Interview with Burning Brides frontman Dimitri Coats

- Jun 26, 2009 at 12:28PM
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Even though NXNE is coming to a rest for 2009, there are still amazing bands who played this year that need to be talked about. One of which is Burning Brides. With music that sounds like a bit of a throwback to what some people like to call “the better days of rock and roll,” this band knows how to make straight up rock without sounding stuck in the past. They just recently celebrated the ten year anniversary of their first live show back in May and, naturally, a lot has changed since then. But Burning Brides have continued to keep it going fresh and keep it going hard with music that you can’t wait to have batter your brain. I spoke to guitarist and vocalist Dimitri Coats about all that is Burning Brides.

I know it’s been quite a few months, but firstly I’d like to say congratulations on your “fourth member.” How’s rock and roll parenthood treating you?
Dimitri: Thanks. It's great. She's a tiny little human we nick named Dr. Chubbers. We love her so much and it's amazing we've been able to move forward as a band. Melanie's mom has been kind enough to come with us and watch over her while we're rocking out. It's worked out pretty good so far.

You guys have been touring off of Anhedonia for about a year now and I know that was the same relative time span between the release of your previous two albums. Is there another one in the works at all right now?
Dimitri: We actually plan on writing up here in Canada during some of the downtime we have between Quebec festival dates. Anhedonia just came out through Big Fat Truck in Montreal and they've put us to work over the next couple months. Should be a fun time. Our new drummer Jeff Watson has really added something exciting to the band that's been missing for a while and I think it's going to be the best lineup yet. Very excited about this new chemistry. Brings us back to our roots.

How would you describe the musical development of Burning Brides over the past ten years?
Dimitri: The first album, Fall Of The Plastic Empire, is a party. We had this carefree attitude and energetic vibe that changed as we moved into our second record Leave No Ashes. We toured Empire for a while, got signed, and then had to re-release it which was great because it meant we could travel the world but we were ready to move on. We're a band that tends to thrive when you let us do our own thing in the studio. Ashes is a solid album but a bit sterile in comparison. We hired a big producer, went into a big studio, and lost a bit of that spark that made us special in the first place. Hang Love is a survival album - surviving the music industry, each other, and the excesses of the lifestyle. It's our heaviest record and one of my favourites because we took the reigns and reinvented ourselves. The songwriting keeps getting better. Anhedonia was an experiment in trying to make an album in only 3 weeks. It's really honest and stripped down. I also like how we were able to release it only a year after Hang Love and keep the ball rolling. I'm really proud of the fact that all our records sound different from one another.

It seems like you guys have experienced a whole lot of sides of the music industry. You’ve done the major label thing and the D.I.Y. thing. You’ve played the stadiums and the small gigs. What sort of an impact do you think that’s had on the band?
Dimitri: Life is about experience and this band has done it all. We feel very fortunate to have had so many incredible opportunities. We love doing this. We never set out to be rock stars. Everything else is icing on the cake. Playing a club to a bunch of your fans is just as rewarding as opening for a huge band and getting to play for thousands. Don't get me wrong. It's hard to stay afloat when the kind of music you're known for isn't that popular anymore. You have to stay true to your beliefs and remember why you got involved in the first place. It's not an easy way to make a living.

Why did you decide to leave the major label scene?
Dimitri: It fell apart. The label we were on literally crumbled. A lot of them did. The music business is and has been lost for some time now. It's all up in the air. We're lucky to have made it out the other side.

Well we can’t have you playing NXNE and not talk about it, right? So, what do you think are the importance of festivals such as NXNE for both new and established artists?
Dimitri: It's a good time. There's so much going on. Festivals are a great excuse to party and celebrate life. We feel very grateful to be invited again and to have met so many cool people in Toronto over the years. We're always looking to make new fans and this is a great way to do that. We've been around a while but for those bands who are just arriving on the scene it can mean walking away with a real buzz. We got signed largely because of what happened to us at SXSW years ago. NXNE is really no different in that sense.

What do you enjoy the most about playing these types of events?
Dimitri: The audiences are ready to go. Everyone wants to have fun. Each night isn't like a typical night on the road. It's a 3 day party. I doubt we'll get much sleep.

You guys are known for having an explosive live show. But with all the touring from where do you get this constant energy?
Dimitri: You try to get rest whenever and wherever you can. Sometimes you're hurting before the show but once you hit the stage you forget about all that. The adrenaline kicks in and you're off to the races.

I think it’s safe to say that your music is influenced by a lot of the classic greats of rock and roll. Is there anything that you guys are listening to right now that you think would surprise your fans?
Dimitri: Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Led Zeppelin. [laughs]

If you could give one reason why everyone should know Burning Brides, what would it be?
Dimitri: Well I don't think everyone should know us but everyone who likes rock music should because we're the real thing and there ain't a whole lot of that going around these days.  [ END ]
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