Q&A with Cancer Bats

Canadian hardcore kings, Cancer Bats, have had a hectic 2015. With the release of their fourth studio full-length album Searching for Zero—and getting back on the road after a near year and a half hiatus—Cancer Bats are back at it, and they’ve got their game faces on.

The Weal caught up with lead singer Liam Cormier to get his thoughts on Searching for Zero, the Cancer Bats upcoming tour, and we even managed to sprinkle a little Beastie Boys into the mix.

The Weal: Where are you guys at right now?

Cancer Bats: Toronto. I heard what it’s like in Calgary right now, so I won’t rub it in that I’m in a hoody! I probably shouldn’t talk, though, they were calling for today to be the last nice day anyways [laughs].

TW: Calgary’s not so bad. Chinooks are tight! Anyways, how hyped are you guys for this tour?

CB: So stoked. We love touring Canada. I feel like everyone kind of knows that at this point—it’s the best. The last time we came through was with Danzig and Pennywise, and those shows in Edmonton and Calgary were the best—probably the two best shows of the entire tour. We love coming back to places where we know the shows are wicked, and we’ve played SAIT so many times. We love Calgary.

TW: The Gateway is a pretty intimate venue, too. I’ve seen that be an intimidating thing for bands. I’m not getting that feeling here.

CB: It’s so cool. Even the fact that they have to have a barricade, it’s still as packed as it can get despite having that, it’s going to be the sickest show. I can see how it could be weird for bands, though. For us, we just feed off that energy, you know? The crowd is as much a part of the show as we are.

TW: The way it should be. Switching gears here a little, you and the band lost friends who died last year, and with the release of Searching for Zero this year, and after having listened to the album, I’m wondering if there was any kind of cathartic effort put into it?

CB: Absolutely, so much of that record is just that. I’m sure anyone who’s gone through that will tell you. While were on tour, we had all of these people that were pretty close to us, and we were finding out news from their families and loved ones while we were cruising the highway. Feeling that disconnect was kind of where some of the ideas for the record came. When we were working on the actual music, it’s like, ‘Oh, here’s the most impactful thing.’ And it was, even when we were just leaving a friend’s memorial. Honestly, it just seemed like there was no other way to deal with that, and also to honour those people in our lives.

TW: You guys also worked with a different producer on this album, right? Searching for Zero seems to be a fairly weighty tome, given all the change and soul put into it.

CB: Ross Robinson. Great guy. One of the big things, even once we decided we were going to work with Ross—or when Ross decided when he was going to work

with us—was learning his approach to making records. When recording an album you set out a click track, a series of audio clicks used to sychronize sound recordings. You record to this in a very almost computerized fashion, and we looked into him before hand

and got an idea of what he was about. It was kind of like, ‘Okay, I know for a fact that Ross Robinson hates the click, [and] wants to record a live record.’ That’s what we ultimately wanted to do. ‘Let’s start preparing for that now. Let’s start jamming these songs live.’ TW: Sounds like it could almost be a bit of a shock.

CB: Sort of, it was really awesome, though. We pretty well changed our whole mentality coming into this record, and almost forgot what we had come to learn as the norm for recording just in preparation to work with Ross.

TW: Now I need to ask: big Beastie Boys fans, or what?

CB: Oh man. Huge Beastie Boys fan. I’ll leave it at that.

TW: Cancer Bats are at The Gateway

Dec. 5, anything you want to close out on?

CB: Just encourage people to show up.

We’ve got such cool guys on tour with us this time. The dudes from Lord Dying are coming out with us. They’re a band out of Portland that toured around with our friends from Red Fang. When Red Fang couldn’t make it, they said “take these guys!” and we were introduced to Lord Dying. We’re hoping to have a lot of local bands in the mix as well at every show.

Just come out. And have your game face on.

TW: Will you guys have your game faces on?

CB: Oh buddy. You can’t come to Calgary without your game face on…

Thanks to Liam Cormier of the Cancer Bats.

Show at The Gateway Dec. 5, tickets on sale now.

Searching for Zero out now.

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