Cancer Bats

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The Final Interview of Cancer Bats

I know asking a band how they got their name is gay, but I'm gay, so I can ask any fucking thing I want. So.... where did the name come from?

Scott: That's actually the best way anyone's asked us that before!

Mike: We got our name from the insane brain of Liam Cormier.

Scott: Before we started the band, he came up with Cancer Bats while trying to think of band names by combining diseases and animal names. One day while we were hanging out in Montreal, he ( Liam ) told me he wanted to start a band with me called Cancer Bats. I thought that was an awesome name and agreed to start the band! He also had come up with Pneumonia Hawk, which we later used as a song title!

I've always been hard-pressed to put your sound into a specific category, Do you have one?

Mike: We like to think of ourselves as a Metal band, but we do have a lot of Punk and Hardcore in us as well. So I guess we're kind of in a genre of our own.

Scott: Anyone who likes Metal, Punk and Hardcore can relate to some aspects of our sound. We all grew up listening to different styles of music, and this band is a culmination of those heavier and aggressive influences. While purposefully not trying to fit a specific genre, I think we have something that can stand out a little bit more when put against what's contemporary in heavy music.

Does having your own sound work for or against you? For instance, if you're on a bill with bands that are clearly Hardcore, or Punk, do the kids stand there with their arms crossed?

Scott: It goes both ways. If we're playing a show where kids are only there to see more traditional, Hardcore bands, or bands that play specific kinds of mosh breakdowns, or something with lots of clean vocals, those kids aren't going to get what they want from us and might just stand there. Which is fine, because we are trying to be the opposite of all of that - and we will stick out at those shows. But we take pride in sticking out. We will play with any band, and still play our asses off regardless of who's bummed on us or who's having the best time. I think that's why when we headline a show the kids that are there to see us are really diverse, because we've always played with so many different styles of bands.

Mike: I think at the end of the day it (being different) works for us because we are original and people like that, but yeah ...sometimes finding the right fit with other bands can be hard for us. I think we cross over well though. We've toured with Rise Against and been well received, and on the other side we've toured with Bleeding Through and gone over just as well.

Have you ever played on a bill, where you were surprised at how well you went over?

Scott: Yes, just about every support tour we have ever done! (Laughs)

Mike: We played a show in Toronto with Soul/Funk band, an all girl Rock band and a Acoustic solo artist - and we went over awesome! It was a really fun show and everyone was partying really hard for all the bands!

Scott: The only expectations I ever have is that we are all going to play our asses off. If kids are responding well, that's just icing on the cake.

Scott, I remember the last time I talked to you, you told me you were straight edge. Being I was fucked up at the time, I don't remember the reason why you gave me.

Scott: I was never really into drinking, always hated smoking, and drugs didn't appeal to me whatsoever. When I was a teenager, people around me were giving the attitude that drugs and alcohol were more important than actual people, and couldn't have fun without it....

That sounds correct to me...

Scott: I found that really really disturbing! At the beginning of high school I started going to a lot of Hardcore shows, and realized there were many other kids who felt the same way I did. Becoming straight edge just made so much sense to me, so I made a lifelong commitment to myself. Since then I've had friends killed by drunk drivers, and seen others ruin their lives with addiction. Things like that only strengthened my convictions. 12 Years later, I'm still straightedge and know I will be for the rest of my life. I hang out with people who drink and do drugs just about every day of my life, and I'm entirely comfortable with that. Other people can do as they wish. I'll have more money left over to buy guitars!

You are currently touring with Every Time I Die. I also remember the last time I talked to you, you told me Andy Bear has an enormous cock. How do you know this to be true?

Scott: I haven't seen it, but I was told a photo exists of his cock wearing sunglasses and a phony mustache of some kind! Also, when we mentioned to Andy that you were going to interview us, he responded somberly that you haven't come to see them in a long time! He was bummed! I think you should just kill Every Time I Die and make Andy your zombie, bear slave!

I agree!

Mike: I haven't had the pleasure of seeing it, but the tour isn't over yet!

While I realize Cancer Bats is not a U.S. band, why have you went over so much better in the U.K. than here?

Mike: I think the U. K. are a little bit more interested in bands from other parts of the world. I find the U.S. seem to just listen to bands that are just from the U.S. - or at least the ones that spend the majority of their time touring there. We're starting to come to the U.S. a lot more on this new record, and I think it's starting to catch on a lot more there.

