The Bats are back! Canadian hardcore punk legends, Cancer Bats, are set to
return to Australian shores in under just a couple of weeks time to tour
their new record, ‘The Spark That Moves’ supported by our very own,
The record is lyrically insightful and infectiously energetic. Released
unexpectedly, it surprised and excited fans everywhere around the world.
Liam Cormier on recording and releasing ‘The Spark That Moves’,
“…everything was very punk in that regard, which was so fun, to be at this
point in our career and we’re just doing things as punk as possible…”
With the palpable energy and party vibes consistently provoked by the
Cancer Bats, the shows of ‘The Spark That Moves’ Australian Tour are
guaranteed to induce some wild scenes, leaving some bruised and
potentially bloodied bodies, with sore throats and full hearts.
We chat with down to earth Cancer Bats front man, Liam Cormier about
the new record and delve into the Universe, riding a motorbike from
England to Morocco in six days, mental health and PMA and the upcoming
tour down under with special guest, Wade Macneil of Alexisonfire, filling in for Scott, while he welcomes his first baby into the world and much more.
SCENEzine: Hi Liam, how you doing?
LIAM CORMIER: Good! How are you?
SCENEzine: I’m good thanks. Last time we spoke was in an interview just
before Cancer Bats played Australia back in February last year!
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah! With Frank Carter.
SCENEzine: Yeah such a killer show. So exciting you’re heading back this
way in just a few weeks time, just can’t get enough of us hey?
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah exactly! I’m way too excited. (laughs)
THE NEW RECORD- THE SPARK THAT MOVES.
SCENEzine: Yeah and you’re heading back down under to tour the new
surprise release, The Spark That Moves…
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah the funny part about that last tour was actually we
finished recording ‘The Spark That Moves’, like literally the day before we
got on the plane.
SCENEzine: Oh wow.
LIAM CORMIER: So we were like, ‘Oh we kind of have this really funny
secret’ but it was so fresh that it kind of didn’t even resonate with us, we’re
still working on the record, we didn’t have anything, I had barely come up
with the title (laughs) Everything was so rushed, so it’s funny to think of,
that record was getting finished, worked on, while we were actually in
SCENEzine: Yeah and nobody had any idea ha that’s cool, and again when
you did actually release it, everyone was like “Whaaat? Where did that
come from?” (laughs)
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah (laughs) but if you were backstage at those shows
we were listening to mixes and we were sending emails about artwork and
So in a way, that record is partially Australian, you know, I would like to
consider that part of it as made in Australia.
SCENEzine: Well yeah, we can definitely go with that, I like that (laughs)
LIAM CORMIER: In our hearts and in our minds.
SCENEzine: Exactly (laughs) and it’s one of the first ones that you’ve put
out independently yourselves as a band, obviously there’d be some pros
and cons in doing it that way and taking that fresh approach. What did you
like in particular about the DIY process?
LIAM CORMIER: I mean our band has always been really hands on so in
lots of ways everything we’ve been doing has been building up towards
this. Especially our last record, I’ll give a ton of credit to BMG for essentially just letting us put out the record ourselves, the last time as well, kind of like that way. They said “You know how to do all this stuff, we’ll just help you guys and then we’ll kind of take care of some of the in-betweens.”
So this album was just the same MO, but filling in some of the in-betweens,
which ended up actually being really cool. It was the reason we were able
to do it as quickly as possible.There was no email chain, there was just me and Mike, our drummer, handling everything and so we would just be calling the pressing plant, Mike was in charge of UK and Europe and I was in charge of North America. We were calling the pressing plant to get the albums finished in time and just kind of doing everything DIY.
Actually really funny story, speaking of vinyl, the way that we got our vinyl
into Australia, was just in a suitcase that we sent with Comeback Kid when
they came on tour with Silverstein (laughs) We just loaded up a suitcase and gave it to Andrew (Neufeld, vocalist) from Comeback Kid and were like “Can you just check this in for us? (laughs) and we’ll get Stu Harvey and the guys from Cooking Vinyl to come and pick it up” (laughs)
SCENEzine: (laughs) that’s awesome. How many did you get in the
LIAM CORMIER: There was about 100 or something, so not a ton (laughs)
just a very limited amount, but we were like, okay this is the method,
everything was very punk in that regard which was so fun, to be at this
point in our career and we’re just doing things as punk as possible.
Everyone that worked at the pressing plants were fans of the band so they
were like, “Oh this is sick, we love Cancer Bats, we’ll make sure that this
gets pressed in time!” I was like, man, this is the coolest and most
collaborative, I feel like the whole world was working on this one.
