Releasing a surprise album isn’t easy, but Cancer Bats exceeded even their own expectations with The Spark That Moves in 2018. Consisting of some of the most vibrant songs of their career, they’re now bringing their trademark punk energy, carefree attitude and, of course, new album back to Australia this week. We caught up with vocalist Liam Cormier to talk all things tour related; past, present and future.
Hey Liam! How have you been keeping busy lately?
We just finished a bunch of festivals in the UK, had about three weeks off and now we’re crushing it along the west coast of Canada. Just having a great time.
And now you’re coming to Australia. Sounds so busy. Do you have any strong feelings towards tours here? Any affinity?
We’ve got a good flow going. All the touring we’ve been doing for The Spark that Moves have genuinely been blowing our minds. There’s been lots of energy from everyone; so killer. We want to go on these tours, we want them to be as good as they can, because it means so much to us.
Your last tour was so fun, with Frank Carter, but do you have any strong memories of previous tours?
We’ve had so many amazing opportunities to come and play awesome shows for so many years. We first came in 2007 – and that we’ve been able to come back for every single album means the world to us. We’re now on album six, people are buying tickets, ordering our stuff. We’re really excited.
I’m really excited as well. Are you digging any songs out of your back catalogue that you haven’t played in a while?
We definitely have a few. We’re working with Wade MacNeil from Alexisonfire, who is filling in for Scott [Middleton], on guitar, because Scott is having his first baby. So we’re a bit limited with what we can fit in, to teach someone. I think we have a good broad mix of all the albums, but it’s a bit more limited because we don’t have the core four of us.
How do you choose the songs you play live? Are they your favourites? Or crowd favourites?
We do really like to play to the crowd, we look at what’s our top five on Spotify or Apple Music, because I never want to just bore anyone. There’s nothing worse than going to see your favourite band and they don’t play any of the bangers, or they only want to play their new record. I get that but, you know, I want to go and hear the hits too. We’re really mindful of that and I think hanging out with our fans and being at the show with them is really important. We think of everyone when we make a setlist.
Personally I really love ‘Bed of Nails’ into ‘Headwound’. That’s an especially dynamic part of the new album for me. What are your favourite songs off the new album?
For me, I really love ‘Bed of Nails’, that song is awesome. ‘Headwound’ is such a crazy song but we haven’t played it live, just by way of what people have been asking us to play. I really like ‘Winterpeg’ but I really love ‘Gatekeeper’. For me, that’s my jam. It was one of the first songs we wrote when we were putting things together and I love all the extra bits. We open our set with it and gets me so, stoked.
It’s so insane to think you’ve been a band for fifteen years. Where does the energy come from to still make massive albums like The Spark that Moves?
I think it’s just what motivates us; inspires us to do things. That idea of being an older band that still wants to push things and play heavy music, still wants to play energetic shows – not to pick on anyone in particular, but we don’t want to be the old guys on stage. We want to keep up the energy and that’s what’s inspiring on this record; trying to play the craziest stuff that we were incapable of when we first started.
Was there anything that was markedly different about the writing process? Life context from the last album? This one seems… More energetic. More fun. More… everything.
We were in a way different position. I think everyone was really stoked and really wanted to work on the band and be really inspired to do that. One thing that was different is that we’re all in different cities, so when people were getting down ideas there was a lot of introspection, a lot of time was spent on people thinking what they love about Cancer Bats and why they want to write these songs; that was a huge part of it. So when we came together and shared our ideas, started jamming, it was just really exciting. Jaye [Schwarzer] came and said he wanted to do this as an example for my son, and that’s so sick! That’s an inspiration, that’s so cool. So yeah, it was just a unique time for us all to be working on the band.
To conserve that energy, what do you do when you’re not doing Cancer Bats stuff? I’ve heard you personally just ride motorcycles into the horizon?
*laughs* Yeah I’m really into motorcycles. It’s something I do between tours. Right before this tour I did a twenty hour ride along Eastern Canada to arrive at a two day off road dirt bike… thing. Then I went straight from that into band practice the next day. So that keeps me inspired and excited. But we all do different stuff. Mike [Peters] has two kids now and he’s just being superdad, when he’s home. He’ll spend all this time with his kids. Scott does a lot of recording. He has a studio and works with a lot of local bands in Toronto. And Jaye actually does a lot of woodworking. He builds these crazy things out of wood. So we all have our separate things that make a nice break between tours that is so completely different which is good.
What’s something you have you been listening to of late that’s really stuck with you?
Probably my most inspiring record of the last little while has been that new Culture Abuse album [Bay Dream]. I feel like that when that came out I feel like I was looking for something that was exactly that kind of message and that kind of fun. That sort of pop punky… Sort of pop side of pop rock. It’s just something really catchy and fun and awesome. That’s been a real favourite of everyone in the band, we jam that on the daily.
Anything else you’d like to add before I sign off?
We’re really excited for this tour. We’re definitely stoked that Totally Unicorn are touring with us. It’ll be my first time seeing that band and I’m way too excited to be in Australia again.
Interview by Dylonov Tomasivich
Catch Cancer Bats on tour this week!
Grab your tickets here.
Cancer Bats – The Spark That Moves Tour
with Totally Unicorn
Thursday 10 October @ Crowbar, Brisbane 18+
Friday 11 October: Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle 18+
Saturday 12 October: Crowbar, Sydney 18+
Sunday 13 October: The Basement, Canberra 18+
Wednesday 16 October: Stay Gold, Melbourne 18+
Thursday 17 October: Pelly Bar, Frankston 18+
Friday 18 October: Enigma Bar, Adelaide 18+