For a local band getting started, the beginning can be daunting. Struggling to get people into your music, pay attention at shows. It’s rough. Luckily for Ottawa’s Sedition, they can’t relate to that problem. Having only played three shows in total, the immediate response they’ve received is very impressive. We sat down with vocalist Lance Crowder to get further insight into the band, what has transpired in its short life span, plus a whole lot more.
Hey Lance. Thanks for taking the time to chat. Lance Crowder: No worries, man. Always glad to talk about the band.
To start things off, how was the recent show in Brampton? Crowder: It was a really cool show. It was a mixed bill which I love, it’s similar to the shows I try to book in Ottawa. They’re really similar to what Brampton has got going on and it was good, all the bands were really great. Romancer was really cool and I had heard things about Single Wound and Perfect Limbs, so it was cool to see them live finally.
On the topic of mixed bills, you guys just got announced as an opener for Bearings’ album release show in Ottawa next month. Looking forward to that one? Crowder: Yeah, it’s gonna be fun, I love those guys. I’ve played in a band with some of them before and it’s always been fun to play mixed crossover shows with them all through the time of that band being around. It’s cool that they reached out and asked us to jump on this one, especially with the lineup they were able to put together. When they first asked us, I thought it was going to be a sort of, release show you would expect Bearings to have and then us. I said I was down to do it because it was a hometown show but it’s gonna be weird but they have them, a rock band and a local rapper. It couldn’t be more diverse. It’s gonna be a good time!
Have a listen to the recently released Sedition track, “On Sight”.
Does Ottawa usually have mixed bills like this? Crowder: Honestly, not really. It’s not like segregated based on genre, everybody supports each other. Like the members of Pine will roll out to a hardcore show, everybody supports Pine and Bearings. As far as support goes, there’s all sorts of crossovers but when it comes to actually playing together, there’s not a lot of it. I’ve always tried to do mixed bills in my life cycle of booking shows. I’ll always try to throw on at least one band that’s not weird to be on the show, but a little different just to add some variety to it.
It’s cool to see that becoming more of a thing lately and we’re currently working on doing a show with a DJ from up here. He’s friends with our buddy, Rehreh who is featured on a song of ours (“Price To Pay”), he’s a local hip-hop guy. We’re working on doing something like a crossover show with half heavy bands and half hip-hop and it’s just gonna be a party. Crossovers are always good. It’s how you get new kids into your stuff and it’s how you open up your following or friends to something else in the city. Ottawa is small, but it has a lot going on as far as music goes so it’s cool to be able to see that much crossover coming out lately.
Your Toronto show with Cold Shoulder back in November... Was that really only your second show? Crowder: Yeah, and our first show was a week before that. It was at a festival in Ottawa called Streets Ahead that I booked, it’s a fundraiser thing we do up here. So, that was our first and then we got asked to play that show with Cold Shoulder during that weekend, we said yes and we went down to Toronto. It might’ve been two weeks after but yeah, we’ve only played live three times.
That’s what really struck me about you. I had heard that it was only your second show and then you started playing and I thought, “is this seriously only their second show?” The crowd went off for you guys as soon as you started. Hate5six filmed your set, Exclaim! has a piece on you, and as of yesterday, you are now Anthony Fantano-approved, congratulations on that one by the way. How have you taken the immediate support your band has gotten? Crowder: It’s extremely humbling, it’s very cool to see. Given any member of the music scene in Canada, you’ll always see Canada be held at a different standard than the States or Europe. I don’t think the music industry here is any less strong than America, but I think there is a lot less opportunity, so a lot of bands that really deserve a lot of recognition don’t necessarily get it. That is not in any way to say that we deserve any of it, but I’m talking about bands like... For example, Pine. That’s a band that tours and works their asses off and not nearly enough people know about them. It’s not because of their skill level or the quantity or quality of the music, but because they’re from Canada.
I find any time you’re a Canadian band, it’s gonna be one of those things where people say, “Yeah they’re really good for a band in Canada.” It’s very cool to see people that are outside of my social group give a shit. Being around for as long as I have been, I started booking shows when I was 15, I’m 27 now, I expected that kind of support from friends and bands, but this is way past anything that we were expecting. Brad from Exclaim! is a good friend and it was really cool of him to do the first write up on us and then he wanted to put out our single and add us to this list. He far exceeded anything that he wasn’t obligated to do. It really goes into him really supporting us and what we do with the platform that he is lucky enough to have.