SCENEzine: That’s really cool how it all came together. It seems like all the
blood sweat and tears that went into the making the record really comes
through, you get that raw authentic vibe to it. Even the little comments
that you make sort of before or after songs that you’ve left on the
recording, which I know you’ve done before in previous records, it feels
like a little time stamp on how you guys felt at that moment, together as a
band, after a nailing a take…
LIAM CORMIER: Oh yeah! Like that little voice note recording that we
have on “We Run Free” that was recorded off of an iPhone, that was like
SCENEzine: Oh really? (laughs) I love that.
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah we thought the intro just didn’t have the same kind
of vibe and I was playing it through my microphone while we were
recording, live off the floor and it was through an SM58, picking up the
iPhone and then JP, the producer, recorded that voice note and was like,
“Oh through this compression, this thing sounds great, just use that”
(laughs) and I was just like “Yeah!”.
It was all really fun, all of us just working in an idea. I’m so happy with this
album, all the energy we put into it, now translated, has just been amazing.
SCENEzine: Yeah that energy definitely comes through, it still sounds tight
like the older records, but just has a different kind of kick to it.
LIAM CORMIER: Aww well I appreciate it, I think that’s the thing, we’ve
been lucky to learn all these tricks off these amazing, talented people in
terms of how to capture a lot of that energy so I definitely feel like we’re in
a really fortunate place.
SCENEzine: Yeah definitely. So now we’ve got a bit of the business side of
things out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about the universe (laughs)
LIAM CORMIER: Oh okay!
SCENEzine: The song ‘Space and Time’ from the record calls out the
human race for not so slowly destroying our own planet and delves into
the idea of being eradicated into space, can you elaborate a little on your
ethos behind that song?
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah I mean, I think those kinds of moments when you
look at what we’re doing and that we’re responsible for what’s happening
on the earth. It was actually a comment that a friend of mine said where
she said, “Man the earth deserves so much better than what we’re doing” It
resonated with me so much because this is such an awesome thing that
we’ve been gifted to be on and we’re just taking it for granted.
People by circumstance don’t really see the impact of what we’re doing
and are on a pace to be really plowing through a lot of these natural
resources so I feel like it’s my moment to be like, you know what we’re
doing is really in a lot of ways, frustrating and ignorant and the earth just
deserves so much better than what we’re giving it.
SCENEzine: Yeah I totally agree…
LIAM CORMIER: It is daunting and the answer is almost as non-seneschal
as just like ejecting everyone into Space because at this point I’m not sure
(laughs) I feel like a little bit of the song as well too, is kind of like my tip of the hat to what Black Sabbath talk about in their song ‘Into The Void’. A little bit of that song is about going and finding a new planet and a new place where peace and love as they say in the song, will be everyday and you’re like “Oh I like that idea” even a band that’s as heavy as Sabbath was talking about something like that, back in the seventies.
SCENEzine: Yeah they definitely had the right idea. Another one of their
songs, Symptom of The Universe has little hints of the moon and the
universe. Similarly, I noticed there’s little mentions of the moon, the sun
and the stars in The Spark that Moves record. Maybe we do need to find a
Utopia (laughs), start again.
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah, maybe there needs to be some place…yeah there’s
a lot of those kind of ideas that I feel like I’ve been getting into more,
especially from all the travel we’ve been fortunate enough to do and see
different people’s perspectives and the importance that they put on the
moon, the solar system and stuff like that and looking at how much bigger
of a picture that we’re surrounded by (laughs) That’s been a lot of my
inspiration as of late, the moon man! So heavy (laughs)
SCENEzine: (laughs) it is pretty captivating. Have you seen that show,
Blackhole Apocalypse on Netflix?
LIAM CORMIER: No I haven’t seen it, I don’t know it
SCENEzine: Check it out if you get a chance, I think you might find it
interesting, it sort of blows your mind watching it (laughs) and it gets right
into all of that, but it’s more about how everything was created. It’s pretty
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah cool, so down!
MENTAL HEALTH AND PMA
SCENEzine: So on a slightly different note, I wanted to talk a little about
mental health. It’s an important topic that is a lot more openly talked about
these days. You yourself exude some pretty positive vibes that fire off an
infectious energy on and off the stage, promoting making the most out of
life and living in the moment.
The lyrics in Bed of Nails from Spark, “Smash these mirrors and snap these wishbones” illuminate those ideas. Is this positive mental attitude something that you were brought up with or do you think it’s progressed, as you said earlier, through your 13 years of seeing different parts of the world through your music?
