First off, I just want to extend a token of gratitude for taking the time to sit down and answer some questions for us. Now, please state your name and position in Subb.
My pleasure. My name is Mart, and in addition to being a founding member, I am a songwriter and guitarist for Subb.
If you don't object, could you please give our unfamiliar readers a quick history lesson on Subb?
Sure. Subb started back in 1992, but all we kept from the 1992-1994 era is the band name and two members members, Steph and myself. In 1995, Jeff and Nick entered the lineup, and then, in 1996, Matt joined the band. In September 1997, JF replaced Nick. Since then, we have released six CD's (four albums, one split release, and one EP), as well as released three of our four albums in Japan and Europe. We've done 400 shows, which consisted of playing in Canada, Europe, and the United States.
How would you describe the band's sound to an inexperienced listener?
Ok, overall, it's fast punk-rock mixed with ska, reggae and hints of hardcore.
I apologize for reiterating a question you've likely answered more than your fair share of times, but once and for all, can you please explain the meaning behind the name Subb?
When we started back in 1992, Steph came up with a name for our band, which was Society Under Babbling Boobs. However, we thought it was too long, so we called ourselves S.U.B.B. But, when the band split in 1994, we were looking for a band name again, and Steph suggested that we keep the name Subb, but drop the periods.
On April 18th, 2006, you released your latest, full-length recording entitled The Motions. How has the overall response been to the album, thus far?
The fans seems to appreciate it, and the reviews are good.
How do you feel the songs presented on The Motions compare to your earlier work?
I think The Motions is a "back to roots" album for us. On Daylight Saving, we explored more the of punk side of Subb. But, our new release is a good mix of everything we've done over the years.
It's been roughly seven months since the album first saw the light of day. Now, that a significant amount of time has passed, is there anything you wish you had done differently with the release?
The band is very happy with this release, so as of right now, we have no regrets or thoughts of things we could've done differently.
The album's lead single and music video make for an astouding pair, yet the media has seemingly turned a blind eye towards it's existence. How do you feel about the mainstream's ignorance concerning ska-punk music?
It's always been that way, so we were all well aware that we wouldn't get the big media pushing. But, it isn't that bad, or at least for us, as bands like The Planet Smashers and ourselves are always getting airplay on MusiquePlus here in Quebec. We also had airplay on MuchMusic for "The Motions", as well as our older videos. As for radio play, the major stations are not playing our songs, but some local and college radio stations are helping us, and we even get into the charts sometimes.
Subb are undoubtedly an act who have experienced an ever-changing level of critical acclaim. How does the band's popularity affect your overall outlook on music, as well as your career?
Hmm. Well, we don't feel that we are very popular, but if that's what we are, which I doubt it is, it doesn't change a thing. The only time we felt we were gainning in popularity was between 2001 and 2001, when headlined and sold out The Spectrum, a venue with a capacity of 1200 people, three times in one year. Also, at the same time, our single at that time, "All About Shane", was topping the charts on MusiquePlus. But, that's about it. Today, we're just the same five guys for the last ten years who are happy to be making music, having fun, playing shows, and writing records.
As bi-lingual performers, do you ever feel any pressure to present material in a specific language? If so, how do you cope with the burden of making these decisions?
I know it's a bit weird, but here in Quebec, a lot of bands are influenced by American bands, and they want to write songs in English. For us, it's a little more than that. Steph, who used to write ninety percent of the lyrics, went to an English school until college. His father, who was in the military, moved from Quebec, to Europe, to Nova Scotia, to Ontario, and then back to Quebec. So, it was natural for him to write in English. We have never recorded a song in French, but you never know.
If you encountered a curious consumer in a local record store, how would you describe your new release, and which of it's qualities would you use as selling points?
I'm very respectful of other peoples taste in music, and I'm very picky myself, so I don't like pushing a sale on anybody. But, if it's someone who is familiar with Subb, I will tell him/her it is a record that we're all proud of, and one that's sort of like a greatest hits release, but with all new material instead.
As a French-Canadian performer, what are your uncensored feelings regarding the state of Canada's current ska-punk scene?
I'm just happy that there are more ska-punk bands out there, and that we can finally see people smile at shows, instead of crying and being pissed off. Yes, I am talking about the emo/screamo scene.
After years of touring, it's certainly a fact that Subb's live performance is a force to be reckoned with. How, after countless performances, do you manage to maintain a specific level of enthusiasm and excitement in a live atmosphere?
I think when you write new songs, and you play them live afterwise, it is like a new beginning each and every time. Plus, playing with different bands in different places can give you the same excitement.
If you were offered the opportunity to tour with one performer, deceased or alive, who would you select, and why?
For me, it would be NOFX or Goldfinger, who aren't necessarily my favorite bands, but they've been a major influence in our sound, and I think we would get along fairly well.
Do you have any interesting, exciting, or memorable stories from the road you'd be able to share with our readers?
When we toured with The Planet Smashers back in 2001, we got lost on our way to the customs, we were stripped naked, searched, and arrested. We had some illegal stuff with us, so we had to pay to get released. We almost missed the show in Winnipeg that night, but The Planet Smashers were nice enough to let us play after them.
For those of us who are more than curious, can you please describe a typical day in the life of a touring musician?
First, you wake up around 7am, shower (when you can), stop at Tim Hortons for a small, cheap breakfast, and drive to the next time. Then, you realize you're either there too early, or you're later. Next, you load all of your gear into the venue, soundcheck, eat, and set up your merch table. On a normal day, you start drinking around 6pm, and the show starts at 7pm. You play, you get drunk while watching the other bands, and then you have to load your gear back into the van. Then, you drive to the hotel, and you keep on drinking until 2am. Finally, you go to sleep, wake up, and here we go again!
What is the songwriting process like for Subb? Is it generally a group effort, or do the ideas usually spawn from a single member's mind?
The songs usually come from one of us, and then we work off of that idea, as a band. But, sometimes, me or Steph will come up with everything (music, lyrics, melody, and structure), in which case, the other guys only have to learn the song, and work as a band on details afterwards.
What are the band's plans for the remainder of the year?
We have a bunch of shows coming up in November and December in Ontario and Quebec, and we will probably shoot a video for our second single, which is undecided as of right now. Also, we've started working on new songs for our next record.
When the band isn't writing, recording, or touring, what sort of activities do you commonly engage yourselves in?
When we aren't engaging in band activities, we're either working or studying. We go out a lot, and we like to party. As for me, I'm the father of a nice, two year old, rockin' boy! But, as for the band, we very rarely stop. We've either rehearsed or played a show every week for the last ten years. We took a little break after Daylight Saving, but other than that, we keep ourselves rather busy.
If we were to scan your personal record collection, which albums would we find on the top of your pile?
My CD collection is organized in alphabetical order, but if I wasn't the freak that I am, and my albums were all messed up, you would find Operation Ivy (Operation Ivy), White Light, White Heat, White Trash (Social Distortion), Locolive (The Ramones), Can I Say (Dag Nasty), Milo Goes to College (The Descendents), ...And Out Come the Wolves (Rancid), The Transplants (The Transplants). But, these days, I'm listening to Johnny Cash, The Aggrolites, and lots of reggae.
I'm afraid that's all the questions I have for you today. Do you have any last words you'd care to leave our readers with before we part?
Thanks for the interview. Keep checking our websites for the latest updates on Subb.
Thanks again for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview, and we wish you the very best of luck in the future.
hahaha this cracked me up: I'm just happy that there are more ska-punk bands out there, and that we can finally see people smile at shows, instead of crying and being pissed off. Yes, I am talking about the emo/screamo scene.