Favorite Live Song

As they were on tour in Australia and Japan, supporting the album “Between Illness And Migration”, I asked the band members to tell us what was the song they enjoyed best live, and why… Here are their answers, along with a few live pictures!

– Stephanie

To play Between Illness and Migration live is so different from recording it or listening to the songs by myself…  At our last show in Tokyo on October 5th, I lived something so intense and fulfilling as we were playing the song “1-2-3 (One Step Away)”, It was as if I could not only understand it better, but live it in a whole new freedom, influenced by how everyone in the room embraced the invitation;
“At 1,2,3, I gotta let it go
At 1,2,3, I need to rise up on my feet… find some upper room”

Everyone had their hands reaching out high in the air, dropping inhibitions, rocking just like so many waves of one big current, carrying in itself so much passion, so many dreams and hopes, so much power also… I’ve been overwhelmed by this tide and even though I decided to keep my hands playing on my keyboard, my heart, my spirit and my emotions were elevated by our united movement. I felt this song was our declaration for the right to say “I’m alive, I’m free and I take a new step toward my promises. And this time, I am not alone, I step out surrounded by people just like me, struggling, imperfect, but willing to let go.”

– Miss Isabel

For me, it’s way too difficult to pick a single song… Every night is so different from one another, and every song means something different to us all! I love to play them all, especially that “Between Illness and Migration” is such a deep voyage in itself, representing all of what we’ve been through individually, as well as collectively!  But, I can chose a moment that really changed my life, and really surprised me, since it only happened once, and to be honest, I don’t really know how this really happened! lol! 

We were in Paris, and during the song “From the City to the Ocean”, Alex climbed on Moose’s kick drum… the communion we were having with our friends in the crowd was unreal. Seeing the people in the crowd with eyes closed, hands in the air, it was like a huge ocean wave, but so beautiful, you couldn’t take your eyes off of it. It was as if that wave came to the shore just for you. I then started to remember how we wrote that song as we were back in “Cow Land Studios” during one of the darkest period of the band, and when we simply decided to forget all of our problems and jumped without any safety net for that song to literally just come out of the blue, as a bottle in the ocean you pick up and see your name written on the piece paper inside… We played that song over and over and over again, remembering how great it is to play music together. As we played, we could see each of our own walls falling down one after the other… A moment I’ll never forget! As if Jesus came to me and said “Get up and walk”. 

It was the same that night. I just wanted to hug my brother Alex while that song was being played! That seemed to be the perfect extent of that beautiful wave in front of us… I was just crying and crying, being so thankful and realizing even more how precious our friendships and relationships are in our lives… This is everything we really have! Unfortunately, those moments have to end, but I know, and all of those who were there that night know, that this very exact moment will live forever, as it was simply perfect! I love you my friends! And there’s no where else I want to be in my life than around you!!!!

– Jeff

I think the song I enjoyed playing live the most throughout the tour was “Open Your Eyes” at the temple in Kyoto. This concert was such an intimate moment with the people. Playing in a temple for me was a vivid representation of this relationship we have with the Japanese people, living this communion by exposing ourselves in a place rooted in their history and cultural heritage. We gave life to this intimacy and this safe place all together, simply by being who we are! Open Your Eyes is a song we shared at the beginning of the band and to see the eyes of the people when Alex shared about the song and when right after I hit the first notes of the song… It was memorable! The new part we have created in the bridge is something really special for me to share. And that night was really magic! The high notes coming out through the intense noise, like a scream for freedom… And right after, during the ambient and peaceful part, some people had their eyes closed, there were all those smiles… we were all flying in a place where nothing could have stopped us from fully living this unique moment all together! 

– Sef

Just coming back from Australia and Japan, it’s very special to answer that question. I discovered that for all its different ambiances and dynamics, “1-2-3 (One Step Away)” was surely in my top 3… Yeah, it’s hard to narrow down to only one song! Wanna know which ones are the others? Come and write me we’ll talk about it. “1-2-3 (One Step Away)” evolved in its ending section, as we experienced it in Kyoto… That’s something we discovered about it not during rehearsals, but live on tour. I like the different angles on which we can approach “Between Illness And Migration” in a live setting.

