The Department of Foreign Affairs
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The Department of Foreign Affairs

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Pop Rock

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jun
25
The Department of Foreign Affairs @ Zaphod's

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Jun
17
The Department of Foreign Affairs @ Poor Alex Cabaret

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Jun
16
The Department of Foreign Affairs @ Catch 22

Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

This band has not uploaded any videos
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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Holy prolific rockers, Batman! Ottawa band The Department Of Foreign Affairs are preparing to release their second album since February with a show at Babylon this Saturday, October 23. The disc is called For Whatever Ails You and guitarist Rob Skitmore says it's more of an accurate representation of the band than their last one, Stories Up High."
While they were waiting for their last album to be mixed, they got to working together on new songs. The songs on Stories Up High were written by lead singer Brennan Pilkington; for the second go-round the whole band worked the songs out as a group. Skitmore says they were so pleased with the result that they couldn't wait to get the new songs recorded.
"We released our record February 28," he says, "then 10 days later we were doing pre-production for the next one. We wanted the best representation of who we were on CD."
Two albums within a year is impressive enough, but Skitmore says The Department Of Foreign Affairs already wants to get going on a third. The band have got somewhere around 20 unrecorded songs. Fans should be content with the new disc though, as the band's coffers aren't very full right now.
"For an indie band to release two records seven months apart is pretty expensive," Skitmore says, "so I think the next one we're going to wait a year and save up some cash."
The Department Of Foreign Affairs plays Babylon October 23 with Readable Ink and Another Blue Door. The 19+ show costs a measly $6.

- Chartattack.com


NOTHING FOREIGN HERE
Dropping two albums in one year is a costly feat for even the best-known of indie artists. For a young band like Ottawa's Department of Foreign Affairs, looking to elbow their way into an increasingly competitive Canadian indie market, it can be a downright brutal attack on the bank account.
"It's been an expensive year," conceded guitarist Rob Skitmore, who wants the band to be financially prepared for a more active touring schedule next year.
"One of the big reasons we wanted to get this out was because it's more up to date with where we are now as a band," singer-guitarist Brennan Pilkington said about the band's debut record, Stories Up High, which took more than a year to record.
"We wrote this record while we were waiting for the last one to be mixed," said Skitmore, adding that DOFA went into pre-production for a new album within 10 days of launching Stories Up High.
On the new record, For Whatever Ails You, the band tones down the heavy guitar sound that influenced their debut album, adding violin, piano, and pedal steel into the arrangements. The direction DOFA has taken had as much to do with becoming a more cohesive song-writing unit as gauging where they wanted to position themselves in the greater scheme of things.
"It's like the first season of a TV program," says Pilkington. "The first season is about getting it out there and gaining an audience. By the second season, it's more fine-tuned. There's more character
development."
Department of Foreign Affairs play Babylon Saturday, October 23 with Another Blue Door and Readable Ink. $6.
- Ottawa Express


Department Of Foreign Affairs Stories Up High (Popjack Records) Formed from the ashes of two dearly departed Ottawa bands (The Pop Shove Its, Paperjack), Department Of Foreign Affairs’ debut album is a concise, 10–song affair, heavy on the up–tempo pop–rock with harmonies aplenty, and catchy melodies tastefully wrought. Friends, if the world were a fair and honest place, “Guilty Pleasure” would be a sure–fire smash hit — a great melodic rocker with harmonies somewhere between The Byrds and The Band. “Highway Robbery” is a pop stomper in the New Pornographers mould, while the straight–ahead “Damage Control” brings plenty of rawk power. Even when the band slows down they don’t lose a step, particularly on the nicely crafted ballad “Only A Matter Of Time.” And the one–two album–opening salvo of “The Drummer’s Always Right” and “A Murder Of Dudes” prove that Department Of Foreign Affairs’ taste in song titles is as acute as their songwriting talent. A promising debut that deserves to be heard. [NM] - Echo Weekly


Guitarist Rob Skitmore refers to Stories Up High, the full-length release from The Department of Foreign Affairs, as “a good starter record.”
He’s being modest, of course. Over the course of 10 songs, DoFA accompany listeners on a rawky ride of full-on power chords tempered by the sweetest of melodies and harmonies.
But even when the quartet allows its softer side to show, as in the beautiful Only a Matter of Time, the amps are on 11. And given the present climate of pop vs. arena rock, there is no better place to start.
The Album, recorded in Toronto at Blue Rodeo’s Woodshed but given “the Midas touch” by Marty Jones at Sound of One Hand, is an impressive start.
But if Skitmore seems to be downplaying its value, it is fair to say this is only the beginning for DoFA. Skitmore and fellow Pop Shove It vet Kosta McKay (drums) formed the band with Paperjack alumni Brennan Pilkington (guitar/vocals) and Chris Teasdale (bass) barely a year ago, and have to date played but a dozen shows.
Besides, the album contains only songs written by the prolific Pilkington. Since its completion last summer, the band’s other members have have added their voices to the formidable DoFA song catalogue.
“The way it’s turning now,” Skitmore explains, “the next album will have tunes from each of us. The majority of them are still going to be Brennan’s, but we’re all taking much more of a hand in writing and arranging. Now everyone’s bringing his own tunes to the table; so we’ve got this multi-songwriter thing starting to evolve. The options are becoming pretty endless.”
Having members who have mastered a number of instruments helps in that regard. Pilkington, for instance, a drummer in his former life, has recently been spending most of his time behind his Fender Rhodes piano. “It is,” McKay notes, “a really nice dynamic shift for our whole repertoire.”
But then so is the presence of strings in The Small Print, the ballad that wraps up Stories Up High in style.
“It’s pretty cheeky for us to end of our first record with this big string arrangement,” Skitmore concedes. “But we’re happy with the way it turned out.”
Besides, this is only the beginning.
- Ottawa Sun- Feb 26th 2004 by Allan Wigney


