No place like home for Factories and Alleyways
When Factories and Alleyways hits the stage on Thursday night at Langley’s Fox and Fiddle, it will be something of a homecoming.
And a family reunion — kind of.
That’s because three of the Vancouver band’s members were raised here — the fourth, in nearby White Rock.
And even though only two of the members are related by blood, there is a family bond that has existed far longer than the band itself, says guitarist Matt Denny-Keys.
“We consider ourselves brothers, whether or not we’re blood.”
Having grown up near one another, dated one another’s family members and spent Christmas and Thanksgivings together for years, there’s an extra personal c onnection that transcends four guys playing music together.
“We’ve got that extra personal connection.
“We’re friends, we feel like family and so the music means that much more.”
Factories and Alleyways actually evolved out of an earlier band called Like a Martyr, which also featured Matt, along with Langley’s Jeremy Allingham and their drummer — White Rock’s Alex Glassford.
Like a Martyr, said Matt, was more “quintessentially rock and roll” than this band, which describes itself on its website as “drawing from influences in country, roots, rock, folk and gospel.”
“It’s ‘everybody get in a room, grab a guitar, grab some shakers and sing your heart out,” said Matt.
The other big difference between the the two bands is the addition of a fourth member — Josh Denny-Keys — who just happens to be Matt’s younger brother.
“The fact that my brother is in the band now is important.Even more so, it’s helped the creative process,” said Matt.
“Josh is an amazing musician, he’s amazing at arranging and he plays tons of instruments.”
Actually, that’s something they have in common.
“Instrumentally, we flip around quite a bit. We all sing lead at various times, said Matt, who mostly plays bass and rhythm guitar.
Allingham, meanwhile, can be found on lead guitar, rhythm guitar and percussion, while Josh plays bass and keyboards.
“Everybody’s got their own mood, their own intention, their own style and it melds together into this cohesive unit,” said Matt.
While Josh remains in Langley and studies music at Kwantlen, the other three members, who all support their music habit — and, in some cases, families — with day jobs, relocated to the big city, where they have the best chance of getting on a stage in front of a crowd as often as possible.
Though they’ve toured a bit off the mainland — with shows on Salt Spring Island, Courtenay/Comox and Nanaimo —Factories and Alleyways has generally stuck fairly close to home, playing regularly at the Media Club, Joe’s Apartment and the Railway Club in Vancouver.
“The goal is sort of a balance between getting the music received by people who enjoy it,” said Matt.
“It’s about reaching as many people as possible and balancing that with the internal drive to create pieces of art that we feel strongly about,” he said.
The band last returned to their hometown in January, to perform at the Wired Monk in Murrayville.
“We’ve played restaurants, coffee houses and much bigger rooms,” he said.
But the intimate venues are great for feeling a connection with their audience.
They’ll be looking to make that connection again on Thursday, when Factories and Alleyways kicks off three nights of grand re-opening celebrations at Fox and Fiddle on the Langley Bypass.
The band will bring a blend of “really high energy danceable, country folk stuff, slower story song ballads and everything in between,” said Matt.
There will be some older, familiar pieces and a few that even their most faithful followers probably haven’t heard yet.
“It will be a great opportunity for people to hear a bit of new material,” he said.
“(There will be) lots of energy, lots of fun, lots of connection with the crowd.”
Fox and Fiddle is located at 19530 Langley Bypass.