You guys are kicking off your Canadian tour tonight and you seem to have lots of touring ahead. I was just wondering how you came up with the idea of the Pentagram tour you’re doing in London?
The Pentagram tour was basically a way to play small shows again and kind of just have fun. Small punk shows are what we love doing, but we realize that there’s a few more people that want to come to the show as well so we were trying to figure out how to do both basically. Our booking agent gave us the idea, suggesting that we play 6 shows in 200-300 cap venues so you can fit all those people into the whole thing.
How would you compare the U.K. and Canada in terms of your following?
I would think they’re pretty comparable, shows here and there are rad. I think London, England is a bit of an anomaly, since you have so many people and you end up playing really big shows there before you play them anywhere else.
I was doing some reading and it seems like Dead Set on Living was inspired by a friend of yours who was hospitalized.
Yeah, that kind of played a heavy event on the writing. We finished all the music, I was starting to work on the lyrics and then my friend went into the hospital. It was what I was directly thinking about at that time and it kind of naturally took over. I was super stoked in the end that things worked out and that’s why it’s more positive in the end. A song like “Old Blood” is me coming out of that and being more positive. But some of the other songs, like “R.A.T.S.” and “The Void,” came from being around in that situation as well.
Would you agree that this record is more positive than your previous effort?
Yeah, that was definitely a conscious effort. There’s still going to be some sort of negativity in life, that’s just sort of the reality of it. But in hindsight I looked at how heavy of an album Bears ended up thematically being. I think that was based on the amount of touring we were doing at the time and what we were all going through. Looking back on it, anyone who knows me or comes to a show knows I’m not a negative person at all. I didn’t want that to represent the band or me so I figured ‘Yeah, maybe I need to lighten up a little bit this time.’
I noticed Kate from An Horse does some guest vocals on this record.
Yeah, we were stoked. Kate’s someone we met through friends. Just when I was writing that song, I just thought about all the people who have made the choice to tour and make music their life. It made sense to have someone like Kate be involved, just like someone like Dez from DevilDriver. All three of us have this shared experience, even though we’ve been in that situation in completely different contexts. Cancer Bats and An Horse are completely different so it was cool to have that different voice to hammer home that perspective.
I understand that “Rally The Wicked” was written about the Internet.
Yeah, it’s kind of a fun song, like a reaction to all the haters, you know what I mean? There was a funny thing I read online, it was something about us writing a new record and some kid was like ‘Oh no, when’s that band going to stop writing records?’ And I thought it was funny, the fact that they were so bummed that we were just putting out another album. It made me laugh and I thought ‘We’re never going to stop writing records. If you hate it that makes me want to put out records for the rest of my life just to know it’s going to bum you out.’ That song kind of came out like that. And we grew up listening to thrash and I like how a lot of thrash songs don’t take themselves too seriously. It has that kind of jokey, almost comical element to it. It was kind of like my ode to 80s thrash, just tried to have a little more fun with it.
The last track “New World Alliance” really stood out to me. What was your inspiration behind that track?
The whole idea with that was just thinking of the idea of counterculture and the whole punk rock, metal and hardcore communities. Where it is almost a real rejection of common society in terms of our own morals and our own ways of doing things, this idea that we have our own community and that’s been most of our moral guide growing up. I like the idea that we can go to other parts of the world and we have this like-minded stance with people in Poland and Croatia and Canada and Germany, how it exists even beyond language. It’s almost more cultural than a lot of religions are.
Would you agree that there has been a change in your vocal style since Birthing the Giant?
To me my voice has just gotten a lot stronger. When we did Birthing the Giant, I hadn’t been touring nearly as much and then when that record came out we became a full-time touring band. I think it was just me realizing that I could push my voice a lot harder than I could previously. It’s just one of those things, the more you tour, the better you get at it. The same way that the other guys in the band became better musicians, we’ve had the chance to push things and try out different ideas.
Metal Blade will be putting out Dead Set on Living in the States and I was just wondering if you have any plans to tour down there more often?
Yeah, Metal Blade will be doing our new record, which is awesome. We’ll be touring in the States, but I don’t know if we’ll be heading down there more, because we have so many places that we have to tour already. With this new record, we don’t have much lined up in the US yet, I almost feel a little bad about that, because we have to spend so much time in Canada, the U.K. and Europe. Those places have become our priority because our band has never been that big in the States anyway. But we do have a good time, we did a tour with Ringworm around SXSW so it’s not that we don’t like the US. We just end up having to tour everywhere else. We’re making touring plans for the summer and hopefully more in the fall though.