Stomping Grounds: Jeff Beaulieu (Your Favorite Enemies) on Drummondville, Quebec

Your Favorite Enemies

Your Favorite Enemiese

Renowned for its distinct blend of high level post-punk and psych-heavy shoegaze, Your Favorite Enemies are at the tail end of a month long tour with …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.

Your Favorite Enemies first came together in 2006 and quickly gained an enormous following worldwide. Through their own imprint Hopeful Tragedy Records, Your Favorite Enemies has sold over 150,000 copies of their studio efforts independently and garnered massive critical acclaim, including being nominated by the Juno Awards’ for Rock Album Of The Year 2015.

The sextet’s vivacious live performances has led to numerous tours in over ten different countries, including an historical show at the millennial temple Otagi Nenbutsu-Ji in Japan. YFE has shared the stage with everyone from Story Of The Year to Iron Maiden and is also heavily involved with social causes as spokespersons for Amnesty International.

During each stop of the North American trek, Your Favorite Enemies offered fans a free copy of the EP, A Vision Of The Lights We’re In. The EP features select tracks from the band’s latest full-length, Between Illness And Migration as well as the new song “Y?nagi.”

A full stream of A Vision Of The Lights We’re In can be found here:

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with YFE’s Jeff Beaulieu to discuss his home, Drummondville, Quebec. This is what he had to say about poutine, the Poutine Festival, fries, gravy and some other stuff.

What’s your town’s nickname?
Poutine Town. It’s the birth place of the very well-known poutine, a meal that pretty much defined our cultural identity for so many different reasons!

What’s your nickname for your town?
Drummond Beach. Can be also called Drummond Bit** when the weather decides that July should be covered with 10 feet of snow… Yeah, Drummond Bit**!

Why do you live there?
We fell in love with the city when we were looking for a new place to establish the band and its very particular organizational “reality”. It’s right in the middle of the province of Quebec – la belle province. It’s a place that has a lot of cultural diversity that is multi-ethnic and very open minded. AND it’s also a city crazy enough to allow a band like us to buy one of their churches!

Did you grow up there? If not, what brought you there?

We almost all grew up in Montreal and we owned a place on the South Shore of the island. It quickly became a bit of a problem when “unfriendly” people bought the house right next to ours. But since the band’s needs were more significant in terms of space, due to my propensity to craft excessive type of projects and always coming with new “idées de grandeur”! When we found this amazing church that could actually be bought, we all crashed our piggy banks and prayed to get proper financial support. It’s obvious that every financial institution wants to give mortgage to a band wanting to buy a church… It’s so familiar that I think they’ve got a check box on their credential forms. It’s called “You are fired if you say yes to such craziness.”

What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there?

The holiness of the church can be defined by what’s going on in the parking at night. On the first night, we realized that there’s a lot of different types of “communion.” Let’s say that not all the cars visiting the parking were there for holy unction! Prostitution, drug dealers, couples wanting some private sexcapade, teens using the family car to “explore” the nature of life… It was as sadly stunning to see some of that going on as it was really funny at times, especially knocking at the car windows: “Sorry guys, it’s a private property now.” “Oh… Oh, yes, sorry… sorry. She’s my wife.” “Of course dude, of course!” I think it was a quick buzz killer to see bearded freaks appearing in the midst of their “marital” fantasy!

 What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)?
There are not a lot of attractions in our city. In fact, I think our church is the real attraction now! But we do love the skate park though. Not only is it huge, but there’s actually a lot of people grinding their knees all over the place, so it’s a good thing!

What is your favorite local event or festival?
The Poutine Festival is really amazing. There are always great bands showing up, there are poutine competitions and the poutine mascot is just too cool to stay insensitive to its greatness. Ok, I’m pushing a bit, but everyone loves a costume of French fries, bites of cheese and gravy! We’re playing the festival this year, so if you’re in the area and are looking to ingest a 2,500 calories meal, it’s the place to be!

What is the best time of year to be there?
Summer, definitely. There are a few festivals and a lot of things going on in the city. And since we hate winter, we don’t really know what’s going on in the city during frozen hell season. Well, unless you love to walk with snow shoes and get in a Han Solo frozen state of cryogenic sleep until spring.

Who is your favorite local celebrity?
There’s no real celebrity living here, our lead guitar player probably being the closest to what we can call a celebrity, as there’s a website called “Spotted: Sef Doing…” that’s really active. There’s a rumor saying that Lou Reed and Bono used to secretly come every year to eat poutine, as they are/were poutine devotes. And there’s a legend saying that Kurt Cobain stopped in the city to buy a pack of cigarettes when he first toured in Canada…

Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour?
There’s a sweet Irish pub called Le St-Georges. They’ve got an impressive selection of microbrewery beers, but if whiskey is your thing, I would say that our own private bar is the coolest place in miles around – yes we have our own bar, and yes, it’s in the church. Especially if you like Japanese whiskey!

Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)?
A little place called Jucep. It’s all ’50s old school rockabilly music, a really cool vintage place all about the 50’s.

Do you play music there? If so, where is your favorite place to play?
No, we never played there. We have actually been tossed away by the city’s 200th anniversary celebrations organizers because they were afraid that our band would cause some “ear disagreement” to the public’s soft ears. In other words, it means they don’t want to have a bunch of kids rockin’ the town for that “not exactly for all” night of diversity and multi-cultural celebration. We thought it was quite special to be mentioned by the city mayor as the pride of the city in a public speech – you know, the sexiness of having an international band living in your city – before being the city’s persona non grata… So much for showing the love!

Does where you live influence your music?
I think what influences our music is more about having a place we can call home than where that place is located. It gives us a safe place to crash and burn, to destroy everything to see it grow all over again.

What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there?
It would be the Metropolis. The sound is just right and the vibe is perfect. And my favorite show was Wilco, as they were touring the “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” album. it was soulful and so deeply real. It remains one of my all-time favorite concerts.

 What is your favorite local band?
Drummondville is not truly a predominant musical hub, especially compared to Montreal, which sees a whole lot of great bands presently emerging. I would say the band Ought, a little notch over Celine Dion!

 What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish?
Miso, a little Japanese restaurant. If you’re looking for a place to look cool and hype, it’s not the place to go, as it looks really ordinary and the art deco is ordinary. But if you want to treat yourself with an amazing meal, that’s the place. The chef is Japanese, his tuna sashimi is one of the best I have ever eaten and I’ve been to Japan several times. It’s a must-go!

 What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?
It’s called “Aux 33 Tours” and it’s the place to find very limited old school punk and hardcore 7”. My best find is a Cramps live promo LP, which is a really rare piece. The place is also well-known for its Japanese pressings, as the owner makes the trip to Japan himself every year to find some limited treasures.

What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)?
It would be a French-language website called “Sors-tu?” (which means “going out?”), that covers pretty much everything going on from Montreal to Quebec city culture-wise. And they are great peeps as well.

What is your favorite local shop?
It’s called The Brock, a little pub that survived the hipster takeover of the city’s nightlife. It’s a place where you can talk with people who know Hemingway and Blake, as much as you can talk about Fugazi and Black Flag. Well, if I’m around, you will.

If you could live anywhere else, where would that be?
That’s a tricky question, as we’re right now discovering so many new great places while touring the US for the time ever. My heart will always balance between San Francisco, Barcelona and Kyoto. Yes, I’m playing the “we are so international” card… What? Can’t we all brag a little once in a while?

(Watch the “Where Did We Lose Each Other” video here:

If you’re Texan, catch the band live here:

May 13 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada May 14 – Austin, TX @ Holy Mountain)