Forty Seven Teeth open up about four-year hiatus and new album “Apologies”
The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely challenging for Kingston musicians and performing artists, most of whom put their passions on hold through multiple lockdowns. Unable to perform and earn income, some musicians found the time and inspiration for new creativity. While the pandemic has called Canadians’ collective attention to our national and local music economies as one of the most unfortunate and hardest hit sectors, fortunately, for Forty Seven Teeth fans, it’s also seen the reappearance of the popular Kingston indie punk band who’d rather unexpectedly disappeared two years before COVID-19 hit the Limestone City.
I sat down with Anna Robertson (guitar and vocals) and Dee Prescott (bass and vocals), two thirds of Forty Seven Teeth (now a trio that includes Jesse Aylesworth on drums) to discuss their new surprise album, Apologies, and where they’ve been over the past few years.
Why did Forty Seven Teeth go on hiatus, and what have each of you been doing since?
Anna: I had a kid, and then the pandemic hit. I spent most of the hiatus isolated while learning how to Mom.
Dee: There’s no simple answer to why we went on hiatus. It was a bunch of things that all just added up. So, we decided it was just best to take a break for a while.
How did this secret new album, Apologies, come to be?
Dee: We had a few songs that we were working on pre-pandemic, but a lot of them came out while sporadically jamming here and there. After our last EP, Emotional Support, we were feeling pretty burnt out, and we didn’t feel like trying to play the music industry game. So we just decided to release all sixteen tracks at once. It was recorded in a couple of sessions. One day for music and another for vocals. No big studio, just a basement studio with Jesse’s dad. Super low-key.
What was the inspiration or mood behind Apologies?
Anna: Each song was inspired by past events or memories, many from the early 2000s. I think reflecting back on that time when we were in our early 20s, now 20 years later, offered an interesting opportunity to look at all the mistakes we made and people we encountered, all the stories we lived through, from almost a motherly perspective. The mood is sometimes sombre, sometimes lighthearted; poking fun at ourselves; sometimes remembering fondly all the stuff we overcame to become who we are now.
Is the title of the new album meant to be an apology for your hiatus?
Anna: It’s a collection of many small apologies… to the people of our past and also to our past selves. It’s easy to see, looking back, how badly we treated others, how badly we treated ourselves, and how badly others treated us. It wasn’t all bad of course—there were amazing memories too—but I think writing these songs allowed me to let go of some guilt and shame and hurt from the past.
It’s a collection of many small apologies… but I think writing these songs allowed me to let go of some guilt and shame and hurt from the past.
How has the Kingston music scene changed during your time away from it?
Dee: It’s difficult to say. Anna and I have been playing in bands since we were both 15 and 16, and the scene in Kingston really picked up in 1999-2000 when KPP Concerts started throwing shows. The scene was solid back then, everyone had a band. Now it’s different, all our friends grew up and stopped playing. I honestly couldn’t tell you about the music scene now, I rarely go out.
Is Forty Seven Teeth back together for good? What are your plans for the band going forward?
Dee: I think we have found such a great bond between the three of us, so we are going to keep creating and making music together.