As a new wave of post punk music arrives to the mainstream radio, Toronto duo Favours, made up of Alex Zen and Jacqueline, have emerged. After the success of their single “Stowaway,“ their EP Made to Wait is set to be released in May 2020.
Favours have been slowly sneaking into the scene for a while. But after having worked with Josh Korody and having a song featured in Netflix’s Stowaway, the band is on the verge of stealing the spotlight from any other act around.
In our interview, both Alex and Jackie open up about their long-awaited EP as well as their goals for the 2020 year such as a possible tour and even more new music.
Combining post-punk and new wave in their sound has created a plethora of stories in every song they have released including “She is Soul” which comes out February 28th. From heartbreak to complete happiness, Favours has created art within their own music realm.
Itzel: When did you two meet and how long have you been playing music together?
Alex: We’ve been playing together for two years and we met through film doing music videos. We brought a lot of that in creating the videos and photography and art into our music.
Jackie: When we first met and we were doing videos together, we became friends first and then I think Alex asked me if I knew anyone who wanted to be in a band and that was something I kind of always wanted so I was like ‘oh yeah, I’ll be part of your band.’ It was really like fate.
Alex: I was at this video shoot with Jackie and you know I was trying to form this band and I had a drummer but I was looking for a synthesizer player and that’s where Jackie came in because she can sing and play a tune.
Itzel: Oh wow so that was truly fate for you both, to be looking for someone and it just so happens the person you ask would love to do the same thing.
Alex: It was really like serendipitous for us.
Jackie: Yeah, like I said, it really just felt like fate but in our hands to do this together as a group and all.
Itzel Giron: Is there any other band members or do you both do everything?
Alex: We do play with a live band but Jackie’s brother actually does help with production and all the behind the scene music stuff.
Jackie: Yeah, my brother has been part of the music industry for a while and he is really good with creating and he jumped on board, especially recently to help and he is really just an amazing person to have on board with us. He really has taken us to the next level with our songs and is just a really helpful person in our journey and especially in our future for us.
Itzel Giron: What attracted you to the style of post-punk and new wave music?
Alex: We really like post-punk and new wave music and I guess that’s the type of music I listen to on a daily basis so it only made sense to create that kind of music. We get really inspired by a lot of these New York City bands and the new wave bands that have really inspired us with the EP that we are going to release in May and after that we already have another record in the works.
Itzel: Speaking of your EP, how long has the process been to create this EP?
Jackie: I think about eight months, to six months .I don’t know really- haha- is that right Alex?
Alex: We did this pretty well all with Josh Korody from Candle Recordings (Has worked with bands like Dilly Dally) from Toronto, going to a studio and I’d say maybe eight months or a year.
Jackie: I feel like it’s been a while because we’ve gone through so many changes to what inspires us and what we want to build on to our backing band members that we’ve been waiting for that moment for it all to click and I think in January was when we finally mastered what we had. We felt like it was right, and we’ve been working on it for a long time but it had been more of the conceptual part because we went back to the studio to redo vocals and added synth and really built on the foundation we already had. But it’s really been kind of long the process.
Alex: And we recorded eleven songs and I think we are only going to put eight songs out and we went to the studio multiple times and even now recently in January, we think we are going to put two other songs onto our EP so we are just constantly changing and that’s the thing of music: we could just go on forever.
Jackie: We are always listening and challenging each other just to know if that’s what we want to do in the future and choose the sound we like and build on it because the songs we create is our future. Even though it’s going to stay in the same realm of music it’s just exciting to always create new things and build on it and I think it’s cool that we both have the same mind in that aspect.
Itzel: Of course, evolving is always part of the process to find your sound and discover new things, I get where you’re coming from that point of view of just wanting to evolve and do better.
Alex: Yeah totally, we are always pushing it in a new direction and thankfully our EP which is out in May, is a great launching point for people to understand our band. There is going to be a lot of cool songs, not different styles, but different types of songs. Like, we have a really dark low wave song on there and we have “In the night” which we put out that’s on there and our new single “She is Soul” that definitely has a 1960’s inspiration behind it.
Jackie: I think it’s cool how we both have two different inspirations, like I like post-punk music but it’s not necessarily something I listen to all the time but I do have a lot of inspiration from like 80’s music and different genres all across the board. So, it’s interesting to see us bounce off one another but stay in our genre of music but take inspiration from electronic music just for the feeling which makes each song just a little bit different.
Itzel: Speaking of inspiration, do you take any inspiration from the halfway home you renovated?
Alex: Well for the video of “She is Soul,” that’s the halfway house we renovated and we practice at and it’s really a perfect example of Jackie and I.
Jackie: For sure, this place inspires us. When we first got the idea of practicing there or Alex thought of knocking down the walls and make it our DIY art space, we were still formulating our ideas of what we wanted to do with our music. It’s kind of the place that came together physically to be warm and inviting and we’ve come together almost as a collaborative group of people like the group of people we have on our team now such as Sarah [Armiento] and my brother and others for supporting us and bringing those people into that space and it feels really just safe and it’s a nice place to bring others to just be creative.
Alex: It was a former halfway house, an abandoned house that used to hold prisoners and it had little rooms that were creepy, and it’s not like they were nice dudes but you know it’s still a happy place you know, being in there it’s just happy vibes. When we knocked down all the walls, we used to practice in the gym which was really tight but it opened it all up and it became like a New York City loft space from like the 70’s.
