By Ryan Meehan
Canada’s Cancer Bats will be back on the road next week in the US, performing new cuts from their upcoming album, Searching For Zero, this March! The tour kicks off on March 15th in Detroit, and runs through March 28th with the final show of the tour at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, NY. This will be the first chance fans in the states will have to hear brand new music, including the previous released tracks “Satellites” and “Arsenic in the Year of the Snake“. The confirmed list of shows is below, with more to be announced shortly, including performances at this year’s SXSW festival! Watch the music video for “Satellites” now at cancerbats.com, and check out the lyric / in-studio performance video for “Arsenic in the Year of the Snake” at youtube.com/cancerbatsofficial. Cancer Bats previously announced a co-headlining European tour with While She Sleeps for April 2015. Tickets and album bundles for the tour are on sale now at ticketmaster.co.uk. The beloved multiple-JUNO nominated hardcore-punk-metal band’s fifth studio album features 10 tracks and is available for pre-order at cancerbats.com. Fans in the US can pre-order at metalblade.com/cancerbats. Produced by legendary multi-platinum producer Ross Robinson (At The Drive-In, Slipknot, The Cure, Sepultura, glassjaw), Searching For Zero is simultaneously the most melodic, yet menacing Cancer Bats release, described by bassist Jaye Schwarzer as a “raw, open wound.” The record incorporates the crude hardcore punk of their 2006 debut, Birthing The Giant and more metal leanings of 2008′s Hail Destroyer, while pushing the heavy hybrid sounds of 2010′s Mayors Bears Scraps and Bones and 2012′s darker Dead Set On Living to a new plateau. The choruses are hookier, the screams more savage, the riffs more vicious, the songs more powerful. This is Cancer Bats at their pinnacle – their “True Zero”, and we hoist our horns high in the air to recognize vocalist Liam Cormier as our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: When you and Scott first set out to put together a new project back in the summer of 2004, what did you two want to accomplish with the new band that you felt you were not able to achieve within your previous musical endeavors?
LC: When Scott and I first started the band it was just to have fun and play some different styles of music from our other bands. Scott was playing in a Black Metal band and I had just been playing drums in straight forward hardcore bands. When we first started we lived 6 hrs from each other so we’d only jam once a month if that and it was just myself on drums and Scotty playing guitar. Pretty crazy to look back at how far we’ve come since.
RM: What was your initial reaction when you found out that you were going to be recording with legendary metal producer Ross Robinson; and what would you say are the three best attributes about working with him?
LC: I was the first one to reach out to Ross on the phone and see if he was down to work with us. We only spoke for about 10 minutes, but in that short conversation we hit it off right away and I went back into practice and was like “Ross is the best and we totally need to record with him”.
Three best things about working with Ross would be:
#1 He’s the most stoked dude ever! Ross’s positive vibe is none stop and he’s the most pumped dude I have ever met.
#2 He’s all about pushing everyone and getting the best performance out of every aspect of the song. Even when it’s just adding tambourine on a small part, he’ll get you so stoked to play the SHIT out of that tambo!
#3 He’s worked on so many different bands and knows how to work with everyone and get the best performances out of them. When you throw an idea at him he’ll be like “dude totally we did that on the Cure album!” Or he’s like “we used this trick on the Sepultura album” or “the Norma Jean guys used to love this trick” it’s the most inspiring person to be around.
RM: The new album is titled “Searching for Zero”…How confident are you that this is your best record; and what if anything did the band try to do differently in the studio in comparison to what you were able to put together with “Dead Set on Living”?
LC: I’m so pumped on this new record. We really wanted to take our time and do something that not only pushed ourselves further than our last record but also was something really fresh for the band at this point. We ended spending more time writing this album than all 4 of our previous records combined. In the studio we did everything differently. We tracked the drums as a live band, playing along with Mikey in the same room. Then from there we would set up and finish a different song each day. Also something different even for Ross, we would track bass and then I would sing vocals to finished bass and scratch guitar and then we would track all the guitars to the finished vocals so they could set the vibe of where the guitars would go. Everything was different for this album other than the 4 of us making it.
RM: What made you decide to select “Satellites” as the track that would become the first video off of the new record? Who directed that clip; and how in the hell did you manage to get through that entire shoot without that field and everything in it catching fire?
LC: We were all super pumped on that song and thought it just really stood out as something different and good way to really shake things up and show our fans what they were in store for with this album. For the video it was tough finding a director so I just took on the roll of organizing everything and we just asked all of our friends in film and television to come out and lend a hand. So we had a bunch of buddies with cameras and I gave everyone safety goggles and we started shooting a ton of fireworks! Luckily my girlfriend owns a motorcycle store called TownMoto and she hooked us up with all the safety gear for Mikey so he wouldn’t get burnt. Proper stunt man styles !
RM: How would you best describe where you’re at as a vocalist now that the band has been together over a decade? Over the past five years, what the biggest difference you’ve noticed in your own voice and your ability to write vocal patterns that you know you’ll be able to duplicate live?
LC: When we were on tour with Gwar I remember asking Brockie if he ever had trouble with his voice and he told me “once you’ve been screaming for 10 years you’ll be unbreakable, you won’t have to warm up, you can play 3 hour shows, you can do whatever you want”. I really feel like that’s the only way to get better at singing is to just put in the time and build up the muscles and turn your throat into leather. I couldn’t have dreamed of singing these songs in 2005 or 2010 but now I’ve pushed it hard enough that I can finally do more with my voice and I understand how to do more. I will also say that it’s the trial and error of learning that certain parts don’t work live and what will even work better out of the studio. But even still I bite off more than I can chew. Going over Devils Blood in practice today, I know that song is going to kick my ass live for a while before I get a hold of it haha.
RM: You’ve said before that often yourself and different members “get really inspired by non-metal bands”…What are some of the artists who do not play heavy music that have had the most significant influence on you and your songwriting; and how do you go about translating that influence into hardcore and metal?
LC: Were all huge hip hop fans and for me as a lyricist listening to the story telling of GhostFace and also his cadence where he’ll have some songs that’ll be so laid back and in the pocket and then he’ll follow it with a track where he’s on every snare hit and ahead of every beat, it’s the best!
Another group we all love is The Band, we listen to them in the van all the time, I think most Canadians love The Band and Neil Young. With The Band like GhostFace is their ability to tell a story and describe characters and settings in just a simple verse chorus is super inspiring.
RM: When you’re playing a festival and either your set is over with or you don’t have to take the stage for an hour or two, what are some the activities that you and the other band members like to engage in to pass the time?
LC: at festivals we always love going and checking out different bands. That’s why I love European festivals so much because it’s such an amazing mix of different bands. I remember we were playing a festival with The Sword in Norway and before either of us played Raphael Saddiq was playing on another stage. So us and a few of the guys from The Sword went and watched Mr. Saddiq CRUSH his set. He was dancing on top of everything he was playing solos, he was cracking jokes. It was the best thing I’d ever seen and if it wasn’t for the fact that it was at a festival like that I probably wouldn’t have been able to see it. Best day ever.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
LC: We’re all just super excited to have this record out and to have everyone finally check it out. From there were just excited to party in every city we can with all those willing!
Official Website: http://www.cancerbats.com/
Cancer Bats on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cancerbats
Cancer Bats on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cancerbats
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