The world of punk music still exists (just because you don't hear it on the radio doesn't mean it's not there), and it's going harder than ever. Cancer Bats are a great example of a band that's pushing forward and continuing to shape the genre. The band are currently five albums deep into their career, and hit the road earlier this summer to open for punk legends Danzig and Pennywise. Vocalist Liam Cormier answered some questions for Shameless Promotions from the road, talking about the band's most recent work, Searching for Zero.
After listening to all five Cancer Bats albums and the first EP, I have to say that the newest record, Searching For Zero, really did showcase the most growth from you guys as a band. I felt like there was more of a willingness to experiment with melody. How did you approach the making of this record in comparison to any previous efforts, like Dead Set On Living?
The biggest difference with this album was having more time [to] work on everything. We've always just blasted out records and gone back on tour, where as with this album we wanted to spend time working on it and also have more time at home. This gave us a chance to try new things, but also see them through and make sure they still worked in the context of the band. I think lots of times in the past we would try some new ideas, but scrap them in the end because we didn't have the time to make it work.
When you’re crafting a song that’s longer and maybe a bit more progressive in length (like “Satellites”) versus a song that’s much faster and straight-forward in attitude (like “All Hail”), is the songwriting process drastically different? Or does knowing how to write both types of songs go hand-in-hand?
With both those songs, it came down to demoing [sic] them and cutting them down in length. Originally, both songs were twice as long and we had to cut them down to the core, badass parts and have a punk ripper and a total thrash banger instead of two long boring songs. (laughs)
Had you ever had any experience singing, rather than screaming, before the new record? I hadn’t heard a hint of a melody on really any previous Cancer Bats albums (and of course, the screaming is still super badass).
The most experience I had was in the covers we've done for our Black Sabbath side project, Bat Sabbath. I had to really learn how to tackle some of those Ozzy parts to make things work. Once I was comfortable with those, I found I was able to sing out side of my normal range and try new things while we were writing.
If I’m correct, I read that you recorded Searching For Zero with Ross Robinson. What did he bring to the table as a producer for you guys?
You are correct! Ross is the best dude ever and brought tons of ideas to all of the songs we showed him. We had finished writing the whole album when we went to Venice Beach, so Ross helped us to punch everything up to the next level. I really hope we get to record with him again on the next album.
You’re currently out on tour with Danzig and Pennywise, two rather legendary icons in the punk rock universe. What kind of mindset do you put yourself into when getting ready to open up a show of this size and this nature?
This tour was really interesting to see where we would fit in. When we're on tour with a metal band, we're the punk band on the bill, and when we're with a punk band we're considered the metal band. So on this tour, we had to gauge the audience whether we should play a more punk type of set or a more metal type of set. Metal won in the end and we just played all our heavy and stoner jams. The whole tour was amazing though, crowds were ready to party every night and we just tried to get that party started as best we could. We wouldn't be playing music if it wasn't for both those bands.
The next two questions I ask to every artist that interview, sort of as a closing statement. First: what kind of message, if any, would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
Our biggest message is just being positive and having a good time. Everyone is welcome at a Cancer Bats show and I hope everyone knows and feels that and has the best time ever at one of our shows.
Lastly, what does music mean to you?
Music to me is the great unifier, the one thing that brings us all together, beyond language or culture or religion, we can all agree on that one thing and its amazing to be a part of that.
Cancer Bats are currently gearing up to play at GWAR-BQ in Richmond, VA, and then travel overseas for a European tour. For more on the band, visit www.facebook.com/cancerbats
his has been another Shameless Promotion.