Beloved Canadian rock & roll hardcore outfit CANCER BATS have lived and breathed punk rock since their earliest days. Now in support of their new studio album The Spark That Moves, released DIY on their very own Bat Skull Records, CANCER BATS are in the country right now for a run of in your face, no holds barred, punk rock shows alongside home grown talent TOTALLY UNICORN.
The Spark That Moves is CANCER BATS at its finest. Combining all of the elements from their last five releases, the eleven tracks that make up the album blend together the bands most melodic moments with their most aggressive, becoming a savage sprint of hardcore, punk, sludge, and metal that leaves the listener craving more. Front man Liam Cormier speaks to Hi Fi Way about the tour.
Cancer Bats are coming back to Australia, almost seems like a home away from home for the band?
Yeah, I feel really lucky that we’ve been able to come so many times. I think it’s crazy.There’s a lot of bands that we’ll talk to that have only been a handful of times. We’ve been really fortunate to come on every single record and then even adding some extra bits, like coming with Frank Carter last year was just the best. So yeah, we feel very, very fortunate.
What is it about Australia that keeps you coming back?
I feel like there’s a real Canadian-Australian connection. I don’t know if it’s like we’re all similarly wired as members of the Commonwealth, but I just feel like our style and humour, and we really like to party, and definitely the riffs we like to head bang to seems to be all on the same page. We listen to a lot of Australian bands. It seems like a lot of Australians like our band. So, I don’t know. We definitely feel very at home there.
Six albums in now must give you a lot of options to mix it up every night on tour?
We definitely try and mix it up. It’s nice that people want to hear songs off of all of our records. There isn’t just one album that everyone just wants to hear so we try and have a lot of those conversations, hang out at merch and hear what songs people want. Even on the internet, you ask what songs everyone’s digging and make a set list that way.
This time around it’s interesting too because it will be our first time in Australia with a bit of a different line up. Scott, our guitar player, is actually going to be at home, because he’ll have just had a new baby and we have Wade McNeil that’s going to be with us from Alexis who’s filling in on guitar.
Is there going to be a heavier leaning towards the Spark that Moves on this tour?
Yeah, I think we definitely have a bunch of Spark songs that we’ve been putting in the set. I think also because a lot of people have been digging it judging by Spotify and all those sorts of things. A lot of people are really digging songs such as Gatekeeper, Winterpeg, which are going down great so might as well keep the rolling.
Is Spotify something that the band uses a lot more now to work out where people’s preferences lie?
Definitely, I think it’s interesting how much those things mirror up. I always like hanging out with fans at merch and talking to people. To me that’s the whole reason why we’re there is because of the community and the interaction. Having those moments where you talk to everyone and they say, are you going to play you know Space & Time tonight? And you’re like, yeah, for sure. Then you look at what people are listening to and it usually matches up with those same songs that everyone is asking for. So it is cool to see that both real life and the internet are coming together and not one outweighing the other.
Do you enjoy playing in smaller venues?
I just love playing. I think there’s a different energy in all those places. When you have a rowdy, packed in 200 capacity club, you know it’s going to be chaos. So I do like a spot like Enigma Bar where we’ve had a lot of crazy shows there and the word spreads on things like that. So when you come back it’s a little bit of familiar territory. You know you’re going to have a fun time. I’m really excited though, I think we’ve got some great rooms on the whole tour so it’s definitely nice to know where you’re going.
I know Sparks came out last year but have you been really happy with how the fans have embraced and got into it?
Yeah, we’ve been blown away by the response. I feel like we really put our heads down and tried to make a really cool record that we would be super pumped to play live and be really proud of. I think the response to this album has been crazy. Where people are saying it’s their favourite thing since Hail Destroyer. Instantly, some of these songs, kids are getting tattoos right off the bat. It’s definitely been a crazy ride over this, especially to consider it being our sixth album and to have this sort of reaction. It just feels really amazing. It makes us feel like we’re in a really great place as a band.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Cancer Bats on the following tour dates, tickets from Destroy All Lines…