When Spinal Tap appeared on a season three episode of The Simpsons, one of the arguably best parts of the show is when bassist Derek Smalls has to consult the back of his instrument to remind himself what city he is playing.
“But nobody rocks like [pause] Springfield!”
In the real world (and on The Simpsons), dialogue like that is an obviously scripted move designed to pander to the audience. Although many regular folks may struggle to grasp how a band wouldn’t know where they were on any given day, being on tour can also be a little bit like Groundhog Day, where you are living the same day over and over.
That being said, concertgoers shouldn’t expect any such shenanigans when Toronto hardcore punk band arrive in Metro Moncton to perform on Monday evening.
The group’s affinity for the Maritimes is a well-known fact.
“Atlantic Canada has always been our stomping ground,” Cancer Bats vocalist Liam Cormier says. “When we first started playing, our first tour ever was to the Maritimes. Before we started drawing crowds in Ontario, we would always play these awesome shows in places like Moncton, Fredericton and Halifax. The East Coast has always been incredibly kind to us.”
Over the course of their five studio records, the Cancer Bats have built a devoted following, and not only here in the Maritimes, but throughout North America as well as Europe.
Before diving into the making of their latest album, Searching For Zero, which was released earlier this year, Cormier says the group paused to take a breath for perhaps the first time ever.
“In the year after our last record [2012’s Dead Set On Living], we dealt with the loss of people that were close to the band. It was so conflicting because, at the time, the album was getting this really amazing response, which floored us. Yet there was all this stuff happening in the background, which when you compound that with a heavy tour schedule, it became important for us to take a bit of a break to collect ourselves.”
Cormier says the break proved to be one of the best things the group could have done. Not only did it give them the opportunity to reflect on everything they had accomplished in the 10 years prior, it also gave them the chance to chart their course for the future.
“We wanted to check in with each other and make sure that we weren’t keeping this band going because it was the only thing we knew. It was good to affirm that each of the four of us were engaged and still in it for the right reasons.”
Once the writing process for Searching For Zero was complete, Cormier excitedly notes the band had never felt more prepared for the making of a record. Upon enlisting producer Ross Robinson (Slipknot, Sepultura) to help bring the record to life, Cormier says the group had been living and breathing these songs for six months prior.
“These were what we felt were some of the best songs we had written, which led us to into the making of this record feeling ultra confident.”
Although Robinson has a reputation as reportedly being tough to work with in the studio, Cormier says their experience with the producer couldn’t have been more positive.
“I think our excitement about these songs and where we were at for this record ended up rubbing off on him. He pushed us to make sure he was getting the best out of the band at every turn. It was a great experience to be part of.”
Clocking in at just over the 30-minute mark, Cormier says much of the energy found on the band’s new album could be attributed to the relatively short time-frame in which they had to work with Robinson.
Perhaps more importantly, however, he said having a limited time frame in which to work also led the band to not overthinking matters.
“We only had a three-week window to work with Ross, during which time we had to have everything done,” he says. “It made for a frantic pace, but it pushed us in a good way as well because we didn’t find ourselves getting stuck on any one particular idea. If we reached a certain point where we weren’t nailing a certain song, we moved on. With technology today, we could stay in the studio forever if we wanted, but I think there is a lot to be said about not overthinking things and just going with your gut feeling.”
What: Cancer Bats
When: Monday Oct. 26, 10 p.m.
Where: Tide & Boar Ballroom, 700 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $17 in advance, $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available online at tideandboar.com