Orillia’s Ayden Miller and his alternative rock band, New Friends, have found success with their newest song, Ricochet.
Miller, 23, grew up around music and was taught how to play piano by his father, Leigh, a teacher at Uptergrove Public School.
“He had a big influence on me,” Miller said. “He really made me fall in love with music and has inspired me to pursue a career out of it.”
Miller’s music career officially started when he attended Twin Lakes Secondary School and formed the band Aurora Blue with some of his friends.
“We had a lot of fun,” he said. “It didn’t work out, but it took me as far as college.”
In 2018, Miller set off to Fanshawe College in London, where he studied in the music industry arts program. There, he met his current bandmates: Stefan Boulineau, Cole Wilson, Conrad Galecki and Nico Elias.
“We wrote some songs together and decided we were going to form a band,” Miller explained. “We decided we really wanted to go for it, which is when things got serious.”
In 2021, New Friends was signed to its first label by Slaight Music. Miller, the keyboard player and one of the primary songwriters, says the band has never looked back. The band’s latest song, Ricochet, has debuted at No. 35 on iHeart Radio’s Canadian alternative rock music charts.
“It’s really exciting for us,” Miller said. “We aren’t sure where it’s going to take us, to be honest, but it’s been really cool to see its growth.”
While he says the accomplishment is “amazing,” the band is staying humble, and hungry for more success.
“I’m having a lot of fun with the process and trying to be in the moment,” he said. “I’ve grown a lot as a person with this band, which is what I think is more important than the milestones we’ve reached.”
New Friends plans to tour Europe in the spring and Canada in the summer. The band will be in London on Feb. 3 for a special headline show.
“The live shows are what keeps me passionate,” Miller said. “I love the feeling of being on stage and the community around music when a show is going on.”
When he is on stage and he sees fans singing his lyrics, it makes the grind of the music industry worth it to him.
“It’s an honour and a really incredible experience,” he said. “When times are tough, or things aren’t going great with the band or money, I’m always thinking about the next show.”
While Miller dreams of touring the world with his band and selling out venues such as Madison Square Garden, he says New Friends is staying focused on the present.
“We are doing this because we love it,” he said. “We are enjoying the moment and where we are right now, and we will see where this takes us.”
More on the band can be found on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.