Interview With Cancer Bats - 17th January 2016

Photo Of Cancer Bats © Copyright Cancer Bats We caught up with Cancer Bats vocalist Liam Cormier at Bristol, Marble Factory to talk about the bands latest album 'Searching For Zero', their current UK and European headline tour, the likelihood of future Bat Sabbath and Axewound shows and so much more.

You released your fifth studio album ‘Searching For Zero’ back in March 2015 how would you say the album has gone down with your fans and the press?
its gone great people seem to be really stoked on it, and this is the end of our world tour so it has been fun to have played all the places we have released the record in and seen people’s opinions which have all been positive.  The tours have also been really great as we have been played a mixed set where we have new songs and old songs and people seem to be up for all of it and it’s good to see the new songs get as big sing-a-longs as the old songs.

Yeah as soon as I heard the new album I could get into the songs straight away
That’s cool, we are defiantly a live band so when we write records we want to write songs that everyone can party to and there are a few tracks like when we finished 'Dusted' I was like I think we can pull this off live and we have played it a couple of times. Even when we try and write a song like ‘Beelzebub’ we looked back at songs like ‘Bastard’s Waltz’ and what we learned from those songs when we played them live and it’s good to make a mellow song in the set which keeps people just as engaged.

How did you find the whole writing and recording process for ‘Searching For Zero’ compares with your previous albums?
It was really cool as we took some time off and took our time writing the record as we all had a lot of different things going on such as myself and my girlfriend bought a house and we did all the renovations ourselves, so I would be doing demolition and putting up dry wall so going to band practice was super fun and was kind of like when we started the band when we all had jobs but this time around we didn’t have jobs we were all just doing other things, but it was cool going to band practise as it was like 4 old friends meeting up and our goal was to write a new song every day and we would record it that night and meet up a couple of days later to talk it through and try and write something different which made the process really fun.

So do you have a lot of unreleased songs from the writing process of ‘Searching For Zero’?
No there’s nothing just a lot of riffs where we thought certain songs didn’t work but the riffs were awesome so the songs won’t see the light of day but the riffs might be reworked into future songs. We had 25 songs when we were done and we whittled it down to 14 and ended up recording 12 so there are 2 other songs that haven’t been recorded so maybe they will get figured out one day.

Yeah would be good for them to see the light of day.
Yeah for sure.

You worked with Ross Robinson On ‘Searching For Zero’ how did this come and how did you find working with him?
It came up that he had a space in his schedule through a friend of a friend who worked with him who told Ross that we were looking for a producer and at the time Ross was looking to work with a live band who was ready to rip and at that point we had been jamming for 6 months and had 12 songs ready to record and Ross had just been working on something totally the opposite of what we had for the past year so it was refreshing for him. I spoke to Ross for 10 minutes on the phone and we hit it off straight away so we all went down there and we all hit it off with him and we have since gone and stayed at his house in California and hung out with him.

So will you be using him for future albums?
I would love to and I wish that logistically it was easier as California is so far from Toronto but who knows, if it can work out I would love that we will just see what place we are in when the songs come together for the next album and also  if BMG are willing again and if Ross is free but either way I am sure he will be involved in some way in the next record.

What would you say your favourite songs from ‘Searching For zero’ are and why?
There’s a lot of them but ‘Beelzebub’ for me is a huge song as we have been trying to write that type of song for a really long time and I feel like we nailed it. I was also being out on a limb writing some very different lyrics to so I was a little unsure as that was progressing but then we got the feedback from that song and so many people love that song and have the same sentiment to it as I do. A lot of my friends who don’t normally listen to this type of music loved ‘Beelzebub’ so knowing someone who’s not into metal likes the song is so rewarding and even my girlfriends dad likes the song and he’s not one to listen to metal at all.

That’s rewarding.
Yeah deffiently.

You are currently on a massive headline tour across the UK, how does it feel to be back in the UK headlining shows?
It’s great, it’s awesome to come back and play as many of these rad cities that we really like and we have always toured the UK extensively, we got to do an extensive tour in 2013 with Brutality Will Prevail so we wanted to make a point of doing that again. Sometimes we either play Exeter or Plymouth and you don’t play Reading and you don’t play Southend On Sea because you are only playing London but this time we get to play them all and so far the shows have been awesome so it’s good to play Manchester and also play Stoke On Trent and we know what it’s like to be from a small town being an hour and a half away from a big city that you can’t always get to that show especially during the week when you are younger so it’s great to be able to play as many shows as we are.

Over the years you have spent a lot of time touring the UK, what is it about the UK that keeps you coming back?
The fact that people keep wanting us to come back is a huge part, and we have carved out a pretty huge circuit around the world and made a lot of friends. We have always had crazy shows in the UK and it’s awesome to just play shows like last night in Plymouth where the shows are bigger than they ever have been and still such a party so we will always keep coming back for that reason.

You have played many shows across the UK over the years what would you say your favourite shows and favourite moments of touring the UK have been so far?
Over our whole career?
Yeah, you have done so many headline tours, supported so many bands ,the Pentagram tour, played festivals such as Reading and Download where your set got cut off and you did that song with Billy Talent and got invited back the following year.
Yeah that was awesome playing with Billy Talent and getting to play that same day after the Gallows in the tent. Your list of our shows is pretty good.
I think you will find it hard to beat the whole logistics of the Pentagram tour.
Yeah we will never be able to redo the pentagram tour and I would never want to try it again because it was such a special day and people have spoke about trying to do it elsewhere like in Toronto but it just wouldn’t work. I think it was such an amazing idea, our agent Ross put it together and he had it drawn out before he even suggested it to us and when he did suggest it to us we were like that’s sick lets do it. I think it is one of those moments that will go down in history and you can’t really redo a tour like that and I feel lucky to be a part of it and have an agent as cool as Ross.

