Indie Profile: Flowers For Daniel from Kitchener

Flowers For Daniel
Eric Stirtzinger, Algernon Friolet, and Jay Hogle met as kids in Kitchener, Ontario. Years later they ended up in high school together, and while Al transferred to a school in Kincardine, Eric and Jay started jamming together in a band called The Surge. It was during Al’s time in Kincardine that he would discover his passion for writing and playing music.

It wasn’t until after high school that Eric, Jay, and Algernon started jamming together, which ultimately led to the creation of The Royal Streets. Shortly after The Royal Streets began recording their first tracks, Jay left the band to work on projects in the local metal scene recording early EPs for hardcore bands like Colourless, Trapped in Thought, and Guide Nevada.

After a successful run with the Royal Streets, which included two studio albums, coast to coast tours and multiple festival gigs (Jasper Folk festival, Montreal Pop, and a spot in the 2014 Osheaga lineup) Algernon decided it was time to part ways.

Post Streets, Al was looking to start writing again and linked up with drummer Cody Hache who had previously sat in on some jams with The Royal streets. Then adding the likes of Jesse Wiseman and Matt Code, the four of them formed the new band, Flowers for Daniel. Jesse had been playing bass for over a decade by that point but had recently begun learning the cello. The four members decided to really lean into that, making the cello a key aspect of their songs. Roughly a year later, with a gig on the near horizon, FFD found themselves short a bass player. Al reached out to Jay to see if he’d be interested in playing the gig. The timing was right. Jay happened to be looking to get out of the metal scene, and the fact that he and Al had a history, made the transition easy.

After a year and a half, countless gigs and a successful Canadian east coast tour, the FFD boys felt like there was a piece missing. They would see Eric at shows and would occasionally inquire about potentially joining the band as a guitarist/vocalist. They eventually convinced Eric to play a gig with them at Starlight in Waterloo. After a few jams and an explosive show, Eric’s passion for being on stage was reignited, and he was in. With the missing piece of the puzzle now in its place, everything finally felt right and resulted in the Flowers for Daniel you see today.

How did you come up with the band name?
The name Flowers for Daniel has a handful of significance. Daniel was the name of a beloved family member that was lost way too soon, it is Algernon’s middle name, and the author of the novel titled “Flowers for Algernon” is named Daniel Keyes. Little coincidences like this surround us in life.

With every tragedy comes signs that remind us how precious life can be. Whether you believe these signs are a coincidence or not, it’s healthier to embrace the possibility that the fallen are still with us in a way. The name Flowers for Daniel is an opportunity and a reminder to keep the memories alive. This may not always be easy to do, but as long as we crowd ourselves with positive peers and spread that positivity to others, then we are respecting the way our lost ones would have wanted to live. If you don’t make an effort to turn your darkest hours into motivation, you’ll waste the most precious hours of life grieving. Live your life and love your music.

Do you have any recorded music available for fans?
We have a few tracks on Apple Music and Spotify. There you’ll find our 2016 EP titled “Smoke Signals” featuring the original lineup of Al, Cody, Jesse, and Matt Code. There’s also three newer singles “Leather and Fishnets”, “Little Birdies” and “Growing Pains” with our current lineup. For those of you who prefer a little visual stimulation, you can find a few videos on our YouTube channel.

How would you describe your music?
Definitely Alt-Rock, but there’s a varying degree of intensity to it. We’ve got everything from Jack Johnson to a Kings of Leon feel. We tend to build our sets around songs that will get stuck in your head and get you moving. A slow steady sway, a punchy chorus and by the end we hope to have you fully vibin’.

What makes your band/music stand out from others?
The fact that we all grew up in different genres of music plays a big role in that. Algernon has a heavy singer/ songwriter influence. Eric comes from an Indy/Alternative background. Jesse takes inspiration from folk and pop music. Jay came out of the metal / hard rock scene and Cody has a heavy pop punk influence. Despite everyone having a vastly different background, all these styles blend together really well to make Flowers for Daniel. We feel because of the vastness of our musical spectrum, we offer something for everybody.
Aside from the fact that we’re in a band together, we’re all friends before bandmates, so it makes for an amazing dynamic. No one is afraid to speak their mind or make comments about how someone else could maybe improve a part of a song. There is a lot of respect and appreciation for what we all have to say. Also, we’ve got a cello.

What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to the music?
We all have physical outlets that we associate heavily with music. It ranges from physical activity like working out, running, basketball, and snowboarding to completing different labour intensive projects around the house. Some of us even enjoy eclectic activities such as knitting blankets. We share the passion of going to concerts where we’re not playing and are attending simply to enjoy the show and feel the energy of the crowd.

Name your two biggest musical influences and why?
Jack Johnson was a huge musical influence on Al’s introduction to songwriting and gave him the motivation to get into songwriting himself. JJ’s lyrics and complex flow were something he would listen to tirelessly. This resulted in him memorizing almost every song. Listening began as a type of therapy for Al – an awesome way to calm his nerves. However, what started as a passive therapeutic release turned into a love and respect for everything related to songwriting and expression.

This new found love set Al on a path where he soon found himself researching and studying every Jack Johnson verse, chorus, and bridge. He wanted to understand word choice, phrasing, melody, and the balance of metaphor and realism. All of which Jack Johnson excelled at. By the time Al was in high school, he had memorized the majority of Jack Johnson’s lyrical catalogue and, as a writer, had created an abundance of original work.
Life offers us many different inspirations. The majority of us went through a pop punk phase at some point. Others had a metal phase and, ultimately, we all agreed that rock and alt rock from the 90’s on is at the core of our inspiration. The direction and musical feel we’d like to continue heading in is pulled directly from our best memories of festivals and music experiences. We would love to have our shows and music provide our audiences with the same joy and energy that our influences had on us.

Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
Typically what happens is Al will come to us with a basic structure / chord progression and lyrics. We’ll listen to it a few times and see what kind of vibe we catch and then we all just jump in whenever we’re ready. Sometimes this results in a full song in a few hours and other times we have to “shelf it” for a few weeks/months and then revisit it.
The themes and topics stem from an array of life experiences. There are fictional stories, life experiences of those around us, and of course, good old fashioned feelings. From song to song the format and theme varies. Some songs could be based strictly on a past experience. Some are unrelated events that express a feeling. Some involve mixing real experiences with a made up or unrelated event to tell a story in a whole new light.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome the challenge? If so, how?
Finding the time to dedicate to this band while still maintaining our respective careers and responsibilities. It comes down to carefully planning ahead to avoid conflict. Sometimes that is sacrificing other plans to make a gig work, or even to get us all in the same room for a rehearsal. At the end of the day we are all passionate about the band and will make things work however we have to.

What current projects are you working on at the moment?
We have a lot of songs that we’ve been playing around with for a while now. Though it’s been difficult, we’ve been able to narrow it down to a select few for our upcoming EP. We feel these four tracks are a cohesive collection and sound pretty damn good. We will have a single coming out this summer. You’ll hear from us soon ;).

Band Members:
Algernon Friolet – Vocals, Guitar
Eric Stirtzinger – Vocals, Guitar
Jesse Wiseman – Cello
Jay Hogle – Bass
Cody Hache – Drums

Apple Music: Flowers For Daniel
Spotify: Flowers For Daniel
YouTube: Flowers for Daniel Music
Facebook: FlowersForDaniel
Instagram: @flowersfordaniel

Contact / Booking: flowersfordaniel@gmail.com

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