Riverside’s up-and-coming band, Frets performed in Vancouver on March 17; it is to be one of their last shows until summer of 2023 because the lead singer will be moving to Edmonton. Frets performed alongside two other bands: Evesdrop and Dirty Hands.
Frets is a band that found its beginning at Riverside Secondary in Port Coquitlam. The four members consist of grade 12 students: Olivia Knowles, the lead guitarist, Rachel Tang, the bassist, Lucas Talkio, the drummer, and a grade 10 student, Amarya Kyris, the vocalist, and the rhythm guitarist. The band members reflected on their journey to their first performance, discussing how they initially met each other. Three out of the four members were in the same guitar class together, except for Talkio. Knowles and Kyris fell into their roles as the guitarists, but they needed a bassist. That’s when Tang fell into her role as a bassist. They played around together in the music room and realized they sounded good as a group. All they needed was a drummer. Talkio, who was already experienced playing the guitar and making music, described meeting Knowles. “I overheard her talking to someone else, and she was trying to make a band… I was really scared to make that first step, to make a friend, to start talking, but I think I just overcame my nerves, and everything just fell into place after I made that first choice to open-up to be friends,” said Talkio. Knowles invited him to become the group’s drummer, they started playing together and Frets was born!
Once they had some songs, they began publishing them on SoundCloud. With the help of social media, such as TikTok and Instagram, they promoted their band, and the time came to step out of their garage and make in-person appearances. They spent a significant amount of time networking and reaching out to people who could help set up gigs for them.
After all the Instagram messaging, and hunting for a person to help the band, they finally got a gig. Their first gig took place at Victory Square in Vancouver on August 19 of 2022. Talkio described his experience practicing with the band for this gig. “It was really hard because we were working so much. Six hours a day and for two weeks straight we were practicing and going over stuff, and figuring out what we have to say and how to be polite in a performing setting.” When asked about the emotions before their first gig, Talkio commented that everything happened so quickly without much time to think. “It sorts of just happened. We were there, we were doing it, then everything was fine, everything was put into place. We played the show and never looked back,” said Talkio. From then on, Frets played more and more gigs at street events and private venues.
Getting to perform in front of a crowd is an opportunity to grow and gel as a band. To get to perform in shows, Knowles said that they get invited to a lot of them. “Bands reach out to us because they’ve seen us perform, or we reach out to venues and ask,” said Knowles.
After they have made a name for themselves and gained over 700 followers on Instagram and over 400 on Tik Tok, Frets got to properly produce and publish a song on Spotify. This was a huge milestone for them. As of April of 2023, their first and only song on Spotify, “Gazer,” reached over 6,000 streams, and they have over 240 monthly listeners. When it came to being in a “business environment”, and recording and producing their song, ‘Gazer,’ the band described it as a productive learning experience. But even though it was a serious environment, the band still got to have fun and be themselves.
“It’s a beautiful community, the music community, so I say just try and make connections as much as possible. Don’t work with anyone you don’t want to or don’t like. And the biggest thing is meet new people, just find good people to work with your band mates to work with.”
Kyris, the lead singer of the band, has moved to Edmonton on April 2. This of course, will be a complicated time for the band because they won’t be able to make music in person, and they won’t be performing as much. Knowles, however, came up with a solution. “We’re going to try to make music online. We have some gigs in the summer already lined up. It’s going to be super different because she’s gone,” said Knowles. Their plan is to record their guitars, drums, and vocals separately, and just put them all together online.
The band had some advice for people who want to start a band. Making music requires people to step up and overcome the fear of talking to more people and making friends. “Just like, really enjoy yourself because what’s the point if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing… Don’t focus on trying to chase fame or whatever because it will just be more stressful,” said Tang. The advice that Knowles gave requires people to “not underestimate the power of the internet” because it is a platform to gain popularity, and it can be used for promotion. Always have a goal in mind and be confident and meet other people who have the same musical taste. “It’s a beautiful community, the music community, so I say just try and make connections as much as possible. Don’t work with anyone you don’t want to or don’t like. And the biggest thing is meet new people, just find good people to work with your band mates to work with,” said Talkio.