The DoneFors Come To Guelph
The Velvet Rope – cover story
by: Care Humphries
In 2009, they taught you How To Have Sex with Canadians. In 2011, they created the Award Winning Album. And now The DoneFors are returning to Guelph to entertain audiences who are just as thrilled as I am about their latest effort.
The four-piece, who came together in 2006, have earned their share of the critical acclaim since releasing Award Winning including a nod from Rheostatics guitarist and music guru, Dave Bidini. For Janine Stoll, Paul MacDougall, Liam Smith and Brian Lahaie, this album was created under a mass buzz of talent, from production to mastering; songwriting and engineering.
As she was wrapping gifts for the Christmas season, I snagged a few moments from lead vocalist, Janine Stoll, and chatted her up over the album, coming back to Guelph and just how to handle the praise from those you idolize most.
VR: You’re coming to Cornerstone in Guelph. You’ve played this room before.
JS: I’ve done solo things and duo things there. We’ve only done one full band thing there before, but more recently we played at Jimmy Jazz. It’s tough at Cornerstone with all the ambient noise (coffee grinders and stuff) but I like playing that room in terms of the people. There’s a great listening crowd.
VR: But you’re not alone! You’re also performing alongside Wax Mannequin.
JS: He’s great! We’ve just started working with an agency who books Wax. They decided we should do some shows with him. He’s a true artist – not just a flash in a pan. He’s creating real art with his music. We take the same approach when we write ours so it’s great to play shows with people who have the same like mindedness.
VR: The artwork of your album cover is really, well, brave. Where did you get the courage to do it?
JS: I find that the same thing goes with our album titles. We wonder if people might misinterpret what we do (like find us a comedy group). We’re more introspective than that. I’ve got a weird sense of humour. When I thought about how I wanted to brand this band, I knew it had to have a certain element like creepy just to illustrate that everyone is “done for”. But people need a sense of humour. I think it’s funny!
VR: Dave Bidini left you guys a little love in the National Post.
JS: Well, I think that was the moment we decided we were really and truly cool. A lot of us are long-time Rheostatic fans. When I was growing up I was going to the Rheostatic shows and idolizing them. Then to grow up and have them in your peer group? Amazing. To have Dave think what we do is cool is so exciting, especially because we got flagged by another publication who we don’t think got it. Then it got flagged in another paper and I carried that weight around for a while. I was like ‘did we take a wrong turn somewhere?’ I was like, ‘did we turn a corner the wrong way? Did we relinquish too much control?’ Then we got the nod from Dave Bidini and it was like the naysayers didn’t matter. I’ll take his advice over anyone else’ any day!
VR: How was your CD Release Party? (September, 2011)
JS: It was great! It was packed! People really came out of the woodwork! It was great to see an audience full of familiar faces. It felt like all the people who came to see us really got to see us. We had a big seven piece band. Everyone was so excited – they were proud. They were proud to follow us around and like what we were doing. It was one of the best shows, for sure.
VR: How important is for you guys to recreate the album live on stage?
JS: We want to be as true to the record live as much as we can. There is a lot of ambient reverb on the record which is sometimes hard to recreate. But as a band, we want to try to evolve beyond
VR: I guess you’re out now taking the record on the road!
JS: We haven’t played a lot of Southern Ontario shows in a while. We sort of hit the Southern Ontario circuit pretty hard with our first album, and now it’s time to do it with the second. I just find, even from the audience perspective, we are bringing more merchandise which means people get the music more and they want to take it home which is nice for us. It’s cool; it’s going to be fun to play in Guelph again. I like that city a lot.
VR: What do you think you’re most looking forward to with this show?
JS: Playing with Wax. He’s the kind of musician you want to get to play with. He is like the consummate performer. I feel like our band is kind of shy and a little dorky, and we could probably take a page out of Wax’ book. He really knows how to do it. Also just enjoying him musically is going to be really fun for us and hopefully some collaborations can happen.
VR: What’s your message to fans?
JS: Bring your Mom! Bring your Mom and your cat and some friends because it’s going to be fun!