Making of...

Hear the stories and memories of those who took part in recording Hello Fiasco's debut album. You will get to hear a mix of behind-the-scenes tales, thoughts, recollections and other tid bits exactly as they were shared by the band members, producers, featured performers, guest performers, and even the studio managers. Enjoy! 

JOEL COUTURE, AKA "Fash"

Bassist - Hello Fiasco

Oh how appropriate, we decide on Hello Fiasco as a band name - the importance of welcoming life’s challenges instead of backing down before them - and between the beginning and the end of the "Find the Shoreline" studio sessions was a global pandemic… The timing was right for putting our money where our mouths were!


We do what we love, so making this album was a wonderful experience. In addition to the band members being awesome people and talented artists, our collaborators (inside and out of the studio) contributed such great elements to the songs and our business. Conflicts you ask?! Of course, they are inevitable! That’s a lot of people sharing a lot of great ideas (and some not so great ones haha) but if the foundation is strong the build continues! At the base of it all, we have a team that respects, supports and learns from one another, and learning from the people around us is key; the key to many things.

 

Special thanks to John Paul Peters!

Regarding the bass guitar… It keeps me grounded, it has for a long while. I feel it is, and always will be, the musical instrument that best suits my personality (interpret as you wish ;) … Who knows if the listener can hear us sharing our emotions through the notes we play, but it’s definitely a thing. Just listen!


More on bass land, I used a variety of Fender, Gibson and Framus bass guitars on these recordings, and some fun effects too!

Joel Fashion words of wisdom, Don’t work out, just work! Be motivated to kick ass, to drive others to want to achieve greatness! Balance is important but hard work is necessary!!

Thanks for listening to the music and see you at the show ;)
Fash

ERIN PROPP

Vocalist - Featured Performer 

"Atlantis and Compatible (feat. Erin Propp)" 

I remember meeting Eric and JP for the first time, sitting in the control room with them while they sorted out some piece of the recording process. Their intensity quickly became clear to me – they were totally sold on the music. I remember Eric and JP making my voice equal to theirs for my part of the songs they were recording. The atmosphere was generous and open, while firm opinions abounded and they respected one another. 

Aside from their high intensity, what surprised me most was they seemed to name me a friend right away. I thought I was going in for a normal BGV take, in-and-out, and I ended up being made to feel like an insider on the Hello Fiasco band. On a break, the guys treated me to lunch at this great restaurant in the neighbourhood of Private Ear. JP recommended from the menu, advised on hot sauce, and he and Eric told me all about the music, their families, and asked me about mine. It was immediate, easy, interesting, and fun.  

GUY ABRAHAM

Keys, Ableton, Backing Vocalist - Hello Fiasco

Eric and I first met years ago.  We both played in our own various Winnipeg bands over the years. I was a lead singer in rock bands and had also done lots of acoustic projects and recordings by the time we met. WPG is a city where there is only a few degrees of separation from knowing the other musicians on the scene. Eric and I had many friends in common and would sometimes cross paths at gigs.  We often chatted about how we would collab together one day.

As years and many musical projects went by, Eric contacted me in 2016 on a whim to see if I had the time and was willing to listen to some new material he was crafting. He wanted me to lend some backing vocals to a couple tracks in the studio. After listening and being inspired by the musical direction, I agreed to do it. Little did I know that the next few years would lead to what is now Hello Fiasco. What started as ideas for a few backing tracks led to me singing and performing on over a dozen songs within a few years. This decision to say yes also led me to meet and work with engineer/producer John Paul Peters.

From day one, it was a great experience and I agreed to more sessions. Eric and JP encouraged me to let it all hang out vocally and to sing my heart out. On one particular day that followed, I sang so much (close to 8 hours straight) that I started losing feeling in my extremities. Worth it! I always joke about that day of reaching my limits physically, mentally  and creatively - but I recall just wanting to swing for the fences on all my takes and go for it. That day cemented the notion, in my mind, that I was all in on these songs because they sounded so great!

