Canadians Cancer Bats are keeping the spirit of punk well and truly alive. They dropped a surprise release of their latest album ‘The Spark That Moves’ back in April via their own label, and did it just in time for a UK run of shows celebrating their iconic ‘Hail Destroyer’ album, with tickets at just £5 a pop.
Whilst making a stop at this year’s Download Festival, we caught up with frontman Liam Cormier backstage to talk about what it’s like to release a record with no promo, whether it was hard to keep the secret, and how they want they choose having fun and staying as a band rather than aiming to be with the big shots.
DP!: So, you dropped your new album ‘The Spark That Moves’ as a surprise back in April! How long had you been keeping that under wraps?
L: Not that long, actually! We only recorded the record in January, so it was pretty quick, which kind of made it easier, and that was our whole thinking too: “Man, let’s not sit on it. We’ve already taken so much time off, might as well just put it out as soon as it’s done.” So, it actually came out a lot quicker than we thought, and we were on a tight schedule to make sure that it came out in time for the ‘Hail Destroyer’ anniversary shows. We were calling up the record pressing plants every week to make sure it would be ready in time! We wanted to have vinyl and everything ready for those shows, and we were doing everything ourselves, so it was a little bit more work, but it was fun. It was a labour of love.
DP!: Was it difficult to keep it secret?
L: No! I feel like that side of things was quite easy, because we were just so busy. We finished recording in the beginning of February, and then it was pretty much immediately done. I think it’s harder when you have to sit and wait six months. We couldn’t have made it in a shorter period of time. We just had our heads down working super hard to get everything finished. We had to do PR work, we had to mix and master it and get all the pieces all lined up, and then we made up like eleven music videos, and that was pretty hectic too. We had all those lined up to come out on April 20th, so when it was all done, I was like “Sick! We can just relax!”. So now tour is easy.
DP!: Did you have any concerns about releasing an album with no promo?
L: No, actually. Maybe it’s because we were just naïve? Haha. I think it was a mix of naivety and maybe not caring, because we’d just come off from the year of doing Bat Sabbath, and so many kids were like “When’s there gonna be a new Cancer Bats?”, and I was like “Well, all you kids are stoked, we can just put it out, because it’s for you guys, so as long as you all dig it”. We’re not looking to take over the world or anything, we just wanna keep being a band, so we don’t have to have our fingers crossed or any high expectations that maybe this record will change our whole lives. We don’t want things to change. I love my life! I am so pumped, let’s just keep doing this! We don’t wanna tour more, if anything we wanna tour less, because we’ve all got other things going on with our families and stuff, so this is all perfect. We just wanna keep this vibe going for a couple more years, and I feel like that’s maybe the better way. That’s why you start a band, you just wanna have fun and get to do lots of things.
DP!: Do you think surprise releases could be the way forward, especially in terms of combating leaks?
L: Yeah. I mean, I don’t think it works in every scenario. I think in lots of cases you can take advantage of pre-orders and figure out a release strategy, especially for younger bands, but for us, we kinda know who our crowd is, and that was just our whole motivation. I do think it makes it easier with things like Apple Music and Spotify and Deezer. You can just kind of rely on that and go for it.
DP!: Where did the idea for the £5 tour come from?
L: I think it was just in the same kind of punk spirit of putting out our own record. We were just like “Let’s just do some gnarly punk shows and just have fun, and not make it about anything else other than celebrating this record and having a good time.” I kinda wanted the shows to be free, but we’re from Canada, and we have to rent a van and rent gear and stuff, so we needed to figure out some of the logistics.
DP!: An obvious question probably, but are you looking forward to your set later today?
L: Yes! Our stage is really rad, so that kinda takes any pressure off. We’re not on main stage, so we didn’t have to show up super early. We’re right in between Stick To Your Guns and The Bronx, so we think this is the perfect spot to be.
DP!: As you’ve been playing in Bat Sabbath, will you be sticking around to catch Ozzy on Sunday?
L: Nah, we’ve gotta keep doing shows. It’s tough. We’re only here for today, but I’m gonna watch Bullet For My Valentine, for sure.
The band’s new album, ‘The Spark That Moves’, is out now through New Damage Records/Bat Skull Records.