The Rise of Fallen Heirs

Photo credits: UPtrack Media & Uncle D

Fallen Heirs has been on a steady trajectory since they first started playing together a half-decade ago. After some humble beginnings, the band has become the go-to opening band for hard rockers like Lita Ford, Sebsatian Bach, Buckcherry and more. Along with a string of EPs the band have moved to more acoustic grounds on their latest single as they find their way to their first LP. We caught up with guitarist Jay Sayne ahead of the band's show on May 5 at Mavericks to talk about their newfound spirit and some chance connections.

Ottawa Life: How did Fallen Heirs first come together and what made things feel tight enough to pursue the project?

Jay Sayne: So the band has been around for about six years. Tim, Phily and myself have been there since day one. We started as a five-piece based out of Toronto and we came together through online ads at first. I'd been following Tim's band at the time, and we got together with a couple other people and started playing. Six weeks into that process, we started to see that there was something there and we began recording music. We were doing really well, and then after a few years we started trimming that fat with goals and members. Over the last four years we have solidified the lineup and the energy within the room is really special, which is why the band has grown into what it is. Ryan was in one of my favourite bands so we're really excited to make more music with him too.

What led you towards the more acoustic energy of "Brave Will Fly" and are you hoping to explore that more?

We had just come off of an eight or nine day tour together, and we wanted to go back to our roots for jamming. We came to a conclusion that we wanted to focus on a bunch of acoustic material and see what came from that. We had always focused on the hard rock side of things, and we'd always thought of ourselves as melodic. When we came in we had a few of these great acoustic songs, but we didn't want to do an EP for it. We decided to put it out as a single, and have Ryan shoot the video, so it was a nice transition when he came over on that.

What did Andre Doucette bring to the song?

Andre has been a fantastic friend of the band since day one, he's really like family. He recorded the first song we ever did, and Andre was a part of our journey to London in 2014. He's been a friend of the band ever since, whether it be production or just bouncing ideas on. He just puts a great spin on whatever we're doing and his aura is just fantastic for what we're doing. He has a great ability to see things from the outside and help bands get through their music.

What other material have you been working on since the last EP, and is an album in the works?

Since Ryan has come on, we've sat down and started combing through a bunch of different ideas for things we wanted to do. We wanted to bring the best possible product forward, we wanted to move forward sonically and mentally as a band to get to the next level. That's brought us some tremendous songs over the past couple months, audiences will be hearing some of them on the new tour. When I hear these songs, I can hear the energy from the band and know that we found what really works.

How did you end up opening for Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots), and what was your reaction finding out you were his last opening band?

I get chills still talking about it and thinking about what happened. When I was a kid, Scott Weiland was one of my top frontmen of all time, and I loved Velvet Revolver and Stone Temple Pilots. I was talking with this local promoter, and we worked out a deal to be the supporting band. Ryan was actually working photography at the time, so he shot photos of us that night. We met Scott at sound check, and everybody had a feeling that something was a little off, he wasn't in the best shape. For us to be a part of that show, he still totally killed it. It hurt my heart two days later to learn that he passed away, I remember sitting with Ryan and crying when heard about it. We had so many people reaching out to us for interviews about what happened and we didn't want to capitalize on it. We loved Scott, he was one of the most charismatic frontmen, and it was a blessing to share the stage with him. 

How did you get licensed for Don Cherry's Rock 'em Sock 'em and was it surreal to be featured?

I've always been a massive hockey fan, I've played my whole life and I love Don Cherry. We had cut a single with Mike Langford, and it had this electronic sound to it that was kind of different. It caught the ear of some people and it ended up on Don Cherry's son's door, and the producers were really emphatic about getting it on the video.

What's a typical Fallen Heirs live show like, if typical is even the right word?

Action-packed. We've done a close job preparing these sets, and we've gone out of our way to make sure there's a few surprises. We've been locked in a room like caged animals for too long so it's time to release the animals.