– Moose

My favorite song to play live would be “Where Did We Lose Each Other”. It’s edgy, punchy and playing it live gives me that guts and intensity. I love all the natural dynamics of that songs, which are even more accentuated live. One of the great moment for that song was in Tokyo last October… The people were so into it, it was mind blowing… Seeing them take ownership of that song on such a level really gave me that holy fire inside! And we performed it like mad men! lol! It was like if the sentence ”where did we lose each other” was a common call for all of us, personally and collectively, a call to live.

– Ben

As for Alex, he took a very, very long time to think about it when I asked him. So much I thought he would find a way to avoid the question like he usually does… But no, this time, he came up with a very precise answer… His favorite song to play live is From The City To The Ocean. And he told me that the time the band performed it in Kyoto has been very special. He was unable to explain exactly why. But it seemed to be very clear in his mind… Everything that should absolutely not be done in a temple in Japan has been done on that night… In a vivid and vibrant type of let go…

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Every Shadow Is A Curse – A View From Within In English

If you have listened to “A View From Within” even only once, you have probably noticed the lyrics that are in Japanese in the song. Here are the original lyrics, as written by Alex, before they were translated.

Every shadow is a curse
for true daydream breather
As we blossomed in the lights
of a new whirl of desires
Any whisper is a gift
worth a thousand cranes’ prayers
As we’re kneeling before dawn
dressed in new soulmate garments

As I was in studio with the band, I was privileged enough to hear a conversation they had concerning the reasons why Alex wanted to add Japanese lyrics to the song…

The Japanese section of the song “A View From Within” is meant to represent the light we’re all looking for, contrasting with the darker, somber lyrics that are used previously in the song.

Your kick stung right through my will
Sucked my desires forevermore
Your bites are no stranger to my skin
As you left me on the floor
Slow motion death as only view from within

The light, in an unknown language, is what we do not always see, what we may never notice around us, but that are nonetheless true and powerful testimonies of hope. Light, as weak as it is, remains faithful to the very essence of its nature.

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Between Illness And Migration, Japanese Version: Dedicated To

”Between Illness And Migration” is a journey we all go through, despite our nationality, culture, language, religion, sexual orientation and personal values. It’s a path where faith and despair seem to be so much alike, a voyage where hope and misery are difficult to differentiate, a peregrinate where redemption and desperation look all the same. It’s a personal state of our heart and soul, where the darkness of broken dreams is obscuring the skyline of our bright desire to live. As much as we would like to avoid it or deny its implacable nature, we all go through that path at some point in our life. As much as we would have loved to help them and save them, we all know people and loved ones who have lost their way through their own journey…

Somehow, we all have to learn how to live or cope with mourning shadows. Even when sometimes, grief feeds itself of our own sorrows. But there are people who, despite their own desperation, bleakness and despairs, decide to give life another chance, to see if light could shine through the haze of their desolation and anguished moments of darkness… and they live through their deepest nights of dreadfulness because of that light, even if, sometimes, that light is the smallest of all glows and the blurriest of all luminescent reflections. And they witness the colors of a new morning dawn slowly covering the gloom of what used to be made of gloaming afflictions. And as they look at the horizon unfolding its promises of new vivid shades, they feel the warmth of a renewed vow towards what they believed to be forever lost… Embodying a new vision of life as they let go of everything that used to hold them back to the ground of personal miseries… Experiencing forgiveness, redemption, freedom and rebirth; warmness of a resurrected life covering their shivering skin and slowly sinking into the deepness of their heart and soul… free.

This album could be the liner notes of an intimate pilgrimage to the end of the night. It might be the testimony of a troubled foreigner who found his home of peace in Japan and fell in love with the wonderful people who are defining that new home of his. No matter how this record might be received and perceived, it truly remains a communal story, the narrative chronicle of so many personal renaissances and the soundtrack of a collective revival.