During the UK and European tour you have announced you are going to shave your hair in aid of the Princess Margaret Cancer foundation which I think is awesome, how did this come about?
I don’t know if you guys have heard of the charity escape for cancer.
So Rob Dyer who runs that is a really close friend and I saw on Instagram that he was going to donate his hair to cancer patients and there are a bunch of programmes which do that where you can donate for free and turn it into a wig for people who are undergoing cancer treatment for free. So I thought my hair is long maybe I could do something with it and then I started looking at how this tour was coming up and thought if I was going to do that I might as well do more and do a fund raiser as well and try and raise money at all the dates so I then thought instead of just cutting my hair I should shave my hair as in that whole world it is serious and anyone who is going through cancer treatment obviously loses their hair at the first sign of treatment and I just had a close friend who just went through that and my friend is fine so it shows that these programmes and treatments are working so I would like to do my bit and raise money for that. That is also how I knew about the Princess Margaret Foundation because that’s who Rob from escape for cancer raises money for and they are one of the top 5 research facilities in the world and all of their information is public so it’s shared amongst the doctors who are also trying to fight cancer so it’s good to make a difference and not just make money. I reached out to the Princess Margaret Foundation to do a direct donation page so there wouldn’t be no 5% going to go fund me bull shit and all the money goes directly to the charity. Now the tour is here the response has been incredible everyone is throwing money in every night so I am really excited.
Fair play to you.
Thnanks, it’s just hair right?
It will grow back

Now you have 5 albums under your belts has it made creating set lists more difficult?
It’s pretty straight forward but we will change it up every now and again. We like to hang out at the merch booth so when people see us and suggest a song if we can play it we will change up the set and play it and it’s cool having kids come up to you asking you to play songs like ‘Shillelagh’.
Little things like that must make their day.
Yeah totally and it makes it fun for us. We haven’t been changing the set to much on this tour because the feedback has been so positive and we have had people who are going to every day and they are like this is my favourite Cancer Bats set ever. The other night when we were in Exeter these two brothers who were also going to the Plymouth show told me that they loved the set and I said to them would you like us to change up the set  and they were like no I want you to play all of these songs again.
That’s awesome.
Yeah it’s like we have nailed the setlist, even our merch guy Ryan told us this was his favourite Cancer Bats set aswell. We might do a little tweak here and there we traded out ‘Devils Blood’ for ‘Buds’ become someone asked, and tonight we might play ‘Smiling Politely’ as we relearnt that for our Toronto shows. I do feel bad at times though as kids always ask for ‘Harem Of Scorpians’ and we haven’t played that song in forever and it’s easy for me singing but it’s tougher for the other guys.

What do you have planned for the rest of the year? Can we expect to see you back in the UK for another tour or even some festival apperances?
It’s more of a relaxed year as we hit it so hard this past year as we have pretty much finished the world tour so there isn’t that much on the horizon but that being said we do have some festival announcements coming up in February  so stay tuned for those.

Can we expect to see some more Bat Sabbath shows in the UK in the near future?
We are always up for whatever but I feel that now Black Sabbath are doing their farewell tour it would have to be a couple of years after that and I feel that I will do more Axewound before I do any Bat Sabbath.
Yeah you guys have so many other side projects, Axewound would be awesome though.
I can’t really say as none of us have talked about it but we are all friends so I hope there is Axewound this year.
I guess it’s down to having everyone free at the same time.
Yeah just to do a couple of shows in the UK again would be cool but Bullet are really busy and Cancer Bats are really busy and Glamour For The Kill Jase is in Killing Joke so everyone has stuff going on which makes it tough.

If you met someone who has never heard of the Cancer Bats, what one song would you get them to listen to, to understand what the band are all about?
I would check their vibe first, if it was a thrash kid I would play something different than if it was a mum, I usually play ‘Beelzebub’ for the mums and I would play ‘All Hail’ for the thrash kid, you got to read your audience for sure.

You have been going as a band for over ten years now, what would you say your highs and lows as a band have been so far?
There have been a lot more highs than lows, everything is still going rad and we are positive people, the only thing that becomes a low is when you are trying to balance home life with tours like in the early days when we were broke and didn’t have girlfriends and had no real reasons to go home it was pretty easy to live in a van and stay on tour but now my house is finished being built its awesome and I just want to hang out in it with my awesome girlfriend so the only downside is missing home but it’s pretty easy to get over that when there is 400 kids partying on the night. Going forward we are going to spread out our albums and touring to keep things balanced.

Thanks for your time do you have any final comments for your fans reading this?
Thanks for always being there it has been wicked and I feel that people in the UK are super nice and really chilled to hang out with.

Interview by Trigger

 Band Members

Scott Middleton
Liam Cormier
Mike Peters
Jaye R. Schwarzer
 Latest Releases

Cancer Bats - Searching For Zero
Release Date - 9th March 2015

01. Satellites
02. True Zero
03. Arsenic In The Year Of The Snake
04. Beelzebub
05. Devil’s Blood
06. Cursed With A Conscience
07. All Hail
08. Buds
09. Dusted
10. No More Bullshit
11. Kill Me Please
12. Rust And Bone

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