Scott: I find that since the U.K. is the birthplace of heavy metal, they have a different and sometimes better appreciation of the Classic Metal or Rock elements of our sound than the rest of the world does. Metal fans in the U.K. don't listen to Metal as a trend, or fad. It's an institution over there and they are more open to new and international bands. As outsiders to your country, it's easier for us to see how jaded the average American music fan can be. With such a huge population and countless domestic bands to see every night, why would the average American look outside their own borders for new music? There are always bands that are exceptions of course, but there are very, very few Canadian exceptions! We have also struggled with record labels in the U.S. from day one, but now we're on Good Fight Records and that has rekindled my confidence, by knowing we have a strong team that genuinely cares about our band and understands what we are trying to do. It's easy for bands like ours to get frustrated about this situation, but honestly we can't force anyone to like our band. I don't resent America for not embracing our band immediately, the way some other countries have. We bust our asses and tour constantly and now on our third record we're starting to see some reward for our labor. Things are the best they've ever been for us in America actually, and I'm very happy about it!

When you listen to Hail Destroyer now, is there any part of it, you have a hard time listening to? Or...for you, does it stand the test of time thus far?

Scott: I'm very proud of that record actually, and there's very little I would change about it. Sure there's parts I think could be better, but for the most part I'm extremely happy with that record, especially when compared to our first record.

Mike: I'm still really happy with it. I haven't listened to it in a while, but I still think it's a great sounding record and the songs on it are great. I think it'll stand the test of time!

What did you want to do on "Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones" that you hadn't done before?

Scott: Well this was our first record where we had a real bassist who wrote and recorded all the songs with us! I had always played bass in the studio, but now with Jaye I was able to focus on guitar. And with his help, we were able to make our songs more dynamic and interesting.

Mike: We wanted an album that had a live feel and also a sound that is more true to our live sound. We recorded all playing in a room together, then re-recorded the guitars and vocals to get better sounds.

Scott: We also wanted to just push ourselves in all directions, playing faster and yet slower than we have in the past. We got a lot heavier overall, yet we have some of the most melodic and soulful material we have ever recorded.

Mike: We were also so well rehearsed that we didn't really have to worry about playing the song, we could spend the time getting the right sounds.

Do you think recording new albums becomes easier for bands as they go along, or does it become more difficult?

Mike: I think it can go either way. If you're smart it can be a lot easier. We bought recording equipment and spent a lot of time doing pre-production, so we knew exactly what we were doing in the studio. That made recording very easy. But there can be all kinds of problems in the studio that even the most seasoned musician can't foresee. Like the temperature in the studio dropping so much at night, that it totally fucks up all the guitars and days are wasted fixing them. That happened on Hail Destroyer.

Really?

Mike: (Laughs) Yeah.

Scott: I think the recording process has become better with each record. You learn how to be more prepared. You know where you need to pull your socks up, have a better idea of how to nail great tones and how to encourage your other band mates to perform well. I'd say the hardest part is writing good songs, that keep ourselves feeling accomplished without bumming out any of our fans.

Why the Beastie Boys Cover?

Mike: 'Cuz the Beastie Boys rule, and "Sabotage" was the raddest song when I was 13 or 14, skateboarding and just getting into music.

Scott: We started covering it at festivals, so that people who didn't know our material, could get in the pit and have some fun with a song they would already know. It went over well and people were constantly begging us to record it, so we did! Everyone thought it sounded good, so it was tacked on essentially as a bonus track on the record.

I think you should do a Faggots of Death cover!

Mike: I'm down, what song should we do?

"All The Cutest Boys are at Hardcore Shows"...of course!

Scott: That would be awesome, but I'd rather you kill your own band and let Cancer Bats become your new backing band! It would be Maris The Great and the Bats of Death!

(Much laughter)

Last question! You guys once told me that of anyone in the group, Liam would be the least surprising to be discovered as bi or gay. Please tell me why

Scott: Maybe it's because he has often worn women's size jeans? Or the fact he's dated quite a few tomboys? But I'll say one thing, he has been propositioned by more gay men than anyone else in the band, so one has to wonder if it's the vibe he gives off? Who cares either way?! I mean, I was once in a band that played a pride festival supporting Pansy Division and it was awesome!

Mike: Liam is actually a bit of a gateway Lesbian. He has dated a couple girls that have turned gay after dating him. He is the testing ground to see if they like pussy. (Laughs)