October 22, 2019

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Seeing double

Yes We Mystic uses second group to illustrate new album's concept

On March 12, Winnipeg art-pop band Yes We Mystic performed two shows in two different cities at the same time; one in Winnipeg and one in Saskatoon.

The band didn’t split up to go to both locations, nor was one event live-streamed into the other venue. Instead, it was revealed there are now two Yes We Mystics, who have both been participating in all of the media and events leading up to the release of the band’s new full-length, Ten Seated Figures, which dropped last week.

The second Yes We Mystic is made up of a cast of familiar Winnipeg faces, including Davis Plett, Madeline Rae, Frances Koncan, Julian Kirkman and Ross McMillan. The five have done interviews, been in music videos and even grace the album cover along with the five members of the original Yes We Mystic.

At the March 12 show, they did not play instruments or sing songs, but rather offered an evening of interactive experimental theatre at a listening party for Ten Seated Figures; they did each other’s makeup, answered questions about the project, and for one song, had only one member of the audience listen to it and then describe it to the rest of the crowd.

On March 12, Winnipeg art-pop band Yes We Mystic performed two shows in two different cities at the same time; one in Winnipeg and one in Saskatoon.

The band didn’t split up to go to both locations, nor was one event live-streamed into the other venue. Instead, it was revealed there are now two Yes We Mystics, who have both been participating in all of the media and events leading up to the release of the band’s new full-length, Ten Seated Figures, which dropped last week.

Supplied</p><p>Both versions of Yes We Mystic grace the cover of the band’s new album, Ten Seated Figures.</p></p>

Supplied

Both versions of Yes We Mystic grace the cover of the band’s new album, Ten Seated Figures.

The second Yes We Mystic is made up of a cast of familiar Winnipeg faces, including Davis Plett, Madeline Rae, Frances Koncan, Julian Kirkman and Ross McMillan. The five have done interviews, been in music videos and even grace the album cover along with the five members of the original Yes We Mystic.

At the March 12 show, they did not play instruments or sing songs, but rather offered an evening of interactive experimental theatre at a listening party for Ten Seated Figures; they did each other’s makeup, answered questions about the project, and for one song, had only one member of the audience listen to it and then describe it to the rest of the crowd.

"They did all sorts of stuff, but I don’t even know it all, I wasn’t there," says Adam Fuhr, vocalist and guitarist of the original Yes We Mystic.

The second group is an art project meant to help illustrate the larger concept of the record; Yes We Mystic wanted to explore the idea of false memory and misrememberings, and how "the lies which we tell ourselves which change our perception of the world and the world’s perception of us," Fuhr says.

"That’s where everything started from; that’s what the lyrics are about, that informed how we created the music itself and that’s where this art project came from," he says.

"My bandmate Keegan sums it up like this: think of a time you recalled something from your past with perfect clarity only to realize later that it happened in an entirely different way or it happened to someone else or not at all, and we wanted to do something to force the observer into reckoning with those types of moments. We’re going to make those moments happen to you, almost."

Sonically, too, Yes We Mystic tried to circle back to that concept of false memories and misrememberings by altering the way their usual host of instruments sound, distorting and tinkering with them to the point where it became hard to tell what sounds were being made by what piece of equipment.

"The base truth of it is we have a lot of different instruments that we travel with and we wanted to do something to push forward the sound and the type of sounds that we made, but without adding anything new to travel with," Fuhr says.

Art project and alternate Yes We Mystic aside, Ten Seated Figures, an album that has been years in the making, is an incredibly strong offering; the 10 tracks are rich, textured and cinematic in sound, thoughtful and creative in concept and don’t sacrifice any catchiness or listenability while working within the confines of such a complex idea.

It’s Yes We Mystic’s best, most focused work, and this weekend, for one night only to celebrate the album’s release, both Yes We Mystics will take the stage at the Garrick to perform it live at the band’s largest hometown headlining show to date. And while Fuhr remains vague on the details of what will happen at the show, his tone suggests something interesting is in the cards, following suit with the rest of the album-release campaign.

"This show with the 10 of us is kind of the conclusion of the project and all culminates with what we’re going to do at the Garrick," he says.

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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