Next month I will be flying to California to meet up with Counterparts on their tour with Stick To Your Guns/Terror/Hundredth/Expire to shoot some photos for a week or so. I’m trying to buy a new camera before I leave and I need film and all that so I’m putting up two more prints for sale. It would mean a lot to have some support, most of the time I barely break even on this shit so I’m trying to have a lot of products available. If there’s any photos that you’d like of mine that you don’t see in the shop, feel free to message me and I can work something out. Also, if you’re thinking of hitting up any of the shows somewhere between California and New York, say hey. I’m putting together a music-related zine when I come back, maybe you can be in it. Thanks a ton, yo.
Click HERE for the prints. If you feel so inclined to buy both, you have to add each photo individually from the drop down menu. XOXO
An Evening With Jonathan O’Callaghan of Liferuiner
Through the years Liferuiner has gone through a lot of drama, to say the least, why have you not just outright quit the band forever?
Jonny: There was a time in my life where I did quit the band and I thought I would never come back to it. It was weird, a lot of people that tour in bands that have done it for a long time, if you talk to them you can tell the people who want to do it for a living apart from the people who just want to play music. When I seperated from the band for the four years or whatever, it was a big part of my life that was taken away from me. Even though I was doing it to take care of my mom, I realized there was a huge thing missing, I don’t know, I just wanted to get back into it. As far as drama that has come from the band and the things we may or may not have done, or things that have been said about us, things we’ve probably deserved, this band has always meant a lot to a lot of people and it means a lot to me. It gives me a platform to talk about the things I care about, the things I stand for, so that will always mean a lot to me, that’s why I keep doing it.
I know it’s a very broad subject, but what are some of the main reasons Liferuiner constantly went through so many member changes?
Jonny: It’s weird, it’s kind of hard to really explain perfectly. I can sum it up by saying that being on the road isn’t something for everyone, and a lot of our member changes were really in the first few years of the band when we were touring nine or so months of the year. We’d go on tour for three or four months at a time and a lot of people just can’t handle that, I mean, I just think that’s the way it is. Some people are born for it, to be on the road, and some people aren’t, I think that was a big thing to do with it.
As Liferuiner stands right now, stylistically, musically and member wise, are you happy with what it’s become?
Jonny: Yeah, it means a lot to me think of where we’ve come from and to see what we’ve progressed into as people and as musicians. I know as funny as it sounds but this is the longest running lineup we’ve ever had and it’s really cool because everyone in the band comes from completely different backgrounds of music. Terrance plays drums in Safe to Say, Burton’s played in a bunch of different bands, like, he’s written music for Circus du Soleil, Mike’s come from Lifestory Monologue, so you can see we’ve all come from all these different backgrounds and bands and I think it’s cool that we can all come together and collaboratively write something that makes sense together. I’m really happy at where it’s come from and what we’ve become and where we’re going with it.
So you’re happy with the style of music you’re playing now?
Jonny: Yeah, style wise I love where we are. We’re all into different kinds of music, you can tell that Mike has a lot to do with writing now because of how melodic we’ve become. I still think it’s super pissed off and super driving, it’s just pissed off for a better reason now.
Liferuiner has become this sort of black sheep or outcast within the Ontario hardcore community, would you say you’re more accepted as musicians when you play outside of Ontario? Or even outside of Canada?
Jonny: I think we’ll always be the black sheep of every scene because we sit in this weird purgatory of music. We’re not actually a real hardcore band, but we’re not a full metal band, and I wouldn’t even call us a metalcore band. We sit on this weird line where we’re just Liferuiner. I think we’re very loved at home and it’s always really cool to play hometown shows, but I think any band will tell you that if you go out of your country, or out of your city, you’re more welcomed just because these kids don’t get to see you as much as hometown kids do. I think a lot of kids are spoiled, especially in the Ontario hardcore scene, because the scene is full of amazing bands like Counterparts, Structures, Exalt, Prophets, you know, all these amazing bands that are from Ontario, they’ve just been spoiled by all these awesome bands playing all the time. So when we go out of town I think it’s definitely more welcomed, not because Ontario doesn’t like us or love us, it’s just because we don’t get to play there as often.