“On the new record, For Whatever Ails You, the band tones down the heavy guitar sound that influenced their debut album, adding violin, piano, and pedal steel into the arrangements. The direction DOFA has taken had as much to do with becoming a more cohesive song-writing unit as gauging where they wanted to position themselves in the greater scheme of things.” Jen Tattersall, Ottawa Express Oct 21st, 2004
“Two albums within a year is impressive enough, but Skitmore says The Department Of Foreign Affairs already wants to get going on a third. The band have got somewhere around 20 unrecorded songs.” Jason Hailman, Ottawa Buzz, www.chartattack.com Oct 22nd, 2004
“The Deftness of the production and piano/violin layers give the darker tales a fitting mood that’s not lost on the listener. Their slower songs are to get lost in, while they shine best with their big ballads”. Fateema Sayani, Ottawa Citizen Oct 23rd, 2004
“The Department of Foreign Affairs’ second release this year, the follow-up to their debut album Stories Up High, shows a matured sense of songwriting that’s heartfelt and poetic without reverting to cliché”. Fateema Sayani, Ottawa Citizen Oct 23rd, 2004
“ It seems easy, especially when two of your band members—Skitmore and Pilkington—are song machines who turn the knife on their experiences with ease. The pair share guitar, vocal and songwriting duties on the new album. Drummer Kosta McKay and Bassist Chris Teasdale fill out the country-rock collection of jeepers and weepers.” Fateema Sayani Ottawa Citizen Oct 21st, 2004
“Department Of Foreign Affairs’ debut album is a concise, 10–song affair, heavy on the up–tempo pop–rock with harmonies aplenty, and catchy melodies tastefully wrought. Friends, if the world were a fair and honest place, “Guilty Pleasure” would be a sure–fire smash hit — a great melodic rocker with harmonies somewhere between The Byrds and The Band.” Neil MacDonald Echo Weekly, Kitchener-Waterloo Vol. 7 No. 32 • may6-may12 2004
“…the one–two album–opening salvo of “The Drummer’s Always Right” and “A Murder Of Dudes” prove that Department Of Foreign Affairs’ taste in song titles is as acute as their songwriting talent. A promising debut that deserves to be heard.” Neil MacDonald Echo Weekly, Kitchener-Waterloo Vol. 7 No. 32 • may6-may12 2004
“Over the course of 10 songs, DoFA accompany listeners on a rawky ride of full-on power chords tempered by the sweetest of melodies and harmonies.
But even when the quartet allows its softer side to show, as in the beautiful Only a Matter of Time, the amps are on 11. And given the present climate of pop vs. arena rock, there is no better place to start.
The Album, recorded in Toronto at Blue Rodeo’s Woodshed but given “the Midas touch” by Marty Jones at Sound of One Hand, is an impressive start.” Allan Wigney Ottawa Sun Feb 25th, 2004

“Although Pilkington wrote all the songs on Stories Up High, he says the formidable talent of all four members has gelled into a cohesive, creative unit.
With such high-powered talent in the lineup, it’s no surprise that Stories Up High boasts bright, excellent melodic rock-songs like Inside Information, All I Never Wanted, The Drummer’s Always Right and Murder of Dudes.” Wes Smiderle Ottawa Citizen Feb 27th, 2004
- Various\2004


Discography

Stories Up High- Full length Album Released Feb.2004
For Whatever Ails You-Full Length Album Released Oct 2004.
Airplay on College Radio throughout Canada

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

The Department of Foreign Affairs is a band that is continually out to expand its pop sensibilities drawing from and moving into such other styles as roots, country, jazz and rock. Heavy on the melody and coloured with lush three part harmonies, what started out as a four piece guitar rock band, DOFA has now added piano and slide guitars and other roots based instruments into the fold enabling them to shift their sound into many different directions as they please.
WIth two albums released in a year, Stories Up High( Winter '04), and For Whatever Ails You (Fall '04), the band is focused on touring for the oncoming year as well as developing their ever evolving sound with many more live performances, as well as planning for their third release loosely slated to begin recording in August '05. With over 25 new songs lined up for the new album, The Department of Foreign Affairs has their work cut out for them and they are relishing the challenge. They plan for the third album to be a double due to the overwhelmimg amount of new material in their arsenal.