WORDS: SEAN HUBBARD
Andrew Neufeld is a busy man, fronting both Comeback Kid and Sights & Sounds, but with his main focus being on the former it means that Sights and Sounds has been a project which has only seen sporadic releases whenever there is time for the entire band to actually sit and write music, with the most recent release, the single Within My Reach coming in 2016. The entire nature of Sights & Sounds is an irregular but intense experience, due to the commitments of all the members they have to really throw themselves into the creative process when the opportunity presents itself, and Andrew describes it as “We meet up for these intense spurts and then I don’t see these guys for months.”
As a hardcore vocalist it is also important to be able to express other avenues of creativity which is what Andrew does with Sights & Sounds, where he started to “explore some more styles of music and expressing some different moods.” He is also glad to be able to “incorporate a lot of flavours and textures that just wouldn’t be possible in my other punk/hc projects.” However despite being able to expand his creative endeavours somewhat, the activity of two different successful bands means that life can be pretty hectic and leaves Neufeld worried that he can end up lagging in some areas, as well as having to take care of some of the less exciting areas of being in a band, thinking that “trying to manage music and business is daunting and can be uninspiring sometimes when you just want to make tunes and be creative.”
“We meet up for these intense spurts and then I don’t see these guys for months”
This creative freedom that comes with Sights & Sounds is refreshing for Andrew, and allows them to incorporate any influences that they can think of, from White Zombie to the Black Eyed Peas, which is certainly a more eclectic mix than is usually cited in Comeback Kid’s influences. He feels it is a fun process, with them being able to utilise a wider variety of sounds with keyboardist/programmer Dave Grabowski, who is able to conjure up all sorts, such as “cyber-punk string sounds” or anything else that goes, which gives the band endless options to craft with.
Nonetheless these influences are not confined to the one band, as Andrew said he often pitches ideas to both bands, and then sometimes they work better with one or the other depending on the style and vision, but even when some of the band members don’t agree with the concepts he often “drags them down the rabbit hole” with him and sometimes it ends up working, and sometimes it doesn’t. But even despite the crossover of these influences, Neufeld is adamant that Comeback Kid are not making any radical departures from their signature sound, saying that “it would be weird if we didn’t and we aren’t going to pull a fast one like that,” which helps demonstrate how important it is for him to have the outlet of Sights & Sounds to explore alternative avenues to avoid creative frustration.
“trying to manage music and business is daunting and can be uninspiring sometimes when you just want to make tunes and be creative.”
Neufeld has always been a politically outspoken musician, with the Sights & Sounds song ‘Borderlines’ talking about two of his friends’ experiences with being separated from their families. He states his political influences as coming from I Spy and Propagandhi originally, both from his hometown of Winnipeg, and he says that they “gave me a perspective that I had never heard before when I was 13 years old which led to a slow but necessary growth in values.” Despite being a very politically active figure however he feels like a lot of his political views don’t end up on many of his songs, mainly due to his creative process just not working in that way, but they may be included in the future.
The artwork for highly anticipated new album No Virtue continues the motif of an ‘open door’ from their previous release, and Neufeld says that in this case it is to do with taking the step into the next chapter, through this door. The album name also comes from a line on it which says “No Virtue restores you,” which is describing the search for redemption when there is none to be found.
No Virtue has been a work in progress for the last three years, but Andrew says that the band are “really excited to share what we have been working on behind the curtains” in the long period since their last release.