Do find that rumours about you or Liferuiner chase you when leave you Ontario?
Jonny: I mean, it’ll always be there, people will always talk shit. I can go to any city in Ontario, or any city wherever, and bring up any name in the heavy music scene and ten different people will have ten different things to say about that said person, probably most of them will be negative. So yeah, I think it’ll always be there, until someone actually meets you they have no idea of how you actually are, they dehumanize you and just look at you as that one singer of that one band that I saw on YouTube or Facebook or whatever, that’s not a real way to base an opinion on someone. People have come up to me and met me and talked to me at shows who have never seen us live, and they’ll comment on the stuff I say between songs, like, “I just thought you were a completely different person” and I’ll ask what did you think I’d be like and they’ll go off and say “well I heard this, this and that”. It’s really naive to think but you can’t completely judge a person off things other people have said about them. If I’m an asshole to you in person, you have all the right to hate me, but if you hate me because you heard on the internet that I’m asshole, then that’s just a poor way to judge people.
I know you personally, as well as the members of Liferuiner, are very big advocates for gay rights, how do you feel homosexuality is treated in the hardcore scene?
Jonny: I feel like the whole idea of homophobia is brought out more, it’s talked about more, people have become more aware of what homophobia is and why it’s wrong and what equality should be. It’s been brought out more, not just in the hardcore scene, but in society as a whole. As opposed to Christian bands, and I mean, I have no problem with Christianity and religion and everything, my only problem is when people use blind hate and hide behind religion, I think that’s fucked up. But I mean, the really cool thing about it is when, like, when I played a show in Budapest and there were four or five gay dudes that came to see our band, not because they liked our music, but because they knew what would we stood for as a band and they appreciated that. I think that gay rights are a good cause that people should speak up about because I think that homophobia is so universal, it’s not just small, southern states in America, it’s everywhere, man. I think the most amazing thing is, I remember going to shows in, like, 2005 and the one thing every singer would say to get kids going was “let’s go, you faggots” and now shit like that will never be said on stage, and if someone does say it it’ll burn them, in a way that’s a really cool thing because now people are conscience of what they say and the things they do because they’re realizing it’s wrong. I think that alone is pretty awesome.
Liferuiner recently released a music video for the track “Harvest/Famine” off of your latest release “Future Revisionist”, what was main message or idea you were trying to convey with the video?
Jonny: The song is basically about we go through life trying to find out what shapes us and who we are as people. We neglect the fact that everything we need in our life is usually right in front of us, and instead of accepting the fact that our needs should trump the things that we want - we end up accepting all this materialistic shit that we’ll never need and make the things we want the things that we think we need. It’s also about how we shut our eyes to all the things that happen in our life, and all these things get taken away from us because we’re too concerned over what we want. The video is basically me digging a grave or a hole and I’m finding all these things that actually matter to me, things that I actually need, like a picture of my mom and I, and there’s my keys and my passport, theses are things I actually need in my life to survive. I don’t need to go out and buy a two hundred dollar pair of jeans, we get so lost in the idea of materialistic things.
Closing up, what can we expect to see from Liferuiner in 2014? Any big plans?
Jonny: Yeah, for the first time in Liferuiner history we actually have an insane team working for us, made of really cool, like minded people that believe in our band. We have a lot of really cool tours coming up, I can definitely, one hundred percent, say that we’re going to America, I know American kids will be stoked for that. We also have a couple really cool tours in Europe again, Asia and hopefully we’ll close up the year in Australia. I think it should be a great year.
Bumping this interview Aaron did with Jonny OC, vocalist of Liferuiner, back in December. Check it out if you missed it the first time around!
