Get ready to stomp your feet in the pit and raise your fists in the air, Canadian political punks, Propagandhi have just announced a run of shows across Australia and New Zealand and it starts in Adelaide tonight!
The first thing to know, if you want to know about Propagandhi, is that they came here to rock. Right from the snarling opening riff of their seventh album, Victory Lap, that much is clear. For everything else that swirls around the band now, and for the last 31 years — the politics, the people and, lately, a gnawing sense of despair — the sheer volume of it all hasn’t changed. Hi Fi Way speaks to Todd Kowalski about the upcoming Australian tour.
It’s great that Australia finally gets to hear Victory Lap live.
Yeah, for sure. We’re playing quite a bit of it too, so it’s good.
Does it feel like it’s been far too long in between tours since you were last here? I think the last tour was about 2014 or something like that?I guess so, yeah. We’ve been kind of busy and travelling around, so the time goes super-fast for us all the time. It seems like it’s been a long time, but not that long all at the same time, you know?
So what is it about Australia that you love when you come back?
Well, we love our friends there. The fans. I don’t know, just some nice places. It’s a little bit like here actually, but maybe it’s just warmer and a little nicer I suppose. We’ve going to New Zealand too this time. We’ve only been there once before so we’re going to go a day early and look around.
Is the Australian tour going to mostly focus on the relatively new album or is it more of a greatest hits and memories style of show?
We’ll play a bunch of new songs and a bunch of old songs. I don’t know, we’ve just been practicing a lot of songs for this tour actually. I think we’re going to have two sets. Like play one set one night, one set the next night. We have a lot of songs and we want to play a bunch of them, so I think we’re just going to rotate, which, if you’re in the crowd, you might notice but we’ll notice.
Have all the old and new songs in the set list blended well together in the set?
Yeah, I think so. Yeah, the new ones are pretty tight. Sulynn just learned a couple new ones that she didn’t know for this tour, so she’s only played them a couple times so far, but we still have five or six days to practice and she’s been practicing them at home. It’s already sounding pretty good, so I think we’re set, and then we’re going to play a couple of the songs that we haven’t played for a long time. So it’s going to be interesting.
With the theme of political frustration that runs through Victory Lap is that likely to spill over into the next album?
I’m sure there’s things in Australia that frustrate you. It’s not really about looking around for things that do frustrate us, but I think if you’re playing heavy music it’s just trying to get things off your chest and making a general communication to the world that we can’t settle for what’s going on right now. It’s not right.
Has there been much thought about what you might do with the next album or is that still too early to be able to contemplate?
Chris and I have started compiling riffs and ideas and we’ll then get together soon to work through that. We don’t really plan a direction or anything, it’s just let the riff do the talking. I think both of us just sit down and just play music and whatever comes out, if it’s interesting, we add it. I can’t really think of any time where we thought we need this kind of song or we need to not play this kind of song.
Congratulations, I know it’s passed now, but you’re up to thirty-one years strong as a band. How did you celebrate the milestone as a band? The fans still dig the band and it’s not like you are hanging around because you have to…
Yeah, yeah. Thanks. The other day my girlfriend said to me, “You guys are like three peas in a pod,” because we’re just texting nonsense back to each other. I think we just enjoy playing. We go to our jam room, do our thing, see each other, make jokes. Just have fun. We’ve all listened to the same music since we were teenagers. I’m from a different city than those guys, but almost all the bands we like are the same from the past. I think as you get older you see, like not too long ago we all had two parents and now we all have one parent, good and bad things happen and you go through so much stuff together.
In terms of the rest of the year is that mostly more touring or do you stop for a break and think about what’s next?
Chris and I are usually of at home, and Jord sends us a message and says, “Do you want to do these shows?” We either say yes or no and usually it’s yes. The last show we played was in November, so it’s been half a year. We’ve been at home doing our thing, playing our guitars. We go on in little spurts. We’ll go hard and then relax a little bit. I think it’s the way to do it, if you can, if it’s possible, I think it’s the way to last a long time instead of burning yourself to death and playing shows with no feeling and literally just going through the grinder. I don’t think any of us are interested in that. We want to be having fun. We want to feel the music not just be doing it for the sake of it.
We look forward to seeing Propagandhi play at The Gov.
Awesome. I’ll give a shout out to Clarity Records there too.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Propagandhi on the following dates…