When you think about heavy metal music or hardcore and punk rock, you don’t normally think Kathmandu, Nepal. Yet, when I had a chance to reach out to the lead singer of Cancer Bats, Liam Cormier, that was exactly where the band was headed.
Having been in this band for over 13 years, many opportunities have presented themselves and this just happened to be one of those special circumstances, being asked to partake in Silence Fest.
Since forming the band in May of 2004, Cormier along side guitarist/co-founding member, Scott Middleton, with the later addition of Mike Peters (drums) and Jaye Schwarzer (bass), have put out six LPs and six EPs. The most recent of which is The Spark That Moves. An album that the band felt would be best served as a secret, surprise release; which is counter-intuitive to most releases in the music industry.
“I had the idea [to do a surprise release] because we had already booked the Hail the Destroyer ten-year anniversary tour. So, I knew that everyone who I would want to hear the new album would already be at these shows. All of our friends were already going to be at the Lee’s Palace and London, Ontario, so why don’t we do a ‘Run the Jewels’ thing or what you see in a lot of hip-hop when artists drop a mix-tape out of nowhere. I would see something for a pre-order, where here is a video and you can get our album in three months. That’s just crazy. Because we do everything ourselves, it made it a lot easier. We dealt directly with the vinyl manufacturers, and because of that, they worked that much harder to get the album done. We even went and picked up the order ourselves and took pictures with all the staff,” said Cormier.
One of the best things having spanned such a long career, as Cancer Bats have, is the opportunity to hit the road with your friends. This Canadian run is no exception. Joining them on the tour are long time friends The Flatliners. Not necessarily sharing the same sound as Cancer Bats; The Flatliners lean to more of a straight forward punk ethos – one may have apprehension as to how each bands’ fans will receive the other. However, this doesn’t seem to be a concern for Cormier or the rest of his band mates.
“We had a little bit of test where we did two nights in Barrie, Ontario and a crazy night in Kingston; not to undersell Barrie. Then both bands also played Beau’s Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest. So, was it a mini-test of whether Cancer Bats and The Flatliners tour together? We have been trying to do this tour for the longest time. I always see ‘Flats’ shirts at our shows and vice versa. Canada is different. Canada is not like the rest of the world, where just because we come from different genres, it doesn’t mean kids won’t want to come and party for both of the bands. For example, in St. Catharines we are selling a second night – which is a testament to how much of a good vibe it is going to be. This is the Canadian scene that I know. We are all very different but at the end of the day, it is music for people who like music. You know? We can all hang, we can all party together!”
The old cliche of “we work hard but we play harder,” as cheesy as it is, may be the perfect description of Liam Cormier and Cancer Bats; or at least the reverse of it. You cannot achieve a career as long lasting without putting everything you have into it. Cormier executes that with the support of his band members as well as in his side project, Treadwell Clothing; a company that encompasses everything biker and motto-cross related that we will see more of in the new year. From jackets to bags to jerseys, you name it. 2019 also has the band slotted to continue touring, with a massive headline run of the United Kingdom and Europe with a hope to properly do across Canada, hitting some cities that they will miss on this current run.
“You know you gotta play the ‘Hammer.’ Club Absinthe has to be rocked!”
As well, Cormier will be embarking on another European motorcycle trip in support of Treadwell, beginning in England and ending in Morocco. For those who don’t know or have not seen any of Cormier’s social media, he loves motorcycles. In fact, love is probably not a strong enough word. Check out his adventures online to get an idea at @treadwellclothing on Instagram.
When it comes to the possibility of new material, Cormier has been massively inspired but the success of the recent shows, having written multiple new ideas with Schwarzer for a possible upcoming album.
“I feel like we are going to follow up sooner-than-later with a new record; possibly another EP. That’s just something that we never really do anymore because we have been so locked into full albums. But now, with how we have the band structured, we can just do whatever we want. That’s the fun part about where we are at. [For example] #2 from Anti-flag was asking us to possibly record in Pittsburgh and I was like, ‘Hell yeah!’, I love Pittsburgh. That’s just where we are as a band. Reap what you phreak and just put out really rad stuff that you are stoked on and people will be, generally, just as stoked as you.”
Hard work really does payoff. That in conjunction with a true passion for what you are doing and what you create is a testament to why Cancer Bats have been around for almost 14 years and will be around much longer than that.
Don’t miss this show and make sure you say hi to the boys.
Cancer Bats will be appearing at Warehouse in St. Catharines on December 12 & 13 with the Flatliners and Heart Attack Kids.