Already carrying a health warning of sorts in their name, Cancer Bats have definitely cemented their reputation for an atomic live show. Now onto their third album, the Toronto band have met with acclaim and success both on both sides of the Atlantic. Their fusion of the most acerbic, lean edges of metal with the inclusive ethos of punk means in some ways, they appeal to everyone. And there's no signs of mellowing out just yet: Seeing how the kids at their gigs throw themselves around shows how they are prized. Lead singer Liam Cormier is only too happy to expound his never ending enthusiasm for the band, their fans and their new album, Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones.
How have things been today?
Liam Cormier: Great! The show was awesome. It was definitely f***ing way better than we thought! So many kids were giving us love.
Q: So you tour pretty furiously. What do you have planned in the next couple of months?
After this we go and play a few more European shows. We've already been here a couple of weeks. We're coming back in the fall again. But yeah it's been good. We try to spend as much time in Europe and the UK as we can.
Q: You do intense ones. So many dates. I look at bands like you and I think 'how do you do it?'
It definitely is one of those things where you try and bring the same level of energy everywhere you play. You wanna be well-rested! I sleep as much as I can. It helps that we've been doing it as long as we have, we've been touring hard for 4 years.
Do you prefer it that way?
We'd always rather be playing shows than taking days off. We wanna make the most of it. Once you're actually there you're not tired.
You've toured with Gallows and The Plight, amongst others. Do you feel closer to bands in the UK?
I definitely feel lucky that we've been accepted so much over here. I think because we came up around the same time with Gallows we kinda got lumped into it which was wicked for us. We saw so many good bands and we've made so many good friends. The fact that we do UK tours and we never tour with an American band. We always get a British band with us, it's cool. I feel like we're really part of the team here.
Are you happy with the new album's reception?
I'm stoked. I think it's better than we've ever done with any record. So the fact that kids are still interested in what we're doing, like the record, are coming out to shows more than ever is just unbelievable. All the more reason to try and pack in more dates.
The new album seems like you feel freer to incorporate different musical styles into it.
I think for us the big thing was realising how much kids were up for. We messed around with a few ideas, stoner rock stuff and whatnot. They were still jumping around all over the place so when it came to writing this record we were just like 'fuck it, let's just try everything, play all the stuff that we want to.' I think the fact that we don't have to worry losing our fans unless we right a straight up punk record from start to finish just says how much kids are into different styles and are more receptive now.
It seems like when people band around things like 'hardcore' it can actually become very restrictive. Are you happy for people to call you a hardcore band?
I think we've never really confined ourselves to that. We've never toured exclusively with metal bands or hardcore bands; we just do whatever the fuck we want. How we write songs, the bands we tour with, just how we operate is different. We'll tour with big metal bands but we'll still be punk in the way that we do it. Talk and interact with kids just like we would at a punk show. We just don't care! We're older, we're over it. When you're younger you might think 'oh I should maybe do this' or 'we should only be a hardcore band.' But we're all 30 years old now. If that kid in the Youth of Today shirt thinks we're sell-outs then he can go fuck himself! I'm fine.
It's quite impressive how your songs deal with the darker sides of humanity. Do you start with that? Or does the music predicate that?
It pretty much determines where the song structure is going to go. IN a lot of ways though, I try to show the more positive side of darker things, a solution. A lot of songs will point out how to rise above that, and we try to live our lives as positively as we can. We deal with the same shit that everyone else does but you've gotta try and persevere and go beyond that.