I profoundly wish that you’ll receive “Between Illness And Migration” as a heartening offering that, I sincerely pray and hope for, will be an inspiration for you to let go… Not to abandon, but to let go in order to fully embrace life… life, as whatever you want to make out of it, how many times you want to reinvent yourself through it. And as you taught me over the years, you don’t have to lose yourself in order to let go and be free. Between illness and migration is only one step of faith from rebirth. Your feet might be weary and jaded at times, you may be discouraged and disheartened on your way home… May love be the light that will guide you through dark times, as true love will never fail you. And I know it’s true, because you saved me so many times from my own moments of deep desperation.


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Winter Blue

Throughout all the album process, I have had the privilege of being in studio with the band members. And the way they associated colors with the album has been something that really impressed me, this ability of giving life to ideas not only through words and music but also through images. And one image that they often talked about was one to describe to beginning of the album. This image, simple yet complex, was “Winter Blue”.

The sky is always bluer in winter. Maybe because it’s contrasting so much against the white of the snow, or maybe because the sky becomes a reflection of our own attempt to see something in it that will give us a certain form of warmth. It’s a blue that is cold. The blue that you can only find in the cold lights of morning, that moment when the first lights of morning shine, way before the sun reaches its zenith. That same distant, glacial and solitary blue, however, also bears the most exquisite sunsets of golden yellow, fiery crimson and blazing magenta hues, just as if the day, before dying, wanted us to understand that even from the coldest mornings bloomed a place warm enough to be called home, defined by whatever colors we want to give it.

And this is what Between Illness And Migration is all about. A journey against all odds born from a little ray of faith shining through a winter blue colored new dawn and that is still revealing its most magnificent colors in a heaven-sent flamboyant array.

– Stephanie

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Satsuki Yami – About The Song

Inspired by the band’s visit to the Minamisanriku Saigai Center, “Satsuki Yami” offers a sonic landscape filled with deep emotions of faith through hopelessness, of peace through confusion, of solace through despair. A state of heart and soul unravelling images that go beyond the sounds and atmospheres of the song itself. Its art-noise constitution and avant-garde musical exploration is a reflective murmur about the nature of every season of life, a reminiscent contemplation of the evolutive essence of what we believe in and the evolving communion of heart and soul when it is time to let go of our darkened twilight and migrate into a new realm of morning lights. It’s open hands on a brand new dawn… a rebirth of its own.

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Have you ever seen Your Favorite Enemies live?

It truly is an experience. And one that you will never forget. To describe with words what happens is actually impossible. The connection with the band and the crowd is very strong and incredibly intense. So much that at the end of the night it is hard to believe it really happened, yet you can’t deny it did. It is probably because every night they play, the band members die on scene and are reborn again. Because what we live in the crowd, they also live it on stage. Because as we smile in the crowd, they smile on stage. Because when we cry in the crowd, they cry on stage. We arrive at the venue not knowing what will happen, and they don’t know either. Because one song is never played the same way.

“It’s quite funny to say, but we never actually play our songs the same way from a concert to another. We are one of those bands who believe that we are not an iPod playing the songs the same way all over and over again. It’s an all-in type of freedom. It’s imperfect, it’s noisy, it’s sweaty but it’s real. Some nights are on the edge of being a fabulous disaster as much as some nights are a magnificent uplifting epiphany. And the connection with the real people attending the concert is the soul of the night. It’s all about the moment we embrace on stage and the communion we share with the people that shape the songs. This creates incredible moments with the people and makes the rest of the band go completely crazy when I’m going way away from both the form and structure of the songs! ” – Alex, in a recent interview for an Australian magazine

The hardest in all this improvisation that takes place on stage? Ben finds it’s exciting in all its aspects, Jeff finds letting go difficult, Moose sometimes fears his muscles are going to give up, for Sef it’s staying aware of the subtle changes that take place and that he needs to follow, Miss Isabel sometimes wishes she could go back to these moments through recreating the songs. But that’s what a moment is all about. Once it’s over, it keeps living within you and won’t fade away as you’re left with the undeniable impact it had on you. But it can’t ever be recreated again.