When people think of Canadian Post Hardcore, or dare I say Post Hardcore in general, it’s hard not to have Silverstein at the front of the pack. Hailing from Burlington, Ontario these music heavy weights have been screaming and moshing into the hearts of millions since their formation in early 2000. It’s safe to say Silverstein has influenced a generation with them being some of the frontrunners of early 2000’s post hardcore and emo, running along side bands such as Blessthefall, Chiodos, Underoath, Senses Fail, Alexisonfire, Aiden, Hawthrone Heights, Finch and Alesana. From their humble beginnings packing small town Ontario basements, to selling out shows across the world, Silverstein has left their permanent mark on the genre.
Six studio albums later Silverstein has musically assured their fans time and time again that they will not be going quietly into the night. Unlike many bands of the genre who have fallen victim to time (R.I.P Alexisonfire, Underoath and the countless others) Silverstein remains strong and devoted to their music. With their latest release “This is How the Wind Shifts”, which has received numerous great reviews across a plethora of critics, it’s easy to see that they know where they stand musically. Even with the departure of long standing lead guitarist Neil Boshart, Silverstein continues to pump out jam after jam with the help of new(ish) arrival, and Boshart’s replacement, Paul Marc Rousseau.
In celebration of “This is How the Wind Shifts" a Canadian, or well an Ontario, Quebec and Maritimes, tour has already begun weaving its way through surprisingly smaller towns and cities. Be it a treat to the fans who made them who they are today, or a simple trip down memory lane, this tour will please both the grizzled Silverstein veteran and newbie just the same. To go from playing huge stages for hundreds of thousands of screaming international fans, to playing a floor show to 80+ plus people in Brampton, Ontario, it’s so much of a contrast that it really makes you appreciate what they’ve become.
I for one have nothing but the utmost respect for Silverstein, they, like the many other post hardcore, screamo and emo bands of my early teenaged years shaped me, as well as the countless other fans that grew up during that time. But as I’ve mentioned before, time moves on, and with that moving of time washes away the trends of that era. Post hardcore, for the most part, died down to make room for metalcore… which in turn has been dying out just the same. Arguably the newest and hottest trend sweeping the market is the traditional hardcore revival, which is basically the term “keep it simple, stupid” translated into music. Fast, punchy and aggressive is where it’s at and Silverstein was able to adapt. Sink or swim has been the name of the game, if you can’t keep up, or keeping up is too tiresome, you sink, you lose, you die. I’m not saying Silverstein is invincible, everyone clocks out eventually, but I hope that when their time does come, they go out in a blaze of glory and not a puff of smoke.
more at BREAKDOWNMAGAZINE.CA
Check out this Silverstein write up Aaron did for Breakdown Magazine. Silverstein said it was cool, so yeah.
In recent years the Toronto punk scene has gained a world-wide reputation for putting out hard working bands with raw talent and passion to make great music. One of the up and coming bands from Toronto, who’ve already gained wide credibility in the local scene, are PUP. PUP are a four-piece punk band who’s math driven punk riffs and gang-vocal choruses, make crowds sing along and dance wildly at their infamous live shows. I recently caught up with lead-singer and guitarist Stefan Babcock to discuss the future of the Toronto punk scene, baseball, and touring the UK.
First off, it’s been three months since your debut album was released; are you happy with the reception it’s gotten?
Yeah - we’re really overwhelmed. We had pretty modest expectations of how people would take to it, and the reaction has definitely exceeded our expectations. At this moment I’m in the airport about to fly overseas to start a two month tour. That’s never something I thought I would say…
You guys toured Canada with Hollerado and released a record on their label. Throughout those two experiences how did your relationship grow with Hollerado?
Those guys are awesome. They’ve been hugely supportive of the band, even before signing us. Plus they’re some of our best friends. We had a great time on tour with them, and our label, Royal Mountain, really feels more like a family than a label. We’re really grateful to be pals with those guys and work with them, and be a part of that community.
So quitting your day jobs to pursue music fully with PUP must have been a big decision in your career. How did you know it was time to do so and what would you tell up and coming bands about quitting their jobs to pursue music?