I feel the same way with Sunny from Hate5six filming us. He did film the other bands at that Toronto show and it was really cool of him to make the trip up, but he has kept in touch since. We’ll make small talk here and there and that’s cool because that guy is a low-key celebrity as far as heavy music goes. The Fantano shit was weird. For a while, it was just funny to tweet stuff at him. That’s just what we do. We’re in no way trying to get noticed by any of these people, we’ll just tweet at them. Like I’ll go on our Twitter and I’ll tweet at Ludacris just saying, “Hey, listen to us” or something stupid.
More often than not, it just pans out which is really weird. We also got a retweet and a follow from Bif Naked like... The internet is wild man. It’s definitely been beneficial and a big part of this. It’ll start with our friend making a meme about our band and then it snowballs to people we don’t know. It’s just cool to see because we’re just dudes from Ottawa that aren’t trying to do music full time but, I don’t know. People seem to dig it and that’s cool.
Prepare to be “Sentenced” with a stream for this other standout track.
To be completely honest with you, I found your band because of your Papa John call-out on Twitter. I heard it and I knew I had to go further into it. Crowder: Man, the replies to that are so funny. I remember seeing one where it’s somebody like, “This is really funny. I wanna hear the full version of the song.” And we’re like, “No. We’re a real band and that’s just an outtake our friend did.” That wasn’t even for anything. Mike (guitarist for Sedition) was recording and he told me to go record a rant, callout, mosh call, etc... I can write lyrics but I’m not much of an improver. And then my roommate said he’d do it. He just started yelling about the weirdest, most obscure shit possible. That Papa John’s one is a part of a list of about 20 of these things he just yelled about and people lose their minds over it.
Thinking that he didn’t purposely do this to go after Papa John, which in itself is insane to call out a fast food chain. We just had a list of things that were going on at the time and that was one of them. Then Papa John’s put out that horrible apology tweet. Mike was just like, “Man, fuck that. Post it.” None of us knew that was happening. He just posted it to fuck with them and we saw the “likes” and replies it got and we just thought, “What the fuck?”
The internet is a weird, weird place. Shifting gears, what place do you find hardcore, which has noticeably grown in the past few years, plays in the current social climate? Crowder: Any sort of heavy or alternative music to most extents is a way to blow off steam. Whether it’s all you listen to or what you listen to sometimes, I think that’s how a lot of people use music. Growing up, I’d get pissed off at my parents when I was ten years old and I’d go listen to Limp Bizkit or one of those ridiculous bands that were heavy and adjacent but on the radio because no kid that age could access their own music back then. It’s an outlet for a lot of people and I think now that people are coming more prepared to convey concerns and feelings regarding social issues.
Lyrics and music are getting smarter. It’s not just hardcore and mainstream music, but it is definitely becoming a thing where now people who come from a community where they may feel unrepresented or their voice isn’t heard, they can go start a band and they can yell about what they see as flawed in modern society. That’s not only therapeutic to themselves because they’re getting it off their chest, but it’s also putting that message out there so that like-minded people can snowball onto that, find that sense of belonging and understanding, which I think is very important in modern music.
I think it’s why anybody with anything going on in their life gravitates towards going to shows. I know that’s who a lot of my friends and myself got into music, whether it be personal life, upbringing, mental health, etc... Music has become very important and useful in pointing out what you see is wrong in the world, getting shit off your chest or sharing your message. A band I don’t like can write a song and I’ll respect it because that’s their point of view and what they feel and I feel like because they put that constructive energy into it, it’s more accessible and you can feel it more whether you agree with it or not whereas if you go on Twitter and someone is pissing and moaning about something constantly.
It takes little effort to bitch on the internet when you're not faced with the repercussions, where I find it takes a lot of gull to go on stage and pick apart things you take issue with and put yourself out there for other people to critique and weigh in on. That was a bit of a tangent, I think I answered it.
“Lost Reality”? Just should set you straight....
Yeah, no worries. You got it perfectly. Going to your sound, it is reminiscent of that ‘90s metal, hardcore sound. That, on top of your whole presence, oddly reminded me of the Attitude-Era in WWE back in the day, if you’re a fan of wrestling. Have those things played a part in the band as well as you being a frontman? Crowder: Man, I’m a huge wrestling guy. It does and it doesn’t. I got into music because it was the only thing to do in my hometown and most of the friends I made in high school were into music so I would tag along. My first band sounded nothing like the music that I liked. I just wanted to be in a band so I sang, every song was just a punk beat and that was fun. I played in a band called At Odds and our whole aesthetic was like that we like wrestling. We had a Raw Is War rip for merch. Whether the other members knew it or not, all our songs were inspired by wrestling, lyrically or name-wise without being over the top and obvious.