Some of their favorite moments?

Jeff: Ti-Guan Bar, Guangzhou, China – May 14, 2011
It was so intense, as if it was the last day of humanity, and that tomorrow would never come! I surprisingly got very close to them while playing, and started to simply scream, like I had never screamed in my entire life. They started screaming back with me, and we had such an awesome time allowing freedom, as nothing else mattered than knowing we were alive!

Sef: Concorde 2, Brighton, England – May 17, 2013
It was during the Empire of Sorrows song just before a crazy and noisy lead. I decided to come to the front of the stage to get closer to the people and live something crazy with them. I don’t have words to describe what I lived inside of me, but I know it was powerful enough to say that I have never been the same on stage since that specific moment…

Moose: Les Mains d’Oeuvre, Paris, France – May 24, 2013
It sometimes happens that Alex climbs on my bass drum and sings his heart out, and it’s always very special to me. There’s this one night though where he suddenly put one foot on my seat and put his head against mine for us to scream together. I’ll never forget this moment. It’s as if in a split second I could feel the years we shared and the walk we walked together to live our dream. Absolutely priceless and eternal!

Ben: Midi Festival, Shanghai, China – May 8, 2011
Alex was talking to the crowd about letting go and dreaming. There was a girl that was so touched by those words… she was screaming and then started crying. I was able to see and feel how liberating that was for her, as if it was the first time she allowed herself that freedom to let everything out. After that, she was so exhausted she couldn’t stand on her feet, and it’s the rest of the people who lifted her up in the air and she left doing body surf. 

Miss Isabel: Red Sugar Jar, Shenzen, China – May 12, 2011
The first time I witnessed such a connection between everyone in the concert room was so intense that all of the sudden there were about 15 people on stage with us dancing and playing with us on our instruments, to realize shortly after we were ALL off stage still playing, creating OUR moment.  I ended up playing a whole song holding the hand of a girl, totally united with her in such a special way, very spiritual… 

A show with Your Favorite Enemies is an experience.
It’s passionate. It’s real. It’s life-changing.
In every daily situation. In every recording. In every show.
Because it’s only a matter of being.

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A View From Within – About The Song

The most atypical song written by Your Favorite Enemies, “A View From Within” has some nocturnal, licentious, sensual, ambiguous and self-doubting tones, offering a reflective perspective of the inner conflicts defined by a modern hedonistic way to live fantasies and by the desire to live pure everlasting emotions. Alex Foster’s vocal performance discloses that “lustful” type of personal struggle, as he brings us into an intimate whisper that defies conventions and invites us to lay down the fearful nature of our inhibition. As the band brilliantly leads us in a raving, luxuriant blend of waving atmospheric guitars and languorous keyboards, tiding dazedly over a gasping groove. And, for Foster’s every “multiple layers of understanding” lyrical approach, the addition of a Japanese female murmuring counter part gives “A View From Within” quite an intriguing essence, as the nature of the song could be way deeper than the sultriness sensation it initially gives your senses. You might find yourself in a passionate love affair or into some deep spiritual contemplative surrender. This is Your Favorite Enemies’ unique ability to touch both ends of the emotional spectrum without any compromising detours… it’s clear, it’s for everyone to find their way now.

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Empire Of Sorrows

The creation of the song “Empire Of Sorrows” has been a defining moment for the heart and soul of what “Between Illness and Migration” was about to become. The inspiration came spontaneously and words took place in a pure and natural way, over the noises floating around. We didn’t know at the time that “Empire Of Sorrows” would become the heartfelt foundation of the album. A unique song that became the starting point of an album that unfolded itself as being a life journey rather than a collection of great songs assembled in a spiritual fashion, true heart and soul rather than self-proclaimed incarnation of “cool” and self-absorbed songwriting ambitions. That’s what “Between illness And Migration” is all about. Here’s a short video of “Empire Of Sorrows” that I wanted to share with you all. There’s nothing like the “live” performance of a song to understand a little more of what it is about… at least that’s how it is for me… 

– Alex

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