It was a big decision, but it was an obvious one. I think the tipping point came when we started to think about doing a record. We sent a bunch of demos to our dream producer, Dave Schiffman (The Bronx, Weezer, Vampire Weekend). We didn’t think he’d ever even listen or reply to the email. He hit us up a few days later and was like “I love these songs! Let’s make a record together” and we all quit our jobs the next day. It was sorta like “well, Dave believes in this, so maybe this band thing could be a real thing”. A week later we were doing pre-production with him, and shortly after that we went on our first major North American tour.
I would tell upcoming bands a few things: 1) If you wanna do that, expect to be broke. Like really fucking broke. For a long time too. It takes a long time to make any money at all, let alone enough for four or five guys to survive off of. That’s not something we’re even capable of yet. 2) If you already know you wanna play music for a living, get a job right away that pays well and start saving like crazy. Being in a band costs so much money, most people wouldn’t believe - vans, gas, flights, instruments, phone bills, studio time, producers, videos… 3) Keep your job for as long as you can. Don’t jump the gun. You’ll know when the time is right - and that time is when you can’t possibly hold down your job without forgoing major opportunities.
What was it like getting signed to such a renowned punk label like SideOneDummy records?
It was cool as hell. We grew up listening to that label. It’s a big part of what got me into punk rock in the first place, as a kid.
So PUP are known for being huge baseball fans. If your song could be the walk in song for any batter, who would it be?
This is a Steve question, because actually, Zack, Nestor and Myself think baseball is boring as all fuck. Steve says “Jose Bautista”. Whoever the fuck that is. Nestor says “Wayne Gretzky”.
You’ve stated in previous interviews that the reason so many bands are coming out of Toronto in recent years is because of Toronto’s great all ages scene five years ago. Now that all ages scene in Toronto has diminished greatly, where is the scene headed?
It’s hard to say. There are a lot of great bands now in Toronto in their 20’s, but as you said, not a lot of all ages shows. It makes me nervous, because I think in 5 years, there aren’t gonna be a ton of kids in town interested in being in bands and playing live music, because they didn’t get a chance to experience it as teenagers. But I think these things come and go in waves. All it takes is a few kids to really care, and really go out of their way to try and cultivate a scene - find a place to put on shows, do the leg work, book good bands… There’s a bit of that in Toronto and around town, and if a few more kids get really into it, they could really make a difference.
Why does everyone who love your live shows?
Haha do they? I don’t know exactly. Also, thanks - that’s a really nice question to ask! I think we usually have a no-holds-barred attitude and people dig that. People who come to our shows are usually looking for a good time - to party, to jump around, crowd surf, have fun. And that’s pretty infectious. No one’s coming out to our shows to fight, or to watch quietly. People need an excuse to get rowdy sometimes, and if once in a while we are that excuse, it makes me pretty happy.
You’re about to head out on a two week tour of the UK; what are you most stoked about doing or seeing across the pond?
We’re just excited to go to places we’ve never been before and play music. It seems like a crazy thing to be doing with our lives. To be able to see the world in this way… It’s really cool. It’ll be my first time to the UK and I’m stoked to check out the scene there and excited to see how the shows go, and meet a bunch of new people. We’re also touring with this great band, Slaves, so I’m looking forward to checking them out.
When Counterparts first started did you ever imagine it would become what it is today?
Brendan: No, it’s really weird how it all happened, I think it’s fucked, man. When it first started we legitimately started in Jesse’s basement, we just started writing songs and because we were going to shows we thought “whoa, being in a band seems like a good idea right now” because I guess we were young and stupid. The stuff that we were writing back then was so bad, it sounded awful but it didn’t matter because we were actually doing something. We weren’t that band that went and played a show with just covers, we said fuck that and wanted to write our own songs. The growth of our band hasn’t plateaued yet, luckily enough, I mean there’s days where it feels like we have, but when you look at the grand scheme of things you can zoom out and take it all in - it’s like, you can see that we’re still growing and there’s still a lot of room to grow in to. To go back and think that we were in grade nine or ten when we first started the band, we were opening shows at The Underground in Hamilton, to now we’re headlining shows at The Underground that’s close to selling out, it’s just so weird to think about. No part of me ever thought we’d get big, I mean, I use “big” loosely - I don’t think we’re very big to begin with but, I never thought we’d make it out of Hamilton, I guess.
