Band chemistry is a very elusive thing. It can’t be scripted or created from a focus group — it’s just there. When it is as electric and positive as in From Other Planes, you just sense it’ll lead to great things. That impression lingers with this scribe after a chat with all five members of this new Toronto-based modern rock band. It’s one that’s shared by others coming into contact with From Other Planes, as we soon discover.
During our interview in the large studio space that’s become the group’s second home, studio owner Dave Beatty drops in. Unaware of the tape rolling, he’s bubbling with enthusiasm: “You guys were so fantastic yesterday, I’m so excited.” He then explains, “I was with [concert promoters] C.P.I. for 10 years. I’ve seen a million bands, every big act up close, and these guys have got what it takes. They have all the raw elements.”
FOP lead singer Maic Oz recalls, “Even yesterday the photographer said to us, ‘You guys have been working on looking for a band a long time.’ ”Not in any contrived way, however. This is not a group of novices, dipping their feet in the rock ’n’ roll pool for the first time. They’re all scene veterans, in both Toronto and in the former Rome base of Oz and long-time creative collaborator, guitarist Alex Hugo. That experience means they all know how rare such a positive inner band dynamic is, and they’re determined not to let the opportunity pass.
“This is a very fate-ful group,” reflects Maic. “We’re not superstitious, but we are deeply aware of this being a magical moment, where all our forces are being pulled together to make this happen.” Alex concurs: “This is a new project given to us by meeting these people in different ways,” he says. “Between all these coincidences, this is fate.”The sense of FOP being a real band, in the fullest sense, is what separates it from earlier Oz/Hugo collaborations, such as previous group Bless. “That was just a project with me and Alex, and other substitute people coming in and out of the studio in Rome and then back in Toronto,” explains Oz. “They were hired guns, but From Other Planes is a real band. Apart from playing together we’ve become really good friends. It looks so fruitful; we’re more focused in other areas of our lives too. Here, there’s no one telling everybody else what to do. Everybody puts in his own.