Friendly Giants move gracefully between genres with their haunting new single and video Dancing By Myself — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
On the Slocan Valley, B.C. musical collective’s compelling and hypnotic cut, vocalist Amy Heasman leads the vocal track with a dark, haunting call to a past lover or friend. “What do you see when you look inside me?,” she croons. “What do you feel when you brush up beside me? Why can’t you know if you can dance by my side? I’m not a muse for your own gain. I’m not a fool to play your games.”
The revenge saga crescendos into a brooding synth wonderland full of hollow bass drumbeats and consistent hi-hat hits. Barry Jones’ trumpet licks mesh with Heasman’s questions throughout, until the title comes into the spotlight: “I’m dancing by myself,” Heasman exclaims while Jones trills through a trumpet melody, pungently trilling under the pensive refrain.
Although Heasman contributes her evocative lyrics to Dancing By Myself, multi-instrumentalist John Wittmayer conceived the tune. “I had the initial idea and music for Dancing By Myself. I was awkwardly trying to learn Cubase 10 during the long dark winter months of the Great Covid Lockdown. I was exploring electronica and beats and worked at composing semi-organic melodic statements accompanied by hypnotic beats on a computer,” he said.
Once Heasman penned the perfect lyrics for the tune, bandmates Shawn Fisher and Jones took to production, and Wittmayer recorded his “delicious, dirty guitar riffs.” In the end, the single elicits a “gypsy influenced-polyrhythmic Moroccan groove, with a powerful homage to a Bulgarian-sounding women’s choir.”
That cross-cultural approach is nothing new for Friendly Giants, who pride themselves on running an open and non-judgmental environment where each member can pitch their ideas. “Our musical collaboration allows room that no idea is not worth exploring. We try it out, and if it sticks, we all embrace it. So far, so good,” Wittmayer said.
Friendly Giants boomed to life during lockdown in 2020, when Wittmayer and Fisher met and workshopped each other’s songs. As bands do, they added more talent to their collective, adding Jones, Heasman, James Stephan and Holly Schweitzer. Trevor Yost incorporates drums into some of their discography. Each member lends their respective talent, be it Fisher on violin, Jones on trumpet, or Wittmayer on vocals.
“The sum of our parts creates music that we all identify with, and this sharing is what thrills us to keep creating,” Wittmayer says. “The band is endlessly inspired by the Slocan Valley’s lively artistic communities and their surrounding landscape where music brings people together.”
Watch the video for Dancing By Myself above, sample more music from Friendly Giants below, and follow them on Instagram.