“Hey man the wild is calling / Together my friend out there for more.” Joey Chaperon Cyr, lead singer of Montreal-based rock quintet Final Flash, could not have illustrated the band’s music better. A mystifying mix of classic and psychedelic rock, their debut album, Homeless, immediately transports you from your living room couch to the middle of an enchanted redwood forest. Joey’s voice and lyrics call out to something beyond humanity, and the hypnotic sounds emanating from Andre Bendahan (bass), Alexandre Girard (guitar), Mathieu Bourret (keys), and Maxime Hébert (drums), take the listener there. Songs like, “When the Day Turns Black,” “The Black Flame in me is a Red Flame in You,” “Welcome to the House on Fire” and, my favourite, “We Leave the Forest,” leave you wanting more. I caught up with the band just before they opened for Juliette Lewis at Montreal’s Cabaret du Mile End.
Q: I’ve been following you guys for the past year and from the first time I saw you until now, the band has really come together. What is it that has allowed you to gel so quickly?
Andre: A lot of shows, more synergy being created between us. [As a new band] everyone was focused more on their own instruments and I think now everyone is able to hear what everyone else is doing … getting into that vibe where we are all uniform. We are able to push the songs more. We are getting better and better, but there is still a lot of room to grow.
Q: Since Joey has written all the songs on this album, how did the rest of you translate his words into music?
Max: [The lyrics are] the last thing he does. [They] usually come on top of the music. [Joey] usually has an idea, but yeah that’s the last thing.
Mathieu: We don’t really know what [the lyrics] mean really … They have like four explanations.
Andre: They are open to interpretation.
Mathieu: We are not reacting totally to [Joey’s] lyrics.
Andre: Yeah, usually my interpretation is better than his. [Everyone laughs]
Q: You’ve had an incredible year – touring China and the U.K. and showcasing at NXNE, SXSW, and Osheaga – what do you consider to be some of the most memorable moments?
Max: Driving. We have so much fun just driving, but seriously, lots. England was definitely amazing. Also, putting out the album was definitely exciting.
Andre: Putting out the record was definitely a plus. And now we have our first single coming out in a month.
Mathieu: And when we played in the little park for the senior citizens. [Everyone agrees]
Andre: Some of the older people liked us a lot because of the retro feel.
Q: Your music has a ’60s vibe; Is that the style everyone in the band likes?
Max: Our biggest influences are basically in these years. Although, we don’t necessary sound like them because its forty years later.
Q: How did you all meet?
Mathieu: Joey, Alex, and me have known each other since CEGEP.
Max: I worked with Joey. He was playing me some stuff and he needed a drummer. And everybody knows Andre: You can’t forget that hair!
Q: With EMI on board, everything has amplified. You are touring the U.K. again, but this time with 2010 Polaris Music Prize nominees The Besnard Lakes – what else is up and coming?
Max: We are releasing a vinyl. That’s very exciting I think. That’s what I am looking forward to most, other than touring different places.
Andre: We’ve been invited to Australia to play a showcase in Perth in October. Still a tentative thing. Until we see the plane tickets, then we’ll say we are going.
Max: It’s exciting that we are even being considered for some of the tours, shows, and festivals – very exciting.
Andre: The album is coming out in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. There may be a possibility we are touring there too.
Mathieu: Maybe in June.
Q: When you tour, do you have any time to explore?
Andre: I do because I don’t sleep much. [Everyone laughs]
Mathieu: It depends if we have a day off or not. If we don’t have one, we just move to the next venue and that’s it.
Max: In Europe cities are closer, so you find yourself travelling less. In the U.S.A., there are massive drives … Canada too. In Europe I had more time to walk around and take pictures, and be a tourist.
Andre: [A new album] is already in the process.
Mathieu: We are playing a new song live.
Max: The other ones don’t have lyrics yet.
Andre: Yeah, we are waiting for Joey.
Q: So is Joey the only one who writes the lyrics?
Max: Joey really likes writing his own lyrics. It’s weird when someone else is putting words in your mouth.
Andre: But he’s been open in the past to be helped.
Q: Final Flash has been compared to everything from cereal to Pink Floyd – How are you going to maintain your style and avoid being typecast?
Andre: What we are doing in the jam space is coming together naturally and I don’t think we are aiming to be anything right now, which is the best way to be. And I think in that sense our sound will evolve.
Max: We might have some qualities, but I don’t think we are anything like Pink Floyd.
Andre: But at least we love Pink Floyd, so why not?
And why not? Vibrant, captivating, and poetic; Final Flash will satisfy any indie rock lover’s thirst for new music. And if you have the opportunity, I also highly recommend checking them out live!