Shortly thereafter, I was approached by the band to be a member of the band. Having shared stages and witnessing many gigs by the likes of Eric, Joël Couture, Joël Perreault and Ivan Burke in the past, it didn’t take a lot of convincing that I was in good company and could contribute to the music. The added bonus of taking such a leap of faith was the opportunity to work with all the talented and creative people working on such a cool project. How could I say no?

ERIC LABOSSIERE, AKA "Boss" 

Lead Singer, Rhythm Guitarist - Hello Fiasco

In 2015 and at the tail end of my previous band The Mailman’s Children, I remember hiking up the side of a mountain in Montana where I live, like I often do to stay in shape and clear my mind. At the time, I was planning to record a collection of new songs on my own and without TMC, but in a completely acoustic-driven format. This plan was quickly derailed when longtime Mailman’s Children producer John Paul Peters, or JP as we all know him, got on the phone with me during the hike. Here I was on this beautiful walk, calling JP to simply check in on how he felt about the new demos I was presenting to him for the solo sessions, and I did not get the conversation or answers I was expecting…not at all.  

JP and I have become really good friends over the years; not only from me recording with him previously but also because our families have spent a lot of time together. I’ve had time to get to know JP and on this day I could tell he was really distraught with me. He was pretty clear about the fact that he would record the acoustic songs if I really wanted him to, but that he didn’t really see the value in doing so knowing I would be doing it without The Mailman's Children. He flat out asked me why I would record without the backing of amazing musicians and friends who knew me inside and out; musicians who I had already recorded and toured with for several years. It was a good question. In the end, it boiled down to him strongly hinting two things: 1. I needed to stop acting like a crazy person by making erratic choices in my career based on emotions of the day and 2. I needed to “man up” and get back into the studio with the remains of my old band, but only after we had faced the issues we actually needed to face. So that’s what happened, and this one phone call with JP was the birth of Hello Fiasco, unbeknownst to any of us.

I was in shock for a short while after the call, but somehow I also felt relieved. It was like I was suddenly re-invigorated to do another round with the music industry. I can’t explain it but I just knew what needed to be done. This is when I called a meeting with the Joe’s of The Mailman’s Children (Joel Couture and Joël Perreault). Before re-entering the studio, I needed to see if the three of us could all meet in the middle on the things we needed to change so that we could finally produce a more commercially-viable product; one that could get us on a "bigger stage" so to speak. It's not like our previous music was bad or anything, it just wasn't something that could get us where the three of us really wanted to go. And if you’re wondering…yes the meeting was awkward!

I explained that in order to move away from what we were doing, and to move towards something that a larger audience could actually latch onto, we needed to change several key things. And yes, I had a physical list ready for the meeting. Probably not the coolest thing for a rock band meeting but super important to set the record straight. The items on this list were not just things I suddenly came up with. They were things that we all collectively knew we needed to change for years, based on either feedback, consultation, literature, working with JP in the studio previously, or just from working in the industry itself. We all knew what needed to be done. We just didn’t want to do it up until that point.  

My short list for the meeting included the following items:

  • Getting all songs down to 3 minutes for radio, XM and streaming pole position.   

  • Making sure that all intros were extremely short and max 1 progression before the first vocal hit on each song.

  • Making sure that all lyrics were relatable to the listener, even if the lyrics were personal in nature when written.

  • Making sure that all lyrics rhymed.

  • Making sure that there were less guitar solos, or at least that the guitar solos were not as long. (Ironically, guitar solos recently started to come back into fashion on lots of Pop Rock…Cycles and fads people!)  

  • Making sure that the guitar solos were either simpler or chorus-driven, where the main theme of the solos was already part of the song. This, versus solos that just noodled.

  • Making sure to add other types of instruments to each song; instruments that were other than the standard rock fare of drums, bass, guitar and keys.