How do the music scenes aboard, such as Europe and Australia, compare to back home?
Brendan: Honestly they’re all pretty much on par, there’s just little different, weird things that you’ll notice. For example, say in Europe if your band is playing before nine o’clock at night or even before eleven o’clock at night, no one’s there. If your band plays at one o’clock in the morning everyone’s there in the venue. Every place we go to is pretty comparable to Canada, like I said, there’s just little things you notice and pick up on that make you go “oh shit, I wish Canada did this”. I guess everywhere has their own subtle differences in the world. If I was totally content with the Canadian music scene I would tour Canada once every three months and make a living off that and never try to cross the border.
Do you feel like Counterparts is more appreciated when you leave Canada?
Brendan: Yeah, a little bit. I don’t know if I would say appreciated but it’s more so, if we play a show in Toronto obviously it’s going to do well and all our friends are there and it’s really cool. But say we play a show somewhere in California they’re like, “okay, I’ve never seen Counterparts before, I might never see them again” so everyone buys one of everything we have in merch and stuff like that. I feel like everyone in Ontario kind of appreciates us because they were the ones that saw us take our first steps as a band, but people outside of Canada are more stoked because they look at it as Counterparts is from forty, fifty hours away - or Counterparts is from a twenty hour plane ride away, I guess they think it’s really cool, they treat us really well and make us feel at home.
The songs on The Difference Between Hell and Home show a very personal side of you, why do you choose to share such intimidate details about yourself with the whole world?
Brendan: I chose to talk about them in this medium because it’s the medium I feel more comfortable with. I’m definitely more comfortable with not going and talking to a bunch of people I’m friends with, for whatever reason I can’t find comfort in that, so I have to find a hundred random people a night to tell that I’m miserable. It’s weird, I don’t know why I feel like I can get on stage and tell people about my problems when I can’t look at my friends in the eye and tell them that something’s wrong with me. I guess people have their own way with coping with that and they deal with things differently, it’s just how I feel the most comfortable by writing about it and turning it into lyrics. I don’t know, maybe I should try the other way, maybe I’ve been doing it wrong for the last five or six years.
You’ve given people living with mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, a voice and someone to relate to. How does it feel to know that you’ve had such a huge impact on people you’ve never met?
Brendan: I think that’s weirdest part, and I don’t mean weird as in a bad way or an unappreciated way, it’s just definitely the weirdest part about being in the band. To know that people feel strongly about something I’ve written or I’ve just said, that people can take that and relate to it so well, that’s also the coolest part of the band because I never thought it would happen. I feel like, I appreciate it and it’s totally awesome that people care that much about my band, I also feel like I don’t want to be this weird sort of mascot for helping, as cool as it is and as awesome as I think it is, I also don’t want to people to look at me and be like “Brendan, save me, help me”. Yes, I agree that listening to music and finding a constructive outlet for how you’re feeling is good, I just don’t want that guy all the time.
When Counterparts is referred to as a “Tumblr Band” does it bother you at all?