Jackie: The thing is that it’s in a remote location on the way so it’s really special.
Alex: We recorded some new stuff there, even our demo and even for other songs and it really changed our dynamic almost.
Itzel: That’s crazy because a halfway house is known for housing people fighting their own demons and trying to recover themselves and you were able to turn it into your home.
Jackie: Yeah! It’s literally home! Alex lives there and he moved in to be closer to his creative art space. I still can’t believe he moved there actually.
Alex: I mean it’s really just home.
Itzel: Well I recently heard your single “Stowaway” and first off, it’s a great song but I wanted to know how it felt for you guys to have been on a Netflix show like Northern Rescue.
Jackie: Oh my gosh it was crazy! I was like ‘what?’ It’s was amazing especially since it was like a minute of the song, like they actually played our song.
Alex: We kept listening with headphones and focusing on the song and it was great, like a way to help us validate. It’s not like we are looking for tons of fans or something but it was cool to have people pay attention.
Jackie: I mean I want a ton of fans, that’s what I want- haha- that’s like my goal.
Alex: No, yeah, I mean that’s what I want too, it’s just a weird feeling I guess.
Itzel: I mean that’s crazy, you guys definitely saw that as a push for sure, I’m hoping?
Alex: For sure. It helped validate the band like okay, let’s keep going, let’s finish our EP and do what we got to do because I feel like we recorded that song with four others and we had to finish another five in the studio later so it really was a good sense of validation. After having it on a TV show it really gave that push to just keep going.
Itzel: This song really had a lot of emotions based off the way I interpreted it, Could you guys tell me the inspiration for the song?
Alex: “Stowaway” came from some chords that I was playing for a long time and we brought together, Jackie and I, and it became this story that is told of this couple or someone going through a relationship that’s really what helps with a male and female singing back and forth lyrics.
Jackie: It’s really the back and forth perspective of these two people that just want to keep each other and the whole idea of keeping it a secret like a stowaway. It’s a secret between each other and adding the back and forth vocals, because originally, we sang the whole song together and then we realized it’s interesting having them speak back and forth together, just really added different perspective of what it means to each person in their eyes.
Alex: You’re really getting the both sides of the story of that hidden intimate love affair that they should or shouldn’t be having. Almost like a secret crush.
Jackie: Mhm, a secret crush for sure, or even just a secret you have from a friend you love, to keeping someone a secret from someone you love. It just really can be interpreted in many ways.
Alex: Really our goal is to have our music have many interpretations because it wouldn’t be fun if it only had one interpretation.
Itzel: For sure, and after your plug-in in Northern Rescue, did it in any way change the meaning of the song for you guys?
Alex: I don’t think the interpretation changed or alter how I feel about the song at all personally, but it definitely gave the band a push.
Jackie: Sometimes people at shows would come up and ask us to play the song. It was just nice to have people know the name of your song and want to hear it. That was the first experience we had with people wanting to hear our song, like them asking ‘play stowaway tonight’ and it was nice to be able to say like oh yeah totally we know exactly what song you’re talking about.
Itzel: In all honesty I got that vibe from it, but very dreamy and like very magical in a sense.
Alex: Yeah, it’s supposed to make you feel like you’re on a beach or something unlike being here in Toronto where it’s snowing and cold and where it gets to be 3-degree Celsius Overall; we would love to be in El Paso right now.
Itzel: Trust me as much as I love my city, we go through the four seasons in one day and it is not pleasant one bit, it’s so annoying but hey if you ever come down here I would love to show you around.
Alex: Of course we would love to go down there one day so we might just have to take you up on that offer.
Itzel: I know we earlier talked about the direction of your EP but, I had to ask, do you have a title for it yet or is it still in the works?
Jackie: Well, it’s called Made to Wait. We made everyone wait so long for it so it was fitting. It actually a lyric in our song, the one out February 28th, “She is Soul” and really the title ties all of our themes together really. It’s just like you’re made to wait for something, made to wait for a feeling to pass or made to wait for some other person or for relationships and memories. We just had all these different themes and we felt that ‘made to wait’ just brought all the songs together.
Itzel: Seems fitting really. You mentioned your second album already and I was wondering what you have planned to the release of Made to Wait?
Alex: So, we are going to put out three singles leading up to release the record in May and then play some shows around the record.
Itzel: Speaking of traveling, do you have any tour plans for 2020?
Alex: Well like I said, we plan on doing some shows around the record here in Toronto and possibly even Europe, we would love to go to America but it is very costly.
Jackie: We’re hoping that the singles have enough of like a calling to an audience in different places so we can have the opportunity to maybe go out there one day.
Alex: Really, it’s just like if someone asks us to go play a show somewhere we are really going to do our best to get there. We will play anywhere as long as we can branch out our music.
Itzel: I’m all out of questions but is there anything you want to put out about your upcoming EP or to future fans?
Alex: Yes! We just want to let everybody know our single “She is Soul” is available for pre-save on Spotify now but is available to stream on February 28th 2020 and our EP Made to Wait will be out in May of 2020 so, if you guys could go ahead and check us out! Hopefully we can get the chance to go down there and meet some possible new fans!
By Itzel Giron