Last week Canadian hardcore band Cancer Bats came to Birmingham a headlining show at the Institute in Digbeth. BurnFM’s Marita Farruggia had a chance to chat with their frontman Liam Cormier about touring in the U.K. and their new album, Searching For Zero, among other things.
How’s the tour been going so far?
It’s going great. I’m stoked. This is a little over half way, but we’ve been touring all over Europe for the past two weeks with this same lineup. All those shows were great and now we’re in the U.K. where all the shows are going to be even greater, so I’m really excited for that.
You guys took a bit of time off touring recently, so, what’s it been like being back on the road?
Ah, it’s been good. We’ve had some time to get our sea legs back. We did a quick U.S. tour before we came over, because we were all terrified that we were going to get smoked by While She Sleeps, because we know they tour all the time and had totally forgotten that Loz had to have surgery. So we thought we would be like these old tired men with these young kids ripping around. And then when we started tour it was actually their first day back, so we were like ‘phew!’ that we weren’t actually getting smoked by the kids—we were giving the kids a run for their money. It was good.
You recently released your fifth studio album, Searching For Zero, how have fans been receiving that so far?
So far so good. Kids have been coming and singing along and being stoked. A lot of like actual feedback at merch—that’s one of the reasons I like hanging out and doing merch after the shows is because selfishly you get to hear what people think. Especially in Europe it’s cool, because some people will be brutally honest and if they like something they’ll tell you they like it, but if they don’t like it…there was a guy in Prague who was just like, ‘I do not like your new record,’ and I was just like ‘oh, okay, cool.’ I like that—I’d rather someone tell me straight then to lie about it. So then when somebody does tell you they like it, you know they mean it and you know that nobody bulls***s in Europe. So when some dude tells you he listens to your record every day, he’s not lying; he actually starts his day listening to your record and you’re like, ‘yes, that’s so cool.’
I actually had a chance to review the new album for Burn, so I’ve listened to it a fair bit and I think it’s fantastic.
Oh awesome. Well even if you didn’t, we could still be homies.
I’m always a bit worried when a band I really like is going to put out a new album, because there’s the possibility that it won’t be as good as what’s come before. But I loved Searching For Zero.
This is the thing: we’re really conscious of that, because we’re also fans of bands in that same way that when there’s a band that’s been around forever that you’ve loved and you maybe have tattoos of and stuff like that. You’re just like s***. Especially if you hear a first track that’s coming out before the album and you’re like ‘ah man, I really want the new Converge to be the best,’ then you hear it and you’re like ‘Phew! This rips!’ then everything’s cool. So as much as we like pushing new ideas and being different, we also don’t want to bum out anyone who has a Cancer Bats tattoo, because that would be the worst. So we always try and keep that in perspective, like, as fans of our own band, would be still be stoked?
It’s good because you can tell there’s been a trajectory, but it still sounds like Cancer Bats.
Yeah, I think for the most part, people get it. Even that guy in Prague who didn’t like the record still said seeing ‘Arsenic in the Year of the Snake’ and ‘True Zero’ live was awesome.
How do you think playing for audiences in the U.K. is different than shows back in North America?
Between Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., all three are so different. Obviously we started in Canada, so I don’t know if I’d say the band is bigger there, only because the scene over here is bigger, which is why I’d probably say the U.K. is our biggest fanbase. Over here kicks Canada’s butt when it comes to the size of shows. In Canada, because we were picked up early on there, we still play a lot of our first record at shows. So as much as we want to play songs off the record we just put out, we still have to play stuff like ‘French Immersion’ and songs off the first record. We write different setlists depending on where we are. Then in the States, we’ll play shows and kids will only have ever heard Hail Destroyer, they didn’t know we put out Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones. Or, they only just got Dead Set On Living and they’re like ‘oh, I didn’t even know you had three records before this.’ Before this tour we were all laughing, because we did a tour and the Boston and New York shows were the biggest and they were only like 130 people, but we were like, ‘Yeah! This is so wicked! There’s 130 people at this show!’ Or, like in Philly, there was 75 people and we thought it was cool. But then the Manchester show is already sold out and that’s a 1,500 person capacity.
This show is going to be quite full as well.
Yeah, this is the biggest show either Cancer Bats or While She Sleeps have ever done in Birmingham.
Have you had a chance to see any sights today in Birmingham?
I just walked down the high street. I went into Primark to get some socks. Went to Tesco to get a salad. Just some classic British stuff. Oh, I did go to this really cool motorcycle store around the corner [in the Custard Factory], Monday Motorcycle Company. My girlfriend owns a motorcycle shop so I always go and check out other places.
What do you like to do when you’re not on tour?
I love riding motorcycles. That’s my new favorite thing to do. Especially because lots of times my girlfriend already has tons of trips already planned and I get to just tag along. So like the day we get home from tour, she’s like, ‘Oh, we’re going camping,’ or we’re going riding for ten days. So I luck out. I also work at her shop and help out when we’re home. I earn my keep.
I don’t know how you feel about super heroes, but the new Avengers movie is coming out tomorrow, so if you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
Ooh, it’s tough if you actually think about it and care about it. I always say I wish I could fly as a default, because I think that would be the best. But then it’s the stress of having a super power; you’ve got to keep it under wraps. Like, I couldn’t just fly over that building. I’d have to make sure no one could see me, so I’d only fly at night, which might get cold and I don’t know how much I could carry… Being a super hero would be tough.
Any parting remarks?
Stoked to be in the U.K. Already can’t wait to come back. We’ve only been here a day and we’re already excited to come back and do another gnarly headline tour. Excited for Hit the Deck Festival and then Leeds and Reading Fest in August.