Alexisonfire are no stranger to the music industry. After 8 successful years they are still redefining genres and pushing boundaries. Having just returned from a summer of festivals and promoting the latest release 'Old Crows/Young Cardinals' It is still no doubt that Alexisonfire are still an unstoppable force with a fantastic live show. We caught up with Chris Steele (bass) to find out more.
So tonight is the last date of the UK leg of the Eastpak tour. Hows it all been going so far?
Chris: It's been absolutely unbelievable. We're just so excited to be with the other 3 bands on the tour The Ghost of A Thousand, Four Year Strong and Anti-Flag. Just a great touring package really. We find with the UK the crowds are so receptive and so open to different kinds of music, every band has just been rocking every night, it's been great.
How is it playing venues again now that the festival season has come to an end?
Chris: It feels great. All summer long we did the Vans Warped Tour in America which was really fun, I think we did something crazy like 56 shows with a couple of Canadian dates thrown in there. After that we came over and did Reading and Leeds which was great and we continued to do some more outdoor festivals throughout September in Canada. We've just been waiting for so long to be indoors with a closer,more intimate crowd. Also playing on a scheduled time to is great as on Warped you never know when you're gonna be on.
The new CD Old Crows/Young Cardinals has recently been released. I've noticed it has much more energy and almost a completely different approach.Was the new direction deliberate or more of a natural progression?
Chris: It definately just kinda happened at a set time. Usually we're on the road for about 9 months at a time and the bands been together for just over 8 years. For most of that time we've just been out on the road, take some time out over Christmas, write a record in January with some ideas we've came up with on the road and record in february, back out in March. This time we took a better part of almost upto a year and we just sat back relaxed a little bit more and did a lot more pre production. We just matured more as a band. Every record is Alexis and you can still tell its Alexis. We don't want to recycle and do the same record twice in a row.
Definately. One change I noticed was an improvement in George's vocals this time round too.
Chris: Yeah, It's something a little new but still Alexis, we still have the balance of Dallas singing. We just wanted to write a straight forward rocking record that we would like to portray in a live atmosphere. We want to play every one of these songs live.
Has the writing process changed since when you first started writing?
Chris: Yeah it has quite drastically. When we first started with our first record we didnt have a direction. We all came from different backgrounds. Some more punk rock some and others more metal for instance. We then just molded to this outfit that we are now. So when we started we just writing songs but not really with a direction a lot of Dallas and Wade going 'Look at what I can do on guitar!' It was uncool to repeat a chorus or even have a chorus at that point. [laughs] It was just a bunch of pieces like melded together to create what we thought were songs. We still play a few of them live today but we've just kinda moved on and matured and found it's ok to have a chorus and repeat it again too!
Your new video for 'Young Cardinals' was filmed on the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls. How did this come about?
Chris: It was really funny actually, before the album or any of the songs were written Dallas had this idea to shoot a video at Maid of the Mist which is really close to home for us. If you've seen a few of our videos before, we take our music writing seriously but we're not a serious band, we like to throw some fun into the loop. It was going to be more of a joke at first, if your from around that area everyone goes to the Maid of the Mist for their Grade 8 school trip, its kinda like a like honeymoon capital of the world. So first it really kinda seemed like ajoke but it was a beautiful day so we just decided to go for it and it was a blast.
As you tour pretty much constantly do you find it takes its toll on any relationships you may have at home?
Chris: Not really, no. I mean, you definately need to have a balance. Everyone that we're close to are 100% supportive of us and its always been that way from the get go and we just try to make the best of it really.
Do you get your family checking up on you on the road?
Chris: Oh yeah man absolutely; Jacqueline Steele number 1 fan! she came a few times and does little road trips. I know for sure she'd love to out with us right now, specially when we go across Europe. Just picture Detriot Warped Tour with Father Steele sitting on his recliner watching the show, and Mother Steele out in the pit mixing it up. [laughs]
The new EP out soon called Dogs Blood. Although its early days is there anything you can tell us about the release?
Chris: It's a little bit confidential at the moment but when we did record our last full length [Old Crows/Young Cardinals] out in Vancouver we were there for a set amount of time. We actually recorded the CD live so we just banged them out really quick and since we had a lot more pre production we were just on top of our game. But we recorded actually 17 songs and obviously they're 11 on the record. We have a couple of b-sides that we have right now and we have written a couple of heavy tunes just on this tour like in soundchecks. We can't wait to get it out there though!
Although Silversteinhave been around for some time, they have always been at the forefront of the Candian music scene. Combine an extremely loyal fanbase and their best work to date "A Shipwreck In The Sand" and you get one of the most exciting bands in the scene to date. I caught up with Shane on their recent UK tour with The Blackout and The Urgency.
How has the tour been going so far?
Shane: So far so good, this is the first time Iíve seen the sun since Iíve been in the UK so far so Iím pretty happy! This tours been cool because the guys in The Urgency and The Blackout are really down to earth. Weíve been going out to a lot of bars partying quite a bit. I met The Blackout before from doing some festivals in the past but itís been cool making friends with The Urgency who are really nice guys.
Youíve toured around the UK numerous times. Out of all the places in England youíve played so far which is your favourite and why?
Shane: Probably Yeovil so far. The smaller cities where they donít have as many shows, they have more hunger for the few that make their way over there you know? It seems to me that the smaller ones are always the craziest.
Favourite past time on tour?
Shane: I like listening to music and reading. I bought the new Eminem CD recently, which is a bit weird, not my favourite but it always takes me a few listens. I bought the new NOFX and Propaghandhi records too which I love. I watch a lot of TV too. Nothing too crazy really.
The new record ĎA Shipwreck In The Sandí was released on March 31. Are you happy with how well the CD has been received?
Shane: Totally happy. Iíve never been happier with it than any other musical project that I have been a part of. I havenít actually heard a single piece of negative feedback at all. Everyoneís been so positive and people have been so excited about the record.
Has the new material been going down well live also?
Shane: Absolutely, live itís going down great. Itís tough now because we have so many songs itís getting harder to pick songs for the set, especially as weíre supporting this time round.
If you could tour with any band who would it be and why?
Shane: Thatís a tough one because as a fan thereís bands iíd like to go on tour with, but as far as being in a band goes, those are different. Iíd love to go on tour with NOFX and Propaghandhi, but as a band Itíd be really cool to tour with My Chemical Romance.
Do you enjoy festivals as you get to play with bands that you may not get to tour with usually?
Shane: Yeah, I enjoy festivals. I'd have to say Warped Tour is my favourite. After a week of it everybody knows each other so you have that sense of comradity, rather than a one day festival for instance. Weíre heading out for a couple of weeks for Warped this summer which will be cool. The Blackout will be there too so itís going to be great.
Plans for the summer?
Shane: Weíre going to do a short run of the mid west of the United States. We are going to play a lot of places that we didnít get to play to on the last tour. Also going to do some shows in Canada where we are from. Aside from touring weíre going to have some time off this summer which will be nice.
As far as the Canadian music scene is considered, are you proud of the scene as a whole?
Shane: It is most definitely a striving scene but it used to be better. Iím not sure whether the internet is to blame but people arenít going to many as they were which a shame. However I am really proud of where I come from and the bands that come out of the scene. One of my favourites is Lights who sung on our new record.
You currently have your own record label Verona Records. Any bands to recommend?
Shane: Theres a band called I Am Committing A Sin, from my hometown. Theyíre a very talented band plus they got a new EP coming out in a couple of weeks, so you should definitely pick that up.