Cancer Bats

Canadian hardcore punk band the Cancer Bats are touring this February with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. There’s plenty planned for the band in 2018 with a new album and plenty of touring including possibly some more Bat Sabbath shows. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to vocalist Liam Cormier about the tour and the likelihood of some Bat Sabbath appearing in their sets.

How’s 2017 been for the Cancer Bats, when you look back on the year?
It’s been killer, yeah. We’ve actually been doing a bunch of that reminiscing on the year, only just I feel like making plans for 2018, you’re looking back at how kick arse this year’s been. Then like, how do we do that again? This year rules, how do we make sure next year rules just as hard?

Does that create pressure in a good way, thinking, how do we top this year next year?
Yeah, well, I feel like in 2017, we did so many Black Sabbath shows, the whole year was just doing that mainly because Mikey having a baby and us needing to make some money but also have some fun, get inspired to write a record, and then at the same time, not tour too much, so that all the shows are bangers. The whole time we’re out it’s super fun, so it was a really good lesson in how to strike that balance for life in general.

I think that’s one of those never-ending quests, trying to get work-life balance. I think when you think you’ve got it, you don’t really, something changes…
Yeah, I do kind of like that the landscape always changes for us to not have just the, oh we’re going to make Cancer Bats our job, so it becomes that grind. It is still our job, but that was the whole purpose of us trying to step a little bit back and not in any way feel like were working a job still. Do you know what I mean? So you’re not just like, oh, we’re just playing a show and this is the part where I head bang!

There are some bands that kind of get stuck in that. We see it, and we’re just like, okay, I don’t want to be this. I look at some other groups that are a little older than us, like seeing Converge and bands like Anti-Flag. Those guys have been around for a bit, and you’re like, okay, how do those dudes balance out being a full-time job and being a full-time band and still having fun with it being your job and still wanting to rip?

Being able to play those Bat Sabbath shows must be really great fun?
Absolutely. We’ve been doing it now for seven years, so a lot of people know that it’s Cancer Bats, like it’s not just a cover band showing up, so we have a good reputation for our own versions of those songs, which is really lucky for us to be in that position. It’s super fun. Everyone gets together and there’s five hundred of us just all singing along and having a blast.

Are there any plans for you guys to do that here in Australia or is that going to have to maybe be at another time down the track?
Yeah, I don’t know. We ‘ve got a lot of requests to do it, so we did put some Sabbath songs in our set the last time we did a headline run. I think we would only play three or four Sabbath songs in the middle of a set, which is cool. People were really stoked we did an all Sabbath set in Brisbane. I’d love to do a full Bat Sabbath tour of Australia. I feel like everyone would party way too hard. I feel like all of your readers need to just tell online if they want that to happen.

All right, yeah, no worries, we’ll put the word out there!
We’ll put out a petition.

I guess 2018 will almost be time due for another album from the Cancer Bats?
Yeah, we’re slowly working on some new jams right now and figuring out all that stuff. Nothing really set in stone like when the record’s going to come out, but definitely working hard to try and add something to our repertoire that’s worthy of Bats fans, I would say.

So how’s that progressing? Is that likely to take you guys in a different direction or are you looking to explore a few new sounds?
Yeah, I feel like at this point twelve years into the game, we’re definitely understanding of what we really love about the band and what our fans really love about the band. To try and just have a good, fun mix of all of that, while still trying to push ourselves as musicians, I think, is what keeps it fun and exciting. At least the nice part is at this point we’re not trying to go on tour with Radiohead or anything like that. We’re just like, you know what? I just want to make Cancer Bats records for Cancer Bats fans, and if newer people come into the mix, that’s awesome, but we definitely have the best fans ever, so to just even keep that party going is what I’m more than stoked about.

I mean, I love Radiohead, so don’t get me wrong. If they want to take Cancer Bats on tour, feel free. I just feel like sometimes there’s bands later in their career, they’re like, “Man, we should try to get on the radio,” and we’re like, you know what? We’ve never been on the radio, so I think now would be a pretty stupid time for us to try something like that.

The tour with Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes is shaping up to be an absolutely beauty. I think both bands go together and complement each other really, really well.
Yeah, same! That’s why when we got the offer, I was super stoked even though it’s been a minute since we’ve put out a record. I think it’s going to be awesome, we really like those dudes. I really like both records, so I think the shows are going to be wild.

Does the relationship with Frank goes back a way?
Frank was one of the first people that I met when we came over to the UK in 2006, we were always two friends, and we played festivals together and hanging around. This will be the first tour that we’ve done with him in a bunch of years, so I’m super stoked to just get to hang out with my buds and have a good time.

Is the set predominantly focused on Searching For Zero, or are you looking to kind of cover a bit of everything?
Yeah, we love playing everything as much as I think fans like all of our records. I want to play songs off of Birthing The Giant, Hail Destroyer, Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones and Dead Set On Living, you know, play everything. I realise too, it’s kind of few and far between when we get to Australia, so for people who maybe didn’t get to see us on the last run to make sure we play all the songs that they’re looking for. We’re going to be packing out the set for the 45 minutes that we have on stage.

In terms of coming to Australia, do you have a favourite thing that you always look forward to doing when you come down under?
For me, I just love hanging out in all the cities. Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, it’s all my favourite spots. Just checking out all the shops and coffee places, eating a pie and hanging out, just doing the whole mix.

I was reading somewhere, I don’t know if it was the last tour of something like that, but you watched and really got in to the Cosmic Psychos documentary?
Yeah, I got super into that band. We were all really pumped. One of the dudes we were on tour with made the documentary. It was even better, because we had director commentary while we were watching it. It was super rad. Yeah, I had never heard of that band before. For us, we love finding out about new bands and all kinds of stuff like that. We knew of Rose Tattoo and The Hard-ons, some good Australian rock, but then to find out about these legends was like, oh, this is sick and to know that they still play shows is way too cool.

Interview by Rob Lyon

Catch The Cancer Bats on tour with Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes on the following dates…

Frank Carter Tour Poster

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