  • Making sure that all music was polled online and around the world throughout the process, to make sure that the music was working with both the listener and the market. (We also later added additional consultation and music supervision to this part of the list).  

Most importantly, I was pretty clear about the fact that we could no longer just keep writing and recording for ourselves. I don’t remember exactly how I worded it back then but I do know for sure that I talked about us doing it half for ourselves and half for the listener. Since then, we’ve kind of adopted the rule that it’s 50% for us and 50% for the listener. This, I hoped, would ensure commercial viability after years of having dabbled in anything from progressive rock to instrumentals. Changes I felt necessary if we wanted to thrive and survive the industry. Did the meeting go well? Nope. But the important thing is that it started something, just like JP’s call with me.

 

It’s amazing how quickly things can come together when there is an actual focus and plan. In 2016, the original core of The Mailman’s Children re-entered the studio but this time with drummer Ivan Burke as a part of the actual project. Ivan had already toured a bit with TMC and he had also recorded drums for the band’s 4th and final studio recording “The Spider’s We Eat,” so we knew what he was capable of and we felt really good about him recording with this new band. I remember telling Ivan that the TMC EP he had recorded on wasn’t really fair to him because we hadn’t really involved him in the decision making process or let him do what he wanted to. The drums he had recorded were great but we had only ever treated him as a session player on the effort, for better or for worse. I made a point of letting him know that even though he hadn’t done a ton of rock recordings up until that point, that all of us including JP Peters felt he was amazing at rock recordings based on what we had seen. I also told him that if he was to re-enter the studio with us, that we wanted him to play what he felt was right for the song, not what he thought we wanted to hear. Lastly, I asked him to make sure he voiced his concerns moving forward, believing he had lots to offer us and that this would really help the songs. So that's what he did. I learned pretty quickly that Ivan is not afraid to share his thoughts and feelings about issues in a song, which is great, because then the final recording is that much better.

By August of 2016, the 4 of us had recorded 11 songs together. The songs poured out like it was nothing, or at least that’s how I remember it. Well, maybe there was a bit of a stuggle, like that one night with “Atlantis and Compatible.” We’ll save that story for another time.

By fall, we were feeling pretty good about the base of the 11 songs. However, at some point JP and I discussed the band performing the songs live. Although JP is a Jack-of-all-trades kind of producer and was easily able to add hella cool synths, keys, harmonies and even symphony instruments to the tracks, we realized that we would eventually run into a problem when trying to take the songs live. We also knew that the album still needed more vocals. Although Joel Perreault is a great singer, I wanted him to be able to focus more on his role of lead guitarist than having to sing all of the time. This is when I decided to call on longtime music scene acquaintance Guy Abraham, who had previously been the lead singer for Peel, Velvet Pill, and Mission Light. I asked Guy if he would be interested in coming down to the studio to lay down harmony on a few of our tracks. I think he might have been a little resistant at the time because of things going on for him in the scene, and also because he didn’t know exactly what he was getting looped into, but he came down anyway. Guy absolutely crushed it. It was crazy to JP and me how Guy's vocals just automatically enhanced everything. He added a new dimension to the overall sound and style of the band. Also, we were shocked how much Guy’s voice blended with the already-existing vocals and in particular, with mine. This DOES NOT always happen. In fact, it barely ever happens. 

Over two days, Guy was put through the grinder. We had initially only asked him to do a couple of songs and I think he ended up tracking 8 songs over two days. By the end of his first marathon sessions, JP and I both looked at each other and said almost simultaneously that it would be amazing if Guy could be the guy. Catch what I said there? ...Guy could be the guy? Incidentally and unknown to me, Guy had also previously done some piano and keys over the years. So there it was, we asked Guy to join the band and we have never looked back since. He ended also taking on the beast of Ableton for us, which is essentially the brain of the band live.

Over the next few years, the 5 of us recorded a total of 23 songs together. 12 of those songs are what became “Find The Shoreline.”