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Cancer Bats' Liam Cormier Interview

by Matt Hensch


Thrashpit: First things first: thank you for taking time out of your schedule to do this interview. How's the tour with Gwar been? How've things been going with the turn-out and reception?

Liam Cormier: All of the shows have had super-good turnouts. For us, being on the tour is rad. Gwar has such a crazy following, and there's tons of people that show up and have seen Gwar before because they know what's up. I realized that being on the tour, they have a history of picking good bands to tour with; they just don't grab whoever. They've toured with Municipal Waste, Kylesa, The Causalities and all these different bands, so then a lot of their fans think that if you're on tour with Gwar, it's because Gwar likes you. It's obviously showing that they're involved in it, and because they always bring a lot of good bands. To be on a tour like that is awesome, but also knowing that you'll have that kind of respect is awesome. For us, it's been a really cool tour. People show up early and are rad to play to because they're up for having a good time.

Thrashpit: Cancer Bats put out "Dead Set On Living," the band's forth album, earlier this year. How does it represent Cancers Bats musically in today's terms?

Liam: I think this album is the best representation of us. Everything beforehand was a lot of us trying to figure out what we wanted to do, and maybe we weren't at the point musicianship-wise, or for me, vocally, where we could do that. And especially band member-wise, Jay was a new member as of a few years ago, so him joining the band and learning how to write with him changed stuff a lot. That side of things, I think this is what Cancer Bats sounds like.

This is the closet to us live that we've ever managed to get. I find it's always tough to make your band sound the same between performing live and recording. It got to the point where we could record live. If you're a really intense live band, you have to play your album live in order to capture that intensity. It took a lot of pre-planning, getting to the point where we felt like we toured the record already; that's where we wanted to be comfort-wise with it. It was a cool way to approach recording.

Thrashpit: Cancer Bats sounds like a conglomeration of hardcore, punk, and metal. You've been invited on some interesting tours in the past, like with Billy Talent, and now with DevilDriver and Gwar. Do you generally get decent receptions with all audiences?

Liam: Yeah! There are times when it doesn't go over that well, but we like mixing it up, touring with different people. It helps that we're friends with a lot of bands too, so for us, it's like our buddies will take us out, and sometimes it works...we could tour with a band in Europe but it won't really work in America. Like when we tour with Comeback Kid in America, it doesn't really go that well, but we can tour with Comeback Kid anywhere else and it'll go smoothly. We toured with Anti-Flag in America: super punk rock tour, and we were the metal band. Sometimes when we tour with rock bands, we're the punk band. I like that we can fit in wherever. We all listen to different music and go to different shows. For us, fitting in all over the place is fun.

Thrashpit: You guys are known to do some heavy touring. I even noticed that Cancer Bats did a "Pentagram tour" in which the band played six shows in one day. Do you ever feel like throwing in the towel after touring so much?

LIAM: We'd never want to do that, but sometimes you get tired. That run of shows was definitely really intense. Sometimes you get exhausted, at the same time, it's awesome. I ended up playing seventy shows in sixty-five days on that whole tour. I was pretty tired by the end of it.

Thrashpit: It's all for the love of the game though?

Liam: Exactly. I don't think we'll ever be able to have these experiences again. Who knows? This could end tomorrow. I'd rather take advantage of it right now then wait, you know?

Thrashpit: One band in particular strikes me as a huge influence on Cancer Bats: Entombed. You guys are big into Entombed?

Liam: Yeah! Huge into Entombed!

Thrashpit: Wolverine Blues especially?

Liam: Definitely. All their records are great. Jay and Scott, our guitar and bass player, that's their favorite all-time band, so Entombed's influence is huge. Another one that people always bring up is Corrosion of Conformity.

Thrashpit: Cancer Bats is on both Metal Blade and Distort Records. You have good relationships with both labels?

Liam: We're licensed through the US by Metal Blade. We're on different labels all over the world. That's the weird thing about being a Canadian band. We have good relationships with all the labels we're on, like Hassle in the UK and all the tiny labels we're on throughout Europe. We're really lucky at this point that we have good families in the business.

Thrashpit: What's it like playing your hometown Toronto today as opposed to when Cancer Bats was starting out? What's the music scene like?

Liam: The scene is always really good. There's always been a good hardcore scene and a good metal scene. The only downside is that there aren't as many small venues. There used to be a lot of homeshows and stuff like that. Maybe I don't know about a lot of those spots, but a lot of them got closed or the buildings torn down. Luckily, in Toronto we have this really good venue called The Shop, which is under this fancy restaurant. Burning Love will play there, we've played there. It's a rad spot. There's a ton of garbage bands that play there; it's a really cool scene.

Thrashpit: What do you think is the most underrated band or album of all-time that played a huge influence on you musically?

Liam: For me, this isn't super-metal and it doesn't speak for the rest of the band, but a huge band for me is Ink and Dagger. Their singer passed away, but they did some reunion shows with Jeff from Thursday singing, and nobody really cared outside of New York, which breaks my heart because that band is a huge influence for me. They arrived at the same time as At The Drive In and when all of those post-hardcore/screamo bands came about. They're all about vampires, like before vampires were cool. This was years before any of that stuff.

I was always stoked about the thematic things, and they were really weird and angular, dressing up like vampires. It was really fun, and that was the whole idea: this sloppy hardcore that was really fun. Not a lot of people know about them, which is too bad. Another group that influenced us as a band is Botch. A lot of people don't know about Botch; kind of really interesting metalcore stuff. They have a record called "We Are The Romans" that is such a huge influence on all of us. It's a monster album that not a lot of people know about.

Thrashpit: After you guys finish this tour, you're going to do a Canada run, right?

Liam: That's in February. We have a UK tour after this, and then some European dates on top of that. Then we'll do a week in Canada, then we go to Australia, then we go back to the UK. We've got a busy year still. It's cool that we can still keep touring this record and there's still a lot of people that are excited. Coming back to America is the new thing we're trying to figure out; either coming to support someone or doing a headlining tour next April or May is our plan. I'm really pumped for that.

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