Onlyforward seems to be moving in the direction their name suggests since the band's inception but not without a few bumps in the road; frontman Dave Martel says, "it's a lot harder than I thought it would be."
Martel's realization comes after he and band mates guitarist Jesse Suav», drummer Yanik Frenette and bassist Ian Yule wrapped up a tour behind their debut album Everything's Perfect which was everything but perfect, "it was an intense, miserable experience," Martel says.
Their tour began with van problems and disappearing property moments before show time, it continued with inclement weather causing near accidents on icy roads forcing show cancellations dates in the Prairies that featured only Martel due to financial restraints. It ended much like it began with a tour van break in and stolen property moments before show time.
On top of the band's slowly diminishing financial situation the ill fated tour began to make the members of onlyforward question their decision to stay in a band, "it gave us lots to think about÷ I have a really realistic view of what this is going to take now." Martel says, "We all want to keep going."
All of them except bassist Ian Yule, who decided after the tour that he, is going to take some time to concentrate on family. Though Martel says that Yule's departure was amicable he admits that the band is now incomplete.
The band hopes to find a new bassist before their upcoming shows in May at Pitch and Praise. Onlyforward will play and lead worship at the Christian music festival that draws in thousands of youth from all over Ontario.
Though Martel says he's excited about performing at the festival he admits that he didn't always like to be labeled a Christian band, "at first I was adamant that we were not a Christian band", Martel says. But his reluctance wasn't because he or his other band members were shy about their faith but because he didn't want the band to be pigeonholed, "It's not my style to label people" but he says "It seems that everyone needs everything to be labeled, they want to be able to put you somewhere," and Martel says he felt that labeling the band may shut them off to some audiences.
But as the main songwriter Martel knew that many of his songs mirrored how he saw life through his faith, and that without the label, it almost seemed like he was avoiding his faith, "in my own quiet time when I'm trying to talk to God I realized that he doesn't like that".
Coming to terms with both their Christian and secular audiences onlyforward enjoys playing shows in both churches and clubs admitting that the change in atmosphere keeps them on their toes, "you don't talk to a room full of Christians the way you do to a club." Martel jokes.
But once the band finds a new bassist, touring probably won't be a priority until they put together some new material, which Martel admits isn't coming to easily for him right now after all the band has been through, "I have to figure out a way to get back into a creative place."
Though the band was proud of the simple pop rock melodies on Everything's Perfect when they released, Martel said he now knows it's time for something new. He hopes that with a new bassist that a new vibe will form naturally for the band; bring in some new instruments, a new bassist, and maybe another new member? Martel mentioned a female pianist that he has been performing with recently may become a more permanent member of the group, "I love performing with her," he says.
But Martel promises that despite the hardships that onlyforward will be back, "I don't picture myself doing anything else÷ There will be a new record, as long as we have a band." Remaining excited about the prospects of what a new record with a new sound will hold he knows his band won't be moving backwards, only forward.
For more information visit: www.onlyforward.ca
Writer: Michelle Garcia