Vocal harmonies and a love of the 1950s and ’60s brought the Edmonton-based band FKB together—but, at the end of the day, all the members want to do is have a great time on stage and share that feeling with the audience.
“What we try and do with all of our music is put people into a world—make them feel in a positive, fun mood,” lead vocalist and bass player Drew Shalka says. “[The music is] definitely all up-tempo. It usually has a positive message to it. We just aim to make people feel good and have a fun time listening to it.”
According to Shalka, this mentality to FKB’s song writing comes from years of playing shows in front of live audiences.
Shalka and two other members of the band—Travis Topylki and Derek Chalut— originally met in high school while living in Bonnyville. Because of a mutual love of music like The Beatles and Buddy Holly, the three of them began playing music together. Though they don’t necessarily play music from that era, there has always been a “natural gravitation” towards the sounds of those times.
“There’s definitely an element of it that creeps into our music,” Shalka says. “Even just picturing in your head how would Sam Cooke or how would Elvis approach a line—It’s all in the back of our mind when we’re working on things.”
Though some of the main influences have been from the 1950s and ’60s, FKB also draws heavily from modern music like The Arkells, Foster the People, Bruno Mars, and even The Weeknd.
So far, FKB has one EP and four singles out, most of which have been recorded with the help of The Road Hammer’s Clayton Bellamy. FKB originally met Bellamy when they were in high school. Bellamy was giving a speech at their school, and was looking for some students to play a few songs before he went on. FKB was chosen. Then, over the next little bit, they kept bumping into Bellamy at shows around town. Finally, they formally introduced themselves to him at a classic car show they were playing at.
Despite how young they were at the time, Bellamy reached out, wanting to work with them.
“We were very much focused on vocal harmonies, where a lot of the other bands in the area were focusing more on trying to do crazy guitar stuff,” Shalka says. “I think he was impressed by the vocal work we were doing, because not a lot of bands our age were doing that kind of thing at the time. I think it was also the style of music we were playing. He said he’d never seen a bunch of 16-year-olds playing Beatles and Beach Boys before.”
Recently, FKB won the Edmonton edition of the Jim Beam Talent Search. On March 21, FKB and four other bands from Edmonton took to Blues on Whyte to compete in the contest, where they played a short set and were ranked by a panel of judges.
FKB will now be heading to Canadian Music Week in Toronto to play a showcase in May. There will also be an online vote opening soon, and the winner of that vote gets to perform at the Indies Independent Music Awards.
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