Distances is a Winnipeg based punk band that formed two years ago and is currently comprised of vocalist Dylan James, guitarists Zach Allard and Florian Maier, bassist DJ Sangalang and drummer Matty Hallick. The group released a self-titled EP in October 2012 then in March 2013 it launched an Indiegogo campaign to help fund a full-length release, which was recorded last summer in Vancouver at Rain City Recorders. Before the full record drops sometime this summer, the band is releasing a three song EP called Boulders and we caught up with Maier to learn a little more about it:
What made you decide to release an EP before releasing your full-length?
Maier: Well we recorded in Vancouver last June and July and we decided to not release everything on the album because it just got a little too long for a punk rock record. We just sat down and collectively decided what made the most sense to not be on the album. We werenít sure what to do with the extra songs, but we knew we wanted to release them somehow. And as the label search and the shopping went on it just takes a long time so we decided to keep people interested we might as well release something in the meantime. Also due to the current member changes the EP we have currently online doesnít really represent us anymore, since Nic [Herzog] is singing and heís no longer in the band.
Yeah, the band has obviously gone through quite a few line-up changes since the self-titled EP was released, I think you and DJ are the only remaining members. Does it sort of feel like a new beginning?
The funny thing is the line-up shuffle seems bigger to everyone who isnít in the band than it is to us, but I also do understand why. Itís not really a new beginning since Nic is still playing and singing on the songs we recorded, but itís definitely the beginning in a new chapter of Distances for sure. Now Iím singing some of the parts Nic did on the recordings, which is a bit of a challenge for me. Before that I was just the guy on stage who was yelling, but now I have to listen to DJ and we have to try and sing harmonies.
How did you find your new guitarist?
Zach Allard was actually the first guy that we were thinking about. Once we made the decision to let Nic go and he was out of the picture we took a little bit to collect our thoughts and see where we were going to go next. We had a list of five or six people and we asked him to try out, we were actually really mean to him, we made him try out like five times I think. We had a feeling he was the one after the first practice, but we didnít want to rush it so we made him learn all the songs and he did phenomenal. Heís such a good guitar player and after a month of torturing him we told him he was in the band. Heís been a huge help with new songs too, weíre already writing new stuff and some of the guitar parts are more technical and different for sure.
What was the best thing about heading out to Vancouver to record?
The best part is that we had 24 hours, well I guess we didnít really have 24 hours, but all you do during the day is record or sit there listening to other people record and you can just focus on being creative. When we first decided to record a full-length we wanted to do it outside of Winnipeg so we didnít have to work our day jobs and go record after work because thatís what we did with our first EP. We went during a weekend and then we had to finish up some stuff after work and we just wanted to focus on it full-time. When it came to producers Stu [McKillop, ex-Daggermouth guitarist/Precursor] was the first one we talked about in the band and he was just our dream producer I guess, if you want to call it that. He recorded stuff for Carpenter and weíre also huge fans of that band. He also worked with Living With Lions and Waster.
What did Stu add to the songs that wouldnít have been there otherwise?
We sped up some of the songs because of him, which is great, Iím very thankful for that. He used to play in Daggermouth and now he plays in Precursor, so heís a guy that writes a lot of punk music thatís really fast and that helped a lot because he just had a completely different set of eyes. We spent half a year writing the songs and we felt really good about them, but he came in and gave us good suggestions to make the songs better.
Did you decide to go with Gold Stock because you were at Rain City Recorders or was there another reason?
No, not necessarily. We were talking with Dan [Sioui] and Stu obviously while we were in Vancouver, but we didnít really talk about releasing anything through them at that point. We never actually had a real plan until we decided to release this EP and the only two labels that came to mind right away were Gold Stock and the Newform Label right here in Winnipeg. Gold Stock said yes, Newform said no so boom, it was an easy decision.
I guess Distances will be hitting the road soon.
Yeah, weíre playing Winnipeg on February 25 at Union Sound Hall and then weíre doing a short four day run west doing Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon then weíre back at work and everyone will slaving away until the next tour which will hopefully be out east in southern Ontario, Ottawa and hopefully Montreal.
And then youíre saying Peaks/Valleys should be released sometime this summer?
Thatís the plan, weíve secured a label in Germany with a friend of mine and then weíre still talking to other labels in Canada and the U.S. for the full-length and weíre aiming to release it in the summer. We want it to be out as soon as possible, but at the same time it would be a shame to undersell it. Weíve been sitting on it now for half a year already and we want to keep our options open.
How was your experience with Indiegogo? Would you use it again?
I donít know, depends on the project, I donít think Iíd use it like that again. Royal Canoe just used it and I think they used it perfectly. They had some gear stolen and they just needed to raise enough money to buy gear and when they raised enough they asked people to stop sending them money and I think that was amazing. I feel like the album pre-order Indiegogo campaigns are over or about to be, but I could be very wrong. I donít think Iíd do it again, itís a lot of responsibility, it takes long and it makes you feel bad. You go through the emails and you feel bad because you donít want to make people angry or make them wait, but at the same time I want to take my time and try to achieve the best that I can for my band. Itís hard to balance the two.