Then I had a band called Contempt which was just a metal band and I’ve always grown through those different bands since it’s been at different points in my life. Everybody changes and everybody gives a shit about different things at different times. If I wanted to join a band and talk specifically about what I wanted to talk about, it would be a punk band because none of my lyrics are about interpersonal drama or issues or anything petty. It’s always about stuff I genuinely feel are wrong with the world or are wrong with society or whatever, which is what punk bands usually sing about.
But with Sedition, Mike, who wrote everything, he had this album done and it was his studio band, had a different lineup and then showed me it and I liked it and then he asked me to sing on it. On stage, I am dialed up to 11, but in day to day conversation, I’m not as high-amped. I get to say my message but the music behind it is very much beefy, impactful, heavy and I can do cool things on the songs. For example, my flows are absolutely influenced by hip-hop and nu-metal, they’re not 4/4 structured like how you would expect a band to sing on a song like that.
I think that’s why I gravitated towards it because I could do whatever I wanted and it would still sound heavy because of the music so I had a lot more leeway whereas in my band, Contempt which was very death metal... I’m very much going for that sound because it fits the mold whereas on this, I’d record a part and I’d say a P.O.D. or Hatebreed part would be cool, so I really got to mix it up and do things I’ve never done while talking about stuff I care about.
It’s been really cool because the music is hype and that gives me energy to pop off about shit that I care about and not put on a show but have fun. That’s why I’ve enjoyed being in this band more than any band I’ve ever been in. Because the music is so over the top, we can have fun with it, but not be a joke band, but not be serious and have fun with it, but then Mike is super professional and everybody in that band is really talented. It’s like a weird collaboration of everything you would want to do in a band without any of it feeling forced and it’s just really fun.
What is the appropriate “Price to Pay” for good hardcore? You tell us!
I tried to get questions from people in the Greater Toronto Area’s hardcore scene and have two here. The first asking, “What noun would you use to describe Sedition. Example, Sweatpants metal, tall tee HC, etc...” Crowder: I think the favourite way we’ve described it is like of course there’s that joke about it being dumb music, like meathead dumb music. It might have been No Echo or Exclaim! Basically, they said it was smart people writing dumb music or something.
Music made by smart people for dumb people Crowder: Yeah, that’s it. Yeah, I love that. That’s probably it or attitude-era slam.
The second I have here is if you guys have any music outside of punk, metal or hardcore that you guys dig? Crowder: Oh my god. So much. Our drummer literally listens to everything. He is an unapologetic nu-metal kid and all he listens to is hip-hop, nu-metal, pop, literally everything. I’m very much the same. If I went through my Spotify top artists, you might find one hardcore band and the rest is either hip-hop from the ‘90s or like Sum 41, who is probably my favorite band ever. I really like Ludacris. Don’t know why, don’t know what it is about him but I love his catalogue. I even like K-Pop. I like everything man, anything with a cool or groovy flow, I’ll listen to it.
Now this is something I was hoping on mentioning earlier but it must’ve slipped my mind. Going back to your Toronto show, what encouraged or inspired you to bring a set of nunchucks to the show? Crowder: Oh no... Basically, I just had those. I have a lot of weird shit like that. Like katanas, nunchucks, wrestling belts and just a lot of weird shit. When we played our first show, our friend Alex from Toronto brought a folding chair, which I straight up was not aware of because somebody tried to say that and was like, “Oh you’re playing that?” and we were like, “No.” I had no idea and you can hear me in the video express my shock. He just started swinging a chair around. He didn’t hit anybody but he was popping off and it was wild. Then it became a joke amongst friends like what are we gonna do next?
It wasn’t gonna be a thing, like in Brampton we didn’t do anything stupid, it'’ not something we’re gonna be going forward with. I think it was the morning we were supposed to leave for Toronto where we got a message from Adam (drummer for Cold Shoulder). It was a message from the venue saying, “Don’t bring folding chairs.” So I agreed and packed some nunchucks as I was packing, but then I said I wouldn’t do it but ultimately thought it’d be funny so I brought them so I could just hold them. I don’t really think about what I’m going to do or say on stage so I was just gonna have them on my person, but then my friend Drew asked me to throw them at him, so I did.
This peaceful lot from Ottawa have ironically declared “War Against All”!
Is that the guy we see in the Hate5six video swinging them around in the pit? Crowder: Yeah, that’s him. That’s another thing. A couple people were... not even mad but just like, “What are you doing?” To which I’m like, “No you’re absolutely right. It’s stupid.” But they were practice nunchucks and I threw them at my friend. I’m not here trying to get someone killed. I’m not about that at all. Sunny (of Hate5six) got a kick out of it and he’ll still occasionally post something about it. It was just meant to be a joke, but I guess I forgot that it wasn’t just going to be my friends there, but a lot of other people. I think most people got that it was just being ridiculous for the sake of being ridiculous, we’re not World of Pain trying to kill somebody.
