“We’ve come to the realization that we’re really awful at writing pop songs,” laughs Luke Ertman, one-half of the genre-melding duo Fool’s Tongue. “We’ve tried and we’ve failed, and that’s OK. We’re not all in the dumps about it.”
As it turns out, not being able to write a conventionally popular type of song has worked out just fine for Fool’s Tongue. Ertman and longtime friend Jeff Ramsey began playing music together in junior high when they bought guitars in the hope of becoming rock stars—”Of course that didn’t happen, but such is life,” Ertman says with a chuckle. The band began to take shape a few years ago, as Fool’s Tongue searched for its niche. After trying out the rock and folk scenes and realizing neither was the best fit for the band’s style—and losing band members along the way—Ertman (who plays the Chapman stick) and Ramsey (who plays a custom instrument called a bowguit that resembles an electric cello crossed with a guitar) decided to forge ahead as a twosome about two years ago.
After an uncertain start, Fool’s Tongue has found its footing on its debut album New World, a rock opera where pop-rock blends with cultural sounds to reveal influences from Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Accompanying Fool’s Tongue’s exotic and multifaceted sonic palette is a story inspired by Alice in Wonderland. The tale begins when young man is woken up by a strange woman who beckons him into the forest and leads him on a journey to embrace ideas of freedom, spirituality and stepping away from a materialistic life—there’s a subtle love story thrown in the mix, too.
Fool’s Tongue will be playing New World live for the first time and in its entirety, accompanied by a seven-piece band featuring vocalist Cassia Schramm at their CD release show this Saturday.
“It’s something that really tripped us out, actually, when we wrote it … we wanted all these world influences and things, but we also wanted it to be a concise album. We didn’t want it to sound like it was a different artist on every single track. At a certain point we decided that it was gong to be Alice in Wonderland and that we’d just go down the rabbit hole and whatever happens, happens,” says Ertman, noting the musical style was also strongly influenced by Peter Gabriel and Sting. “The Alice in Wonderland analogy kind of happened because it was like, we’re just going to follow this thing wherever it goes.”
Sat, Feb 22 (6 pm)
Capitol Theatre, Fort Edmonton Park, $20