Yes. A lot of it was. Both Ryan and I take solace in the winter, just to regroup and slow down. We’re always big fans of doing things intentionally in the summer … I find in the winter it gives you that excuse to stay home and work things out a little bit slower and let those ideas come to fruition.
Q: You look at it as a positive thing — and I think a lot of people look at it as hibernating, as being held hostage by the elements, but you look at it the other way?
A: I love it. I know sometimes Ryan might feel like a hostage, but he still embraces it. And actually he sings more about it, a lot of the lyrics about winter are his. But I’m very introverted and in the summer I feel like there’s so much pressure to connect with people that I always have anxiety. And in the winter, I’m like, “All right, nobody expects me” — because I ride my bike everywhere and I walk — so I’m like, “The weather’s really bad so no one’s going to expect me to go to such and such,” so I like it because it takes the pressure off.
Q: It very much is a comforting record, a very much curl-up-by-the-fire record. It doesn’t have the chill of winter, but rather the escape from it.
A: Awesome. For us, we’re big wine lovers and I really had a lot of fun with some of the organ-keyboard textures and it goes well, some of the songs, with a port, possibly, because of those really fuzzy, fuzzy notes.
Q: I know wine is a huge thing for you — you do wine and vinyl pairings. Tell me about that.
A: It started a few years back. Back in 2010 we had an album called Sincerely F&M and we had asked our former bass player who had since then (become a sommelier) and was working for the B.C. government, we asked him to wine pairings for the whole album, so it probably started as far back as that. But that was we had other people do it because we were like, “We love wine, but we don’t know what we’re talking about.”
But the last few years, we have a community wine store that we love and we’ve met so many people through the store, and just embracing it, you don’t have to know a whole lot, you just have to have a passion for something. And people are so receptive of when you have an idea of pairing some vinyl or music or show or book with a drink — people just think it’s great … People are looking for those small beauties and those small pleasures to have … those small, small connections that have big results. I think doing things like (drinking) wine and listening to records, it helps you formulate your own thoughts more and have more memorable conversations with people and connections. (Laughs) It’s all about slowing down.
Q: You talk about community a lot, it’s an important thing for you, isn’t it?
A: Definitely. My background is, I did a master’s in Soviet Rock (Music) History and — (laughs) this connects — but while I was researching rock ‘n’ roll in the former USSR … I really dug into what makes music work, and I always thought of it as a solitary thing. It still is, in part, with the creation of music for me. Like Ryan and I do bounce ideas off each other and we do bring in other people to listen and help orchestrate, but where the real magic happens and what makes music so powerful is that relationship between listener and the creator. Especially live — I love that relationship between what’s happening onstage and what’s happening in the audience. It’s just a very powerful thing … It has way more impact and way more meaning, and that can’t happen without people listening or people attending the show. If things remain just in the room with you singing them by yourself that kind of impact doesn’t happen. So I just love how music has that life of its own and has — meaning is created because of community. We can’t do things without people.
Q: You’re playing the King Eddy this week for the second time. The bar is now fully stocked, so people should order a port and enjoy?
A: Yeah. Or pinot noir, I’d take pinot noir more. I know I said port earlier, but if you drink that much port I think you might have trouble. Maybe end with a port.
(Photo courtesy Francis A. Willey.)
F&M perform Thursday, Nov. 1 at the King Eddy. For tickets and more information please click here.