Fleece talks third album, queer representation

By Carolina Garibay

Since he was a kid, Matt Rogers had wanted to be a musician, he said.

“It’s one of the only things that comes really naturally to me and makes me feel really good, and I like making other people feel good by playing,” Rogers said.

For Megan Ennenberg, music was a staple of her childhood. She said her mom brought music into the house all the time.

“I always knew that I was going to be a musician in some capacity just because it was always an escapable thing,” Ennenberg said.

And for Ethan Soil, there weren’t many other options, he said.

“I always knew,” he said. “There was no other choice. I wasn’t good at anything else, and I’m definitely a throw all your eggs in one basket kind of person.”

A lot of people have big goals when they’re kids, but Rogers, Ennenberg and Soil now get to live out their dreams of being musicians. Rogers, Ennenberg, Soil and their bandmate Jameson Daniel make up the band Fleece. They’re all from Canada, Ennenberg from East Bend, Daniel from Victoria and Soil and Rogers from the same neighborhood in Toronto.

Fleece used to be a band of five guys in 2015, including Rogers and Soil, but when two of the members left, Ennenberg and Daniel came in. Rogers said that the addition of new members also came with a new type of vibe.

“It became much more of a community family kind of thing, the band, and we’re like this support network for each other,” Rogers said.

He said they started to collaborate more on writing music, which led them to who they are today, though they’re all in agreement that that identity isn’t really defined. Ennenberg says they don’t really have a fixed genre and focus more on making music they want to make.

“We’re not trying to emulate any other genre,” she said. “We’re borrowing from everything that we like and just playing sounds that we enjoy.”

Soil added that Fleece’s sound could be considered rock, but not what most people would consider to be rock by this year’s definition.

“We’re not rock by 2021 standard, even though when I think of rock music, it’s definitely what we’re doing,” Soil said.

Rogers said that he’d describe their music as songs you can blast in the car, which was inspired by the band’s own experiences playing music when they were on the road touring. He said that influence is especially present on the band’s third album, “Stunning and Atrocious,” which came out Friday.

Rogers said that this album is more collaborative than the last and helped Fleece nail down their music-making process and foster chemistry between the group as well as solidify the band’s sound.

“We want people to listen to the album and be like, ‘Oh, yeah, this is Fleece.’ And I think we really nailed that on this record,” Rogers said.

This album, like the past ones, touches on the idea of self-betterment and honesty, said Rogers and Ennenberg. These themes naturally make their way into Fleece’s music and shows who the band was at the times they wrote each song, Ennenberg said.

“Oftentimes, I see it happen where we’ll be having a conversation before we get to the rehearsal space, where we write music, and we’ll be talking about something that’s going on in our lives or exploring different ideas, and then somehow, those ideas will maybe speak into the music,” Ennenberg said.

Something else that always comes up lyrically in Fleece’s music is queerness, said Rogers. He said telling stories of queerness is really important to him and the band.

“We’re kind of on the gender spectrum somewhere else, and just our vibe, I feel like is like, it’s queer. And I think queer in the sense of, you know, we have the intersectionality of sexuality and gender, but I also think we’re just queer in that we’re weird and we’re authentic,” Rogers said.

Ennenberg added that it was important to the band to be welcoming and inclusive of everyone.

“We just are excited for everybody to feel like they can be involved in our project and to find something of themselves and what we make and just to feel like they’re welcome, no matter who you are, or how you identify in any range,” Ennenberg said.

Besides the new album, the band also said they’re excited about their North American tour this fall. Since they weren’t able to perform live for almost two years, they said they’re more than ready to be back on stage this fall.

“The feeling of being on stage with each other is unlike any other honestly,” Ennenberg said. “We think about this all the time and finally, we’re doing it and to be able to do that every night is pretty exhilarating.”