Brendan: It doesn’t really bother me, but it’s like, there are so many bands that are more “Tumblr” than us. It’s not a bad thing at all, in fact, now Tumblr’s a big part of how your band is perceived and how big your band is or how big people think your band is. Yeah, it’s really weird when I look at a video of us playing Evansville, Indiana and there’s like, you know, fucking nine thousand reblogs, it’s weird, but it doesn’t really bother me because at least nine thousand people cared enough, I mean, that rules. My issue with Tumblr is I don’t like how people use it as means of like “my personality is this website” or “my life is on this website”, that everything that happens in real life is second best to how many followers I have and how many reblogs I have. That’s why on my social media I treat everything as a complete joke, oh, like, you know this many people want to see what I have to say so I’m going to give them the worst shit I can think of and get them to unfollow me, but I guess it backfired. Tumblr’s alright, I mean, some of it’s dumb, like reblogging sex gifs and saying “yes please this” it’s just like, come on, grow up. Tumblr isn’t about creating something new, it’s more of “I like this so look at it”. When I had Tumblr I’d post my lyrics, I’d post pictures that I took from on tour, I would post questions and stuff like that. I know I can’t hate on people for it, I just like the idea that there’s other websites and other means to be like “look at what I created” instead of looking at something someone else made.
Why did you never succumb to the constant cycle of trends plaguing the hardcore scene?
Brendan: I just don’t care. It’s like, I’ve been going to shows since 2005, I’ve seen every possible trend, I’ve seen every band go from bullshit with everyone laughing at them and saying no way this will get popular, to now them being the biggest band. I’ve seen it happen so much, I mean at least in Ontario, I just can’t keep up with the trends, it’s too exhausting, it’s become “oh, last week this band was popular but now they suck”. I want to listen to Converge and Smashing Pumpkins and that’s about it. I don’t care about what band is really cool and really hype, I don’t care about their limited fucking cassette, I don’t care about how much you spent on a shirt off eBay. Music is music, support the band, it’s like Haymaker used to say “love the music, hate the kids”, that’s very much how I look at it. I love hardcore, hardcore absolutely came into my life at a perfect time where I had nothing and it filled the void, still to this day fills the void, but a lot of the kids that take it for granted and treat it as another trend piss me off, that’s why I’m very vocal about my hate of those kinds of kids. I find that eventually those kinds of kids grow up, break edge and become EDM drugheads and I’m still here, I’m still the dumbass kid who hangs out at shows and moshes to Exalt.
Tonight is Alex Re’s last hometown show ever with Counterparts, how does it feel to lose such a long standing member of your band?
Brendan: It’s bittersweet, I’ll say that. Nobody in the band wants to see Alex go, but he’s at a point in his life where he’s got other things and for him the band can’t come first anymore. He’s got a girlfriend he’s probably going to marry, he’s got a full time job, he’s going to school full time, at least he’s not leaving the band as a “fuck, I hate you guys” kind of thing. In his mind I like to think that he now has time for him to take that next step, to progress and become an adult, a real human being, he can’t keep playing smelly venues and living off Taco Bell anymore. He was honest, he came to us and told us what was up and we have the utmost respect for him, there’s no hard feelings whatsoever. I like to think we have someone else lined up so we’ll see what happens with him, but Alex will always be a major part of Counterparts and we know there always comes a time when everyone has to move on. Tonight was his last show with us so tonight will be the start of the next step of his life and we can’t hate him for it, love the guy, one of my best friends, always will be.
With 2014 just a couple weeks away I’m obligated to ask, what can we expect to see from Counterparts in the new year?
Brendan: We’re going to Japan in January for four shows, it kind of came out of nowhere, but like, fuck it, we’re down to go, I’m going to go buy old panties from vending machines in Tokyo, that’s my thing. February we’re going to Europe with Being as an Ocean, Hundreth and Polar. In March we have a tour that’s happening, I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say, but it’s an American tour with a bunch of sweet bands, so that’s March and April. In May and June we’ve got Canada set up and after that we’ve got more American stuff, we’re pretty much booked up till summer of next year. It sucks, I wish I could give real names and specific dates but I can’t, but I can say we’re going to be busy. I just hope our van will last, that’s my New Year’s wish, I guess. I just want to find a van that won’t fuck us every time we leave.
Bumping this interview Aaron did with Brendan Murphy, vocalist of Counterparts, back in December because it was a total blast.