Call & Response: Five Blank Pages

Kind-hearted, indie band Five Blank Pages have been gradually gaining momentum since forming over four years ago (and were featured in blogTO's Toronto Independant Music podcast this weekend!).

Their debut 6-song EP entitled Spaces to Occupy and Abandon was well-received and they are looking to break out with Last Blush, their new full-length record (out October 23 via MapleMusic).

Five Blank Pages will release their record in style this Friday night at the Horseshoe. I spoke with lead singer/guitarist Noyan Hilmi about his band, his family and their exciting, new release.

Continue reading for the complete interview.

blogTO: Where does the name Five Blank Pages come from?

Noyan Hilmi: It's based on a song I wrote that ended up on our first EP. We named the song before we "updated" the band name from "noyz" (a play on my name which was taken as nu-metal one time too many). The song's about being so fed up by being screwed around by someone that you really have nothing left to say to them. You let your silence speak for you.

How would you describe your sound?

I guess we're rooted as an indie-pop band but soaked in colour - and by that I mean that you'll never see us write the same song twice as we like changing gears too much. There's a huge mid-90's Canadian east-coast indie-pop influence as well as Sonic Unyon's artists from that era, excluding Kittens and Shallow, North Dakota - ha! Throw in some Beatles-esque three-part harmonies and you almost have an idea.

What inspires your music and lyrics?

Life is pretty inspirational; going about your day, relationships, hearing stories, and seeing other art. Things you need to tell someone that end up being told in a song 'cause your guitar is there and they aren't.

What are your favourite spots in Toronto?

I personally enjoy most anywhere I'm at in the city aside from the sketched out areas that secretly creep up on you on your way home from a late night show. During nice weathered days I really enjoy walking along Queen Street West and taking in the life, music shops (Capsule Music!), and sometimes a bite somewhere interesting.

You seem to be one of the most popular local bands amongst other bands. What makes you folks so likeable?

Ha! Are we likeable? That's nice of you to say. We tend to get along with most everyone we meet for some reason. I guess we're respectful of other people and it comes back to you. Maybe our music is inviting and makes people feel comfortable? You tell me, Gary - you tell me!

Your wife and sister are in the band. That's a pretty unique situation. How do you make it work?

I really don't know of any other way it can work to tell you the truth. The three of us have never been in other bands where we had to get along with people we're not super close with already. And Rajiv doesn't count cause he's our little brother now. I can't even remember not knowing him this well.

What was it like working with Jos? Contreras? What can people expect from your record?

We've worked really hard to "hone" these songs while things in our lives kept us from the studio for 3 years. Working with Jose was lots of fun- he totally let us into his home. We played with his beautiful baby boy - we had a lot of laughs. He's got a great sense of vibe and energy that comes through on the record. We recorded drums, bass, most guitars and most keyboards live off the floor so there's a definite feel to this record. Lots of reality, which is missed sometimes when we listen to records. The songs are each their own - no two are alike and are all special to the point that it was tough to sequence, but not too tough as I see most records as a story...

Why is the new record called Last Blush?

We wanted to describe that moment in time that people never notice - that instant when the butterflies disappear, when a certain haze of love lifts, when the blush doesn't appear on your cheek when you see that special someone. The first time that happens is kinda sad.

What are we in for at your CD release show this weekend?

We are pulling out all the stops. In addition to returning The Horseshoe Tavern, which is our favourite venue to perform at in Toronto and where we first started out, we've asked our friends to join us on cello, violin, trombone and trumpet to make this performance a one time only thing. We'll have the new CD of course, new shirts and other merch as well as a limited poster. We're ready to celebrate - we've been waiting 3 years for this show!

Five Blank Pages Record Release Party
Friday October 19, 9pm
Horseshoe Tavern
w/ Tin Bangs, Infighter and Elephant

Call & Response is a weekly series of Q&A's with bands from or playing in Toronto.

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