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This article was published 23/2/2016 (2043 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A cryptic message on posters across Canada that asks, "What have you been unable to forgive?" is actually part of a promotional campaign for Winnipeg group Yes We Mystic.
The posters provide no other information other than the heading, "Forgiver," a phone number, a website address and a suspicious message: "No harm will come to you."
Yes We Mystic frontman Adam Fuhr says the initial idea was about giving people a direct line to the band as it prepares to release its debut album, Forgiver.
"For this record, we decided we wanted to engage people in a bit of a different way, so we were trying to figure out exactly how we were going to do that," says Fuhr.
With the help of friends, the band put up these posters in nine different cities across the country, including Winnipeg.
Fuhr added there were two meanings behind the message, "No harm will come to you."
"On the surface... it was supposed to be a reassurance that we’re not going to share this information with anyone else," he says. "But it was also a little secret that that’s the name of the song you’re going to receive for participating."
He received all of the texts directly and uploaded them anonymously to a Twitter account created for the new album. In return, participants were sent a copy of the band’s new single, No Harm, before it was released.
He says most of the responses were "very honest and very well thought-out." But he did receive a few that didn’t take the process very seriously.
"If someone sent us something that was kind of joking or wasn’t going deep enough, we’d just send them (a text) again, ‘What have you been unable to forgive?’" he says.
"We’d kind of give you one more chance to dig a little deeper and do some thinking. Generally, what we wanted to do was just get people to think about forgiveness in a different way."
Responses ranged from the inability to forgive parents for their mistakes or partners for their infidelity. Others spoke about struggling to forgive themselves.
One person wrote, "I haven’t been able to forgive myself for letting her go and never speaking to her again." Another admitted, "I am unable to forgive my father’s negligence."
On the upcoming album, scheduled for release April 29, Fuhr says the band is "trying to unpack different types of emotions that pertain to things that people need to forgive or events in our lives that have left us needing to forgive different people."
This isn’t the first time Yes We Mystic has been mysterious about new material. In May 2015, they released a single called Vestige. Prior to its release, the band put up posters in Winnipeg of a sepia-toned portrait of an unknown man, with no text or context.
"In this day and age, people want something to latch onto," says Fuhr. "We got such a range of responses from laughter to fear out of that (Vestige) poster campaign. It was really neat to play with what an image — just by itself — can do.
Fuhr says the basis of their songs, from the chords to the melodies and lyrics has stayed the same since their first EP in 2013, Floods and Fires. But on Forgiver, the band is pushing forward.
"We’ve collected more instruments, we’ve collected more influences. I think that shows through the music. We’re trying to push ourselves to build upon these songs in... more unique and interesting ways," he says.
"The whole record is definitely more adventurous and more sonically textured than anything we’ve done before."