Interview: Cancer Bats [December 2015]

By Max Gayler

January will be the third time Cancer Bats have graced British soil in the space of ten months after a co-headline tour with While She Sleeps in April and appearances at Reading & Leeds in August. With this in mind, it will be the first time they’re doing shows solely for Cancer Bats fans, kicking things off at the Wedgwood Rooms in Southend-On-Sea and finishing at the Tufnell Park Dome in London, stopping by Glasgow on the way.

We caught up with vocalist Liam Cormier while he was getting some last minute merchandising done before the guys set off on a tour of North America. Liam told us about the band’s second home by the British coast, the importance of covers and the power of party bangers.

So you guys have got a huge 18-date tour over here in January: what made you come back so soon?

Yeah, we love it in the UK, that’s the long and short of it. It’s one of our favourite places to play and we definitely haven’t got enough of it. Especially when we were over for Reading & Leeds. We played the 100 Club and Fighting Cocks and just thought they were so sick. Those shows sold out quick so we thought ‘Let’s make sure we play fun shows like this all over the country and give everybody a chance’. Two shows have sold out already. Southend-On-Sea is actually our home away from home, it’s where our tour manager is from. We’ve spent a tonne of time there and for that show to be the first to sell out is incredible. Make sure you buy a ticket in advance for the rest of the shows, they’re all selling fast. We’ll definitely let people know how many tickets are left on the door if any each night, so follow our Twitter and our Facebook if you change your mind last minute.

You guys were here earlier this year. Was having a sell out tour part of the reason you’re coming back so soon?

It was the best! When we came over and played with While She Sleeps, those shows were so killer, but it was such a different vibe. Like obviously it’s packed out with their fans and our fans, which is awesome, but now we want to play some dirty and gnarly shows. It’s fun playing in front of a barricade with a huge crowd, but at the same time you just wish the stage wasn’t so tall. Those are the shows you remember. Nothing beats shows like the 100 Club, those shows when even the security are partying.

I bet you’re excited to have purebred Cancer Bats fans in the audience.

Yeah, totally. I mean in April the bill was so strong with Oathbreaker, While She Sleeps and us flip-flopping with headlining. It was definitely the best co-headliner we’ve ever done. That side of things was wicked.

Which bands do you think are keeping hardcore and punk alive?

I think there’s still some great stuff out there. I’m really into that new Palm Reader record and I’m definitely stoked that Frank Carter is playing with Ghost Of A Thousand’s drummer, that’s sick. I know that stuff is changing but there’s still plenty of bands that are doing it right.

For your new album, ‘Searching For Zero’, you had Ross Robinson producing it. Listening to the record you can hear his influence, but do you feel, having played the record for a few months, that his input translates live?

For sure. Those new songs are so gnarly. It’s something you always wonder when putting out a new record. You think about how they’re going to translate. Whereas with this album, we recorded it live and we know exactly how it’s going to sound. The only guesswork is the crowd’s energy. It’s almost like you know it in a way. Like the “woah” parts in ‘Satellites’ we always want to sing along to. That’s the vibe we had in the studio. We can’t wait to get people partying.

When you released ‘Dead Set On Living’ you said you were becoming more and more influenced by indie and pop records. Has this continued in the new record?

Yeah, definitely. I don’t know if you heard the cover we just did of Joel Plaskett – ‘Through & Through & Through’? It’s just out digitally right now. I know it’s just a cover but taking that different style of more indie rock and playing it like we do, it sounds so gnarly.

Your cover of ‘Sabotage’ was one of those songs that got you so much attention here in the UK, so it’s probably not a bad move.

Yeah, I was super pumped on that too. The only thing I now realise is that maybe in the UK people don’t know Joel Plaskett as much. I mean, we really want to play it live, so if the UK is up for it, then so are we.

When you released your latest record you were saying you wanted to make “party bangers”. You guys have always honed a manic live show: has that reputation followed through on this record when face-to-face with a crowd?

The banger content on this record is definitely there. It’s like chasing the holy grail. You know when you write a certain song that the party is going to go crazy. And you know when you put those on your record that it’s going to be a better show. Our main mantra when writing is basically ‘more bangers’. We play a song like ‘Brixton Water’ in our set and we then we play something else. We think to ourselves, “What would a hybrid of these two songs sound like?” I feel like that’s where Cancer Bats are now in their creative process.

I’ll definitely be there. Good luck with your tour of North America and we’ll see you next year.

We can’t wait.


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