Interview with Cancer Bats vocalist Liam Cormier

- Dec 29, 2008 at 02:36PM
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It was a cold winter’s day in the Toronto neighbourhood of Little Italy when I met up with Cancer Bats frontman, Liam Cormier. It may have been freezin, but we heated things up with a wicked awesome chat about politics, the continent’s impending financial crisis, touring and spending some good times at home. Here's how the meet and greet went down.

To start off, do you usually refer to your band as Cancer Bats or the Cancer Bats? It is technically Cancer Bats, right?
Liam: Yeah, on paper it's usually just Cancer Bats. Let’s make this more relaxed. Let’s sit ‘cause I don’t want to stand up and we can just put [the voice recorder] in between us and we can just hang out.

Yeah for sure man. Ok well, that means I won twenty bucks so that’s good. [laughs]
Liam: How’d you win twenty bucks?

Oh, I said it was Cancer Bats; I bet against my friend.
Liam: Oh! [both laugh]

There we go, free drinks! Uh, you guys seem to be able to fit in with a lot of bands. For example when playing a show like a couple of years ago you guys opened for The Horrorpops, right? I’m pretty sure you guys played there.
Liam: No.

Ah man, that’s called too many drugs in high school!
Liam: [laughs] Hell of a show, it was you guys, The Horrorpops and Led Zeppelin.

The friend I was there with said it was Cancer Bats, I don’t know. Looked like you guys, whatever! Alright, do you have a favourite band to play with?
Liam: Uh, shit! We’ve played with so many like, rad bands that we’re friends with so I don’t know if I could say just one. But like, so many tours, like the [alexisonfire] guys I love touring with. Comeback Kid, Billy Talent, Every Time I Die, The Bronx, Rise Against, fuckin’... yeah. Even this tour, Holly Springs Disaster and Polar Bear Club are all like the best dudes so its just fuckin’ sweet times.

Sweetish! But even them, they’re not all exactly the same genre; how do you...
Liam: That’s the thing, we’re not like a metal band or a punk rock band or a hardcore band, we kind of fit into all this stuff. It's cool because sometimes we have to do a lot of trial and error, you know? Like we can’t play hardcore shows like this or we can’t, you know what I mean, do certain tours like that. Right now we’re trying to play more and more metal stuff. We realize we can do punk rock tours, we can do like I guess what you would say “emo” tours. Like tour with alexis and Funeral for a Friend, you know it goes over pretty well. So now we’re starting do like, now we have an In Flames tour like in England. It's like we’re trying to go more that metal route and see how that’ll work, you know, as well? ‘Cause we realize that we can’t really tour with like every hardcore band under the sun as much as we consider ourselves a hardcore band.

Yeah, okay well, you guys played a show at MTV Live back in July...
Liam: Yeah, it’s the second time too!

Really?
Liam: Yep.

Well do you feel that’s a bit of an odd move for a band in your genre?
Liam: Um, I don’t know. I think it's just like you get to a point where you have opportunities that come up and regardless of whether, you know, people think it’s a good idea. It's just like, yeah we should do this because there’s some kids that’ll find out about our band that normally wouldn’t you know? Think about it, in Canada especially there’s so many kids that live in like some remote spots that may not know about that style of music, you know and you live in Toronto basically.

Like Little Current?
Liam: Yeah or some place like on the east coast and the only record store is like the Wal-Mart. Like you may only think that heavy bands sound like Disturbed. You know what I mean? So, you get to see something like that because of TV. I think that was the whole thing with alexisonfire like being the first heavy band on Much Music, you know? Like, normally punk rock bands and hardcore bands wouldn’t really care if they were on there, but the fact that all these kids are finding out about this band that, you know what I mean, doesn’t sound like anything else they’ve heard before is because of that exposure that they’ve gotten on that, so, I don’t know, we did it! Fucked Up played MTV a bunch of times too, so....

Really? That’s, uh, surprising.
Liam: Yeah, Fucked Up shows are crazy though. They played in a bathroom last time, you should Google it. Yeah, they honestly like, destroyed the place and got charged, like really badly.

That’s what happens.
Liam: Yeah, exactly.

Well, after today you have a bit of a break until February. When you hit the road again, you’re not stopping ‘til May. Do you ever get tired of touring?
Liam: I think it’s you don’t while you’re in it, you know what I mean? There’s some things that you miss. But like with this, we’re almost done, you know, and that’s when you’ll start to be like exhausted and like you just can’t wait to be finished, you know, like we’re gonna be done tomorrow for a month so I’m just like, man I can’t wait. But, if we had another month of tour I’d be like, “Oh, just another show!” So, you know what I mean, you have different mentalities depending on what point you’re at.

How do you spend those few weeks between tours? Just like, partying it up or...
Liam: Uh no, there’s a lot of stuff that I miss about just being home so I find in a lot of cases because we spend all our time at bars and stuff, there’s the other things that like, I just want to cook dinner at my house, you know I just want to like watch a DVD with my girlfriend and like not go out.

Eat some ravioli?
Liam: [laughs] Yeah, exactly! Just like chill out. It's like those times that you’re just like, you know, I miss like all the domestic stuff like I miss riding my bike or doing groceries. Yeah this is like a novel thing foe me ‘cause like I’m eating food that, you know, I can’t bring in a van or bus, you know?

