Parents, like all artists of every discipline, never know what the final result will be when you start the journey.
Your children, the most precious piece of art, more often than not, become something different from where they start or what you envisioned the final result to be.
Growing up in a single parent family, Devin Friesen, the brains behind the solo, guitar-looping project, Bitter Fictions, had no idea what was in store for him in the future. His father, though absent, was supportive of his interests and, since sports was not the desired path he shared, music became the common ground for getting together and spending valuable time with his dad.
Soon after he started music lessons, he discovered that the guitar was the perfect instrument, allowing him the freedom to create and providing a wide range of sounds to be developed and mastered. Friesen spent many hours in the basement of his mom’s home, playing music — or, rather noise — which became the foundation for his improvisational style of playing and writing.
Punk rock was his preferred music in his youth, with groups like Sonic Youth, Rhys Chatham, Glenn Branca, John Fahey, Kevin Shields and Roy Montgomery — all informed by fringe music coming out of New York in the late ‘70s — pushing the boundaries for unconventional songs and instrumentation. In particular, their assaults on the guitar as an instrument would become Friesen’s mainstay during his teen years.
“After studying English at the U of C, and introducing my passion for music, I started to critique music through a position at the University Radio station (CSJW) and writing for FFWD magazine,” says Friesen, sitting down at Caffe Beano. “Being a music reviewer, my standards for my own music became very high and, with limited venues to showcase the improve guitar sounds and writings, exposure has been limited.
“I look at my style as ‘creating sounds, versus making music,’ and playing in front of live audiences with an improv base is the most fun I have.
“In the future, I have an interest in mixing and recording music, both my own (I have at least two LPs’ worth in my library) and other transient music style performers. I would love to travel and play my music, outside Canada, and with the proper financial resources, produce an LP a year [via his own label, Shaking Box Music] might be possible.”
With more current influences by Loren Connors, Richard Youngs, Sarah Lipstate (Noveller) and Alan Licht, I look forward to playing more live shows and getting exposure, increasing the following for my music.
Like all art, Bitter Fictions’ current pallet is a source of pride to his parents and continues to paint a great future.
By P.C. Cochrane
Photos: Greg Doble