Every edition of this season’s Long Winter, the first 350 guests through the doors at The Great Hall have received a free split seven-inch from Scion Sessions, each side featuring a song from one of the night’s featured artists. To compliment the releases, we’ve issued a seven-part questionnaire to each of the artists involved, giving the subjects an inch (about 85 words) of space to answer each of our questions.
The March instalment of the Scion Sessions Split 7” Series features a track each from Cancer Bats and JFM. In this questionnaire with decade-old Toronto hardcore punk band the Cancer Bats, singer Liam Cormier reflects on a time when the band turned gasoline into new fans, a result of their commitment to braving Canadian winters and touring the far reaches of the country while other bands hibernated. Read the full questionnaire below.
Long Winter: Who are you and what's the story behind Cancer Bats?
Liam Cormier: My name is Liam Joseph Cormier and I sing in the band Cancer Bats. The story behind our band is that we're four friends, now a decade deep in having the best time ever. I still find it hard to describe the style of music we play. Metal in the circles we tend to run in now days, punk in how we try to keep our attitudes, hardcore in terms of how we run things, stoner more in spirit than in practice. From there we just play as loud as we can get away with and try to head bang as much as possible.
LW: How about “Sonic Mind Assault” – what inspired that?
LC: The inspiration for the song came mainly from it just being a really fun thrash song. I always loved how thrash songs could almost be goofy in their approach and would deal with very over the top ideas. So when writing the lyrics to this song, I thought of the classic argument from the angry moms of the world, complaining that loud guitars and screamed vocals would lead to the general degeneration of the listener, and how there must be something wrong with anyone who would subject themselves to such a “Sonic Mind Assault.” When playing classic thrash, I think it only best to deal with classic themes. Parents man… they don't understand.
LW: For some of Long Winter's audiences, this will be their first point of access to your music. Where does this song fit into the rest of your catalogue?
LC: This is actually one of the very last songs in our catalogue. It was a B-side left over from our fourth album, Dead Set On Living. We held off from putting the song on the album because we felt it was strong enough to stand on its own if we ever needed an extra track for a seven-inch or anything. Then lo and behold here came the opportunity at literally the last concert we will play for that album. Couldn't have worked better if we had planned it.
LW: Once they’re turned on to this, what releases (songs, EPs, albums, or otherwise) should people pursue as logical next steps?
LC: For those leaving this small taste and wanting to continue the CB experience, I always recommend YouTube! We have a lot of videos that we're super proud of and we were lucky enough to work with amazingly talented people so they look dooooooooope. We take our riffs as serious as the next whiskey metal band, but we like to have a good time too! I would say some of our best videos are the more humorous ones like “Lucifer’s Rocking Chair,” our cover of “Sabotage,” and our latest video for “Bricks and Mortar.”
LW: When you think of winter, what’s a memory that stands out for you?
LC: Winter for years was the time we would tour Canada. Because most bands (especially Americans) feared the snowy 14-hour drives it would take to cross the Great White North, we found there were no other tours happening and we could roll into Fredericton as the only band all month. It was a great way to have some awesome tours.
LW: How do you survive winters in Toronto?
LC: The only thing that has really saved me was investing in some serious footwear this season. Usually I try to cram extra wool socks into my Vans while booking tours in warmer climates. This year we're home writing new jams, so it’s all about being more Oi and getting a pair of boots.
LW: What are you most looking forward to for the March edition of Long Winter?
LC: I'm really looking forward to watching S.H.I.T. play again. I think they're easily one of the most exciting new bands that's come up in years. Not even for Toronto hardcore, but new bands in general. Its not often that you have a band pushing new ideas and not giving a single fuck about the consequences. Whether they fit into a certain scene or genre, whether people think they're cool, those dudes give zero fucks and are making music just for themselves. Very stoked.
Interview by Tom Beedham