Every time the Secretaries get together the outcome is impossible to predict.
“The funny thing is that our shows are often few and far between and we’ll forget how we used to play (the songs),” said singer and bassist Colleen Brown. “Suddenly we decide they fit differently or we have really just forgotten what we were doing ... it will never be exactly as it was before.”
The Edmonton-based psychedelic garage rock group, composed of Brown, guitarist Amy van Keeken and drummer Natasha Fryzuk, is making one of its rare appearances at The Root: Community Emporium on Aug. 7. The band will be joined by Darren Radbourne and Greg Hutchinson of the Edmonton horn duo the Brassholes.
The Secretaries don’t record or perform often because the members see the group as side-project, what Brown describes as a sort of “creative relief” - an opportunity to hang out with friends and let the uninhibited creativity flow without worrying about commercial viability.
“In the early days of the Secretaries there was really a lot of talk about what our image was and how we wanted to look onstage and what our logo would be like or how we were going to get people involved in our shows, but it was never really about that. It’s always just been about having fun,” Brown said.
“I think the Secretaries bring more people in in an organic way ... it’s always a fun project and it’s always for the love and I do think that when you are making something out of love people sense that and they’re drawn to it.”
Brown says she has at times cared too much about her image and what people thought of her. She’s only recently come to a place where she doesn’t care as much about how she is perceived by others, allowing her to create music she finds more personally satisfying.
“You have to take care of yourself in order to be able to give freely without ego, without making a martyr of yourself. The goal being just like in the airline safety instructions: when you lose oxygen, you put your own facemask on first before you help other people,” she said.
“I think I have come to that place a few times as well as an artist where I started to forget what I loved about music and performance because I was trying too hard to give people what I thought they would want.”
Brown is originally from Lloydminster and has lived in Edmonton for the last 15 years. She says when she was growing up there weren’t as many opportunities to see live music in town.
“One of the things that’s exciting to me about playing in Lloyd now is that people are used to the fact that there are live performances that you can go out and see,” she said.
“Even if they don’t know the band they might just come out because it’s fun to be around other human beings and enjoy music in a live setting. There’s something about the energy of that is really beautiful.”