When Alexisonfire were touring across Canada on their current headlining tour, I got to meet up with their guitarist Wade MacNeil for an interview:
You guys are finally headlining Canada again. How’s that been going?
We’ve been missing the snow which is a really nice thing. We’ve definitely done tours at this time of the year before and it’s always good. When you’re playing a show in a place like Winnipeg it doesn’t matter if there’s two feet of snow outside, people are still going to come to the show because it’s what they’re used to. I think that’s the same in Ontario and everywhere, but it does make it a little harder. We got stuck in Golden, British Columbia for a few days once and the last day of our tour was cancelled in Toronto. We’ve toured with both of these bands before and they’re really great bands so I don’t know, we’re really stoked to be here.
Yeah, it’s been almost exactly three years since you headlined here in December 2007. I’m assuming this is the last tour again before you head into the studio?
Yeah for sure. This is definitely the last tour for this record. We’re ending it with a show we just announced in St Catharines. It will be nice to play a hometown show and then take some time off which I think is deserved. We spent the better part of the last two years away. And then start writing a new record.
Moving onto Dog’s Blood, it seems like in previous interviews you’ve been saying that those songs would never make it on a full length.
Yeah, well the last track “Vex” is a b-side to Old Crows and it just didn’t seem to fit and it ended up being this instrumental song that we liked, but didn’t think fit in with the scheme of the record. And then Dallas and I each had fast stuff written and we thought it could just be an EP based around those kind of ideas. We’d do two really fast songs and two slower ones. And I think by doing those tracks as an EP and not a full length, we didn’t really scrutinize the songs as much. That’s why some of them are a bit longer and I think if we had practiced them longer and kept working at them longer, they would have changed. Just simply saying ‘We’re going to do an EP’ made them sound the way they did.
You just released a 7-inch with Black Lungs too.
Yeah, with this Vancouver label called Deranged. We did like 500 copies of it, I want to do a new record when I get home and do some touring on it too. Jordan our drummer just recorded a new record with his hardcore band Hunter, it’s like him and the guys from Moneen. And Dallas is going to have a new record too with City and Colour so there’s a lot of new music coming next year. And then we want to get working on a new record somewhere in there too.
You just put your Aussie Tour 7-inch on iTunes.
Yeah, I’m really surprised with the Midnight Oil cover, it’s being picked up by a lot of radio stations here in Canada. It was a small run of test presses, but the interest was there so that’s why we put it up. Similarily with Dog’s Blood, we just wanted to record it and put it out for the shows on this tour, but it’s turned into a lot bigger deal than we anticipated so that’s cool.
What songs would you do if you did a Canadian EP like that?
Maybe “Picture my Face” by Teenage Head and a Pointed Sticks song most likely.
2011 will be the 10 year anniversary of Alexisonfire, right?
Yeah, it’s cool, but it’s strange too, you know? We had a bunch of people come and check out the sound check, people who were going to be going to the show and one girl had this picture of George with her that must have been almost 10 years old. It was mind blowing, it was like he was wearing this Black Cross shirt, which probably means we just signed to Equal Vision. Because I know when we signed there we got to go by and steal a bunch of records and shirts and stuff like that. It was weird, it was like looking at a high school yearbook.
Will you have anything planned to celebrate?
Yeah, we’ll try and do something special and do some releases around the actual 10th anniversary mark. We’ve had a photographer out with us on the tours documenting everything and hopefully that will become a tour book and we’ll put that out and some other stuff while we’re working on the new record.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve seen change in the music industry over the last 10 years?
I think one of the things is touring, it’s become different for a lot of bands. It hasn’t become that different for us because we’ve spent our lives out on the road because we think that’s the point of playing in a band, to play in front of people. But there’s a lot of bands that were able to sell enough records to not really tour and because the music industry is like caving in on itself, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s kind of forced those bands to come out of hiatus and start touring again. Touring is different, there’s a lot more bands on the road right now and shows for everybody are a little bit smaller. It’s weird, we’ll be chasing these tours where we know every band on the tour and we know we’re all kind of fucking up each other’s shows by touring at the same time. But it’s just kind of the way it is. Being in the same city with five other bands you know.
Lastly, I kind of hate bringing it up, but a lot of the press you’ve done for this tour keeps on bringing up the word “screamo” as the central theme to the story.
Yeah, they like to do that. I think people always want to pin bands down and I don’t know. I think this band has always been all over the place because we all look at music differently. George and I were really focused on the early screamo records and trying to be a screamo band when we started, but Dallas didn’t know a thing about that stuff, he wasn’t into it at all. I don’t think we’ve ever been a really traditional screamo band or hardcore band or whatever you know? It’s weird that we talk about it so much. I think the main thing is George said he wanted to put a knife into it?
Yeah, a user submitted us that interview as news.
Yeah, George also says he’s in the band Aerosmith to a lot of people so you can’t take everything he says at face value. That’s our go to thing over the years. If anyone ever asks us what band we’re in and we don’t want to talk to them, don’t want to talk to some guy in a gas station, we just say we’re Aerosmith. It leaves them confused and then they get kind of angry sometimes. But either way we’ve walked away by that point.
Any questions you wish people would focus on more?
I don’t know, there’s different things, like we’re talking about the 10th anniversary coming up which is cool. I just don’t think we should answer where we got our band name from anymore. I think we’ve earned that one.