Yeah I couldn’t imagine, I pretty much work all the time then like, go home and find a can of ravioli in the back, and it's just something that you haven’t eaten in a while.
Liam: Yeah, it would be like if you spent every day at your job, you know what I mean? Like you went to your job for thirty days straight, kind of at the end of it you’re like, I just want something different from my job. At the same time my job is like, well, less pain but more fun.

Okay, are there any plans for new albums as of yet?
Liam: Yeah that’s what we’re going to be doing in January. We’re just going to be some writing and stuff.

How do you feel the financial situation of our continent will affect your ability to tour and make music?
Liam: I don’t know, I think it’s going to get a little slimmer. I think the thing that’s gonna happen is a lot of like packages are going to be put together in a bit of a more cautious way, do you know what I mean? ‘Cause I think that a lot of live shows are still gonna keep it selling. Just because they don’t have as much extra money to throw around it's not like they’re gonna stop wanting to have fun you know? And you look at the bigger tours like fuckin’ AC/DC sold out four nights in a row at the Sky Dome. That’s 40,000 people times 4. So those many people at like probably at least a hundred dollars a pop. They want to go to shows and they’ll still want to go, so I think it just comes down to those packages that are gonna make a lot more sense ‘cause people are gonna want to spend their money on them. Which is rad too like that puts more focus on the tour to be like yeah, we really need to be making something that people still want to come out and see. You can’t get away from it, you know?

Yeah, but if the recession were to hit full force and being in a band showed no chance of profit whatsoever, what could you see yourself doing to make money and survive?
Liam: I guess at that point, if the economy is totally wrecked, I’d just move to the woods and wait for it to blow over, just hang out. ‘Cause if we have to put an end to touring, then stuff is really fucked! Do you know what I mean? Like the apocalypse is coming or there’s a world war going on.

Yeah, the last depression lasted ten years and the way we got out of it was World War II.
Liam: Yeah, exactly so you know what I mean. I don’t think things are gonna be as harsh as like everyone is kind of forecasting it to be. I don’t it’ll be because like I’m seeing from traveling all over Europe and England then coming back to Canada, I just don’t feel like it's as bad as everyone is playing it up to be. It's just like everyone is so indoctrinated to have this media scare dictate how they live at this point so like anything that’s said in the media is the most, you know, serious thing in their lives. Like there’s a ton of shooting in Toronto or oh shit, everyone in Toronto is getting stabbed or shot and then its like oh there’s a recession so make sure you don’t spend your money. And everyone’s like, “Oh shit, don’t go out tonight!” You know? Which is fine, it’s good to be cautious and it’s good to have that like buffer for the economy, but I feel like everyone’s freaking out and it's being like the biggest deal; it's just like you know, if anything we spend too much money on stupid shit. So yeah everyone could do with cutting back on that and being a lot more thoughtful with like their use of energy and money. So it's like, there’s the good and the bad but people don’t need to go overboard with it. People’s panic or whatever is in the newspaper for a whole week.

It’s really fucked too ‘cause our country has been running fine and we have no government right now.
Liam: Yeah, like nobody notices, I feel like the way that the Canadian legal system or with the parliament, they called an election and nobody knew even who was running. There’s such a focus on the US election, everyone knew what was going on in that case but nobody had any idea like who they were gonna vote for and most people didn’t vote.

Yeah, oh up here? Yeah I didn’t even vote. No.
Liam: No, we were out of the country so I’ll take that one but that was my whole thing like, whatever. I feel like nobody’s really that bothered, you know what I mean, the system isn’t that fucked. We don’t really need that much of help, whereas in the United States their system is fucked! So having their President in power is actually like a big deal.

Mhmm, but everyone’s putting so much like, you know, hope in Barack Obama like “Oh, Barack’s gonna be here! Don’t worry every thing’s gonna be fine!”
Liam: I guess I see it as, it's almost more like just somebody with a completely different agenda is in power. I think the fact that he’s black is like incredible and that’s a huge step for the United States. And that is going to like, maybe start to take care of some of the insanely racist problems that the country has been bogged down with. I don’t think its going to be the be all, end all but just the fact that it's someone who isn’t like a right wing Christian, you know what I mean, is going to like make some stuff a little bit easier. Like you have someone who doesn’t believe in dinosaurs running your country, you know? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. So now that you have someone that’s maybe a little more enlightened and he’s going to have himself with people who are a little more enlightened, I think things are gonna get a bit better. All I care about is that gas prices are down.

[laughs] Oh yeah! Okay, last but not least my boys from the band Shatter Theory want to know if your ego gets massaged in anyway when bands that are in their initial stages of playing together cover songs written by your band.
Liam: I think its crazy! I don’t know if it like, massages my ego cause I don’t think I’m like some big dude. If anything it makes me think like more like on the same level. ‘Cause I remember when I was like younger, I’m assuming they’re a younger band, cause I’d be weirded out if like, actually, no, fuck it! If it was a bunch of 30-year-old dudes it’d still be cool. But I remember when I was kid, I played like Strung Out songs and NoFX songs and you know, whatever songs and then as I got into hardcore it’s like oh let’s learn a Harvest song or you know, Hatebreed song ‘cause that’s what you’re stoked on and that’s what you’re learning how to play. I think of it more as just like, that’s cool ‘cause that’s the same stuff I was doing when I was a kid. That’s how you learn, that’s how you get into the stuff, you rip off other bands. [sarcastic smile]
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