Interview with Sons & Lovers bassist Josh Hogan

- Jan 30, 2008 at 03:28PM
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The Toronto scene always has new bands popping up and coming through for a visit. Sons & Lovers, though not a new band, are starting to make a name for themselves in and around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Many things are soon to come for this North Ontario band, some of which I herein discussed with bassist Josh Hogan. If you haven't heard them yet, check 'em out and read the interview. I know you want to....

Ok well, let’s start off with the basics. How did Sons & Lovers come to be?
Josh: We all started off in other bands when we were all in high school. I think each of us learned important lessons from our other groups, playing different styles of music and dealing with different personalities. Each of our bands broke up at the same time. The scene in Thunder Bay was a small one but it was full of fantastic musicians and awesome songwriters, so we decided that we would to get together and jam on some tunes and just see how it felt. We had a blast and we remembered why we got into playing music in the first place... because it was a good time! So we decided to take it a step further and make a solid effort at writing the best music we could and playing around as much as possible. Then we took the show to Toronto.

Where did you guys come up with the name Sons & Lovers?
Josh: We were walking home from a pizza place and I saw a pile of books on the sidewalk. We took advantage of this seemingly free pile of literature and rooted around, finding what would become a bunch of unreadable shitty books. I picked up one called Sons and Lovers and thought that it would make a pretty cool album name. We had a laugh at it, and I got through a couple very dry chapters and threw it aside. Then, when we finally realized that our old name (When We Dead Awaken) was a pain in the ass to say and to remember, I came back to the idea of sons and lovers. I think it’s a smooth name. It doesn’t really have any meaning, and it doesn’t really describe our aggressive music, but I don’t really care about that. I mean, KoRn was a pretty fuckin stupid name, but they seemed to do okay.

I couldn’t find any sort of Bio on the band. Could you tell us a little about the band as it is today?
Josh: The band has changed a lot since its original inception. I think only now we are finding our true voice. Also, moving to Toronto really opened our eyes to a lot of new and awesome things and inspirations. We became very popular in Thunder Bay, but in a town of 117,000 that is 8 hours from anywhere, there is only so much you can do. We have just added a new guitarist to our sound and I think the new material will focus a lot more on strong song structures and it will be more powerful and dark. Things are running a lot smoother these days because everyone is on the same page: we just want to write killer rock music and tour forever after our new EP is released.

How would you describe your band’s sound to someone who has never heard you before?
Josh: Will (formerly) of Dead and Divine said we sound like He Is Legend mixed with Glassjaw; Richard from Lifestory:Monologue said we sound like Every Time I Die and Glassjaw. People also say we have a progressive side to us, and our friend John from F.A.I.L.U.R.E. says we have a very Canadian sound to us, as well as a bit of a southern vibe... whatever that means. [laughs] I just tell people that we play some kick ass rock and roll with some pretty melodies in there. I don’t think we are doing anything totally different, but there is something in our music that I don’t hear a lot of these days.

Your MySpace proclaims that your influences are everything you hear, are there any major influences musically or personally that you feel stand out from the rest?
Josh: I think our biggest influences are bands that have stayed true to themselves and are constantly expanding their sound and releasing albums that kick more ass than their last. Thrice is a huge influence to us in that respect, and so are Every Time I Die, who seem to be the best real rock and roll band out there these days. The new Hopesfall has so many textures and so much beauty in it, it’s amazing. Also bands like Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Deftones... awesome bands from the 90’s that have made a solid career of staying true to their art and their vision. Those bands are what we aspire to be like.

Could you please explain to me why your vocalist, Josh Hogan looks so ridiculously similar to Rody, vocalist for Protest the Hero?
Josh: Protest the Hero... hrmmm... who are they? Are they from the U.K. or something? Never heard of them. But he must be one handsome devil!

One of the things I do for sure know about your band is that you’re originally from Thunder Bay. Why the move to Toronto and how has it affected your band, personally and musically?
Josh: Thunder Bay is isolated, it’s cold, and to tour you have to either drive 8 hours to Winnipeg or 18 hours to Toronto. Also, we have had very few bands come out of there... I think it’s just solo musicians and Paul Schaffer from the fucking David Letterman Show. I have always loved Toronto and I lived there as a little kid, and there is just so much opportunity. But on the same note, a lot a of great acts get overlooked because there is so much going on. We are all in our very early 20’s, so I think that moving at this time we have all grown up a lot. We lost our guitarist, who mysteriously would rather work a retail job and get paid in peanuts than rock out for a living... but I wish him well in that. We met our new guitarist who is one of the best dudes ever, we have met amazing people who are helping us on our way, and have had some amazing opportunities that we would have never encountered in TBay. And we have realised that we have to work way harder than any other band, cause we are starting from scratch down here.

You guys just came off of a small tour, how’d that go and are there any interesting stories from the tour?
Josh: We toured with Kincaide (from Victoria BC) and Chasing Mercury (from London, Ontario). It was fantastic. I didn’t really know what to expect from the shows or the kids, and we played many new markets... but each night there was a good amount of people we got to rock their ears off. One place I was not expecting much from was Fort Frances, and actually Kincaide couldn’t play that night due to their singer getting a savage throat infection, but the kids still packed the place and just went fuckin nuts. It was awesome. There are other stories, but due to legal reasons we can’t disclose any information about the situations or the individuals involved. One thing I will say is that the police in Dryden, ON are pussies. Don’t let them fuck with you.

So, with the tour finished and the year coming to a close, what does the future hold for Sons & Lovers?
Josh: Right now we are writing at a furious pace, coming up with some new tunes that will be on our new EP that we should have out by April. Just today we wrote a song that sounds like the incredible hulk running down your street with his fists out and destroying everyone you know... it’s bundle of good times. In February we are going on tour with Lifestory:Monologue which should be awesome because they are a kick ass band and we will be playing a bunch of smaller towns in the southern Ontario area that we haven’t even heard of. Then we are going to hit the studio with a young producer named Shawn Lefvebre, who has worked with Cancer Bats and did some work with Muse, which is really exciting. Then when the summer hits, tour forever.

Is there anything you’d like to say to the readers of this interview?
Josh: Come kick it with us when we roll through your town with Lifestory:Monologue and get ready to be rocked in 2008... and if anyone thinks they can out drink my bassist with doubles of rum and coke all night long, I’ll give you 100 bucks.  [ END ]
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