It was just fun. I’m pissed, though, I didn’t even get them back. I went up to the guy to get them back and he was like “You brought nunchucks into the bar and now you want them back?” And I was like, “yeah.” After thinking about it, I just said never mind.
At least it made for good content. Crowder: I think he’s hanging them up behind the bar. If you go to the Hard Luck, let me know. The security guard said he would put them up, saying we’d be famous and I’d be the guy that whipped out nunchucks, which doesn’t really make me feel good since I had to go to Barrie for those.
Last question. I know some of you guys have school, work etc... Is there an end goal for Sedition whether it be being a full-time band or just playing shows every now and again? Crowder: Both if that makes sense. I’m 27 now and I don’t really wanna tour and play five small towns in a row and be broke, sleep on floors. But I also really enjoy being on stage. It’s probably the most fun I have. We definitely have stuff coming up and we’re working towards more. We’ll be playing with Typecaste in Montreal. We’re gonna play here and there, but I want there to be a reason to play. With Bearings, it’s our friends that put out a record and it’s not a normal show we’d play, so that’s cool, that hip-hop show is a weird collaboration so that’ll be fun and Montreal is my favorite place to play so we wanna do that.
We’ll play anything if it’s for a reason or worthwhile. We’re looking into getting visas but that’s where it gets foggy. It’s really expensive, but we have some opportunities in the States that I really wanna pursue. If it’s viable, we’ll do it, but right now it’s a lot of money to just drop a couple thousand, if not more, on visas to play a show here and there, but that’s a possibility. We’ll be putting out a reprint of our EP, War Against All, on tape with one single and then a cover that’s not announced yet, so we have new music coming soon. We’re gonna write more stuff, we might do a split, I don’t know. We just wanna have fun with it and do whatever really.
Beware the sounds emanating from “Site 117”!
It seems like that’s the beauty of hardcore. If you look at a lot of the bands coming out right now, they have jobs at home and tour on the side. It’s almost become the norm for these bands coming up. Crowder: The odds of making it and becoming a full-time career band in heavy music are astronomical. Bands like Turnstile, Power Trip and Code Orange come to mind, but those bands worked really fucking hard to get to where they’re at and I just don’t wanna do that. It’s a lot. I love that they’re working to make hardcore a household name. No matter what anybody says, hardcore is not some secret underground thing anymore and that’s really cool because when I first started getting into hardcore in like 2008, it very much was. You try to explain it to someone and they assume it’s like punk, but it’s hard to explain. My little brother is 12 years old and one of his favorite bands is Power Trip because of NXT.
Right. Even Code Orange. Didn’t they perform live on NXT? Crowder: Yeah, they did with Brandon from Incendiary for an Allister Black theme which was cool. To spiral back to your question, I don’t know about everybody else but that’s kinda what I wanna do. I wanna do stuff that I like doing outside of music through this band. We’re doing a theme song for a wrestler from the States. I love wrestling and I think about what I could do in wrestling. Like, I’m five feet tall so I’m not about to be a wrestler. We hit up this wrestler I follow on Twitter and he was down. We’ve been talking ever since and that’s been cool. I wanna play a wrestling show, that’d be sick.
Of course, an indie show, we’re not gonna play Wrestlemania, but to be a hardcore band that plays an indie show would be awesome. There’s so much crossover in our generation that anybody under 30 grew up liking the same shit for the most part. Like anime and comic books aren’t a weird, nerdy thing, heavy music, wrestling. For the most part, everything is mainstream now, one way or another, and it’s cool that there’s that much overlap now, so I wanna explore that and see where it takes us. I don’t see us doing month-long tours, but we’ll definitely do runs here and there.
You’ve already mentioned your upcoming shows, but is there anything else you’d like to add? Crowder: Just thanks to anybody that’s listened, come out to a gig even though there’s only been a few. I’ve said it to my band and on Twitter but the coolest thing ever is that I can write a song like “Sentenced” which is about me growing up with a physical disability and there’s people that resonate with that whether they’re going through mental illness or whatever. The fact that we play that and there’s pile-ups of kids I don’t know singing along is really fucking cool and I’m really grateful for being a part of this band. Thanks to anybody that has booked us or is trying to book us, has picked up a shirt or anything like that. It’s all really humbling and it means a lot to myself and everybody else in the band.
Lance, thank you so much again for taking the time to chat. Crowder: Thanks for having me. It was a good time.
As mentioned, Sedition have a couple shows coming up that you can check out below.
02/15 - 27 Club - Ottawa, ON w/ Bearings
03/17 - Piranha Bar - Montreal, QC w/ Typecaste