NXNE is officially well on its way to overrunning Toronto with movies, conferences and, of course, a ton of live music. And one of the bands playing today that you should be setting your eyes and ears on is Ottawa’s Benefit of a Doubt. Catchy doesn’t even begin to describe this band’s melody driven songs. They have a brand new album to their name and are touring to get it out there. With a sound that could definitely climb the charts and make its way into people’s hearts, it’s not at all far-fetched to guess that these boys have a whole lot ahead of them.
You guys were in Toronto back in March for Canadian Music Week and you’re here, yet again, for another huge festival. What keeps you coming back to events like this? Patrick: We love having the opportunity to showcase our talents among musicians from other countries and genres. Festivals like CMW and NXNE are more than just showing up to play a show. You get to meet so many people in the music industry that share a passion for music and everyone has a story to tell. Also, we love playing Toronto, so that helps too.
Are you ever able to find the time to go check out other bands and showcases while you’re around? Patrick: Yeah definitely! We love checking out new bands and going to support bands that we have played with before. The music scene is very community-oriented, so we definitely try to see what else is out there and support our friends.
Let’s talk the new album. How do you think this one reflects on the band compared to your first EP? Patrick: I think this album shows a lot of maturity and a more polished sound. We tried to step up every aspect of the recording process. We spent a lot of time writing and trying out new things in Ottawa and then underwent demanding pre-production sessions in Los Angeles. From there we travelled with our producer, Stephen Short, to Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, Texas. The entire process required a lot of focus and I think focused is a good way to describe the sound. I think the preparation we took before recording is pretty evident, specifically in Chase's vocals. In the end, we are really happy with how it turned out and hope everyone else is too!
Did much change for you guys in the year between the releases of the two albums? Patrick: I think a lot of things changed for us as musicians and people in the last year. Music went from being a hobby to a lifestyle. We have pretty much sacrificed everything to focus on making music and bringing music to fans. Benefit of a Doubt is a band that the four of us truly believe could continue to succeed so we're at the point now that we're willing to do anything to see it through. We have made some great connections and we have people helping us that also believe in what we're doing so that helps a lot.
And since you guys have been touring in the midst of the new release, how’s the reaction been on the road so far to the new material? Patrick: So far it seems people are really digging it. A lot of shows now seem to be indie, hardcore, or punk nowadays so when a pop/rock band like us hits the stage it's something different that people can connect to. We always strive to make a connection with the crowd and I feel as though we have been pretty successful in doing that on this tour.
Any notable compliments so far? Patrick: For me one of the best/funniest compliments was when we played a show in Sault Ste. Marie. A guy walked up to us and said he only liked punk music and was looking forward to giving us a hard time. He continued by saying that he really liked our sound and he ended up buying a t-shirt and CD. Little things like that often stick out because you know you're music had at least some of an effect on this person.
Do you have a favourite song to play live? Whether you just love playing it or one that you find to be a real crowd pleaser? Patrick: We all love playing the song "We Are the Broken," and it has turned out to be a crowd pleaser. That song has evolved over the past year and we always play it with a lot of emotion. The song has kind of an anthem-like quality to it so I think audiences dig it.
About touring, I’ve been watching your tour videos. I have to say, they kept me entertained! But what is life on the road exactly like for Benefit of a Doubt? Patrick: Life on the road is awesome... most of the time. We all love playing a different city every night and the drive to connect with audiences is what keeps us going. [laughs] No pun intended. We are like 4 brothers in a van so we have fun, laugh, fight, but in the end love each other and know we have each other's back. There's no better bonding experience then travelling in a van with 3 other dudes and rocking out night after night.
You have tour dates set up for a good chunk of the summer. What are plans beyond them? Patrick: The way things are looking we will be touring Canada again in August/September with a band from Pittsburgh called The London and then doing a bunch of dates in the US during October and November. Also, we will be filming a video for the song "We Are the Broken" in mid-July in the Barrie, Ontario area so come on out if you want to support us.
Let’s set up a scenario here. Someone just finished listening to the new album for the first time. Or even, someone just walked out of one of your shows for the first time. What do you hope is going on their head? Patrick: I hope after someone listens to our album they are like, "Wow, this band is awesome and I can't wait to go check them out and bring them Kraft Dinner when they are in my city." If someone walked out of our show for the first time I hope they are thinking, "Man I really had to pee but the bathroom was full, maybe there is a bush outside or something... I hope I don't miss too much of their set." And if someone walked into our show for the first time I hope they are like, "Why haven't I seen these guys before? I really like them. They look like they are having a lot of fun on stage, even the bassist with the red hair." [ END ]