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah I guess like all of those things belong to life’s
journey (laughs) you know, I definitely think that my parents are both
really positive, loving and great people and then from that learning about
the positivity in PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) that is associated with
hardcore and punk / rock and definitely wanting to gravitate towards that.
I think being really inspired by being in a lot of these situations where
people have ultimate positivity and just seeing how people are still dealing
with things way worse than what’s thrown at us.
We went to Nepal last year and seeing how positive and beautiful
everyone was there and touring with a band from Nepal for two months
and seeing how those guys roll and how much they look out for each other
and take care of one another in their community.
I find those ideas ultimately equally as infectious and it makes me really
appreciative for what we were able to do and able to be apart of.
I’m definitely really stoked on that and then I get even more inspired when
every night of tour there’s people who have tattoos that are inspired by
the band or something to do with something that I’ve said and they’re
equally like “Oh this is such a positive thing for me, I have a DSOL (Dead
Set on Living) tattoo to keep reminding myself to be positive and be
stoked” And I’m just like floored by that, you know (laughs) and over the
moon it’s just like such a crazy situation to be in. I just feel like so much
more than motivated by that, like I want to be this example for this person
who’s seen even just a little bit of hope and positivity from that.
Like what you were saying with mental health, I’m really glad that we’re at
a point where a lot of the machismo that was attached to talking about
your feelings or things like having struggles where it was something like
men weren’t allowed to talk about and was not entertained as an option, to
just be like no you have to power through and then the side of people not
feeling like they have an alternative. So now that everyone’s talking about
it, I think it’s great and I’m definitely happy to be apart of that dialogue,
especially to be there when people want to talk about things at shows,
even the things that I wrote a song about that can help even just one
FROM ENGLAND TO MOROCCO ON A MOTORBIKE
SCENEzine: Yeah definitely, it’s sort of come full circle for you to be able to
express your own positivity and then for that to be helping other people,
must be an incredible feeling. Speaking of outlets and different ways to express things, let’s talk about motorbikes for a minute.
LIAM CORMIER: Oh yeah!
SCENEzine: You’ve made that epic ride through Death Valley look like a
walk in the park with your six day trip you took recently, riding from
England to Morocco, it must’ve been incredible!
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah! That was such an amazing experience. Again,
something that I feel, just to look back on it, I feel so lucky to even be in a
position where, not only am I able to join a trip like this but I have people
that are like “Well, we’ll build you this bike that you can take it to the
desert and we’ll all showcase this thing” and people that are also
connected, I got pairs of boots given to me from a guy who loves Cancer
Bats but also works in the motorcycle industry so he was like “Oh I’d love
to sponsor the trip and give you these boots” and just little things like that,
that are all working together to send me into the desert to rip around for
six days and meeting all these really rad people, yeah it was just such an
SCENEzine: Yeah like you said, it’s such a cool way to bring all of your
passions together, I think I saw that you had your Treadwell clothing label
going on the trip too and the bike, then being able to jump on a plane and
play a Cancer Bats show once you got to Spain!
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah like I booked that whole Spanish tour to kind of
coincide, so that I could just meet up with everyone and make the logistics
work a little better but also to make the whole venture as like, one thing.
Tying Cancer Bats in to be like, oh yeah motorcycle adventure straight into
like tour adventure.
It was a little hectic, the logistics side of dropping off my bike, going to
sleep, getting on a plane flying to Tenerife, this Spanish island and then
playing a show with Anti Flag that night (laughs) I was like “phewww!”
when I finally got into the venue I just had this huge weight off my
shoulders like “I did it!” like “I was in North Africa yesterday!” (laughs) I
rode a bike by myself to take the ferry, just did all these things, I wish I
could get better at and I want to get better at documenting some of those
points of the story, just to show the ridiculous side of how unplanned some
of my trips are (laughs) like I’m in the Atlas at 6am, being like “Okay I need
to be in Spain by this time tomorrow morning to catch a flight” and I’m
setting off on a dirt road (laughs) down this mountain path to be able to
catch my ferry in time and the whole thing is just surreal when you realize
like “Oh I need to just cover myself with go pros to even be able to explain
this whole thing” but yeah it was such an amazing adventure.
SCENEzine: Sounds incredible. It’s so cool that you were able to make it all
work out and absolutely, it would have been a massive adventure.
Definitely gives you something to write home about after an experience
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah exactly and it was cool because there were so many
people that were into the story and wanted to see something like that and
for me I want that to be inspiring more people to see, you can ride a 250cc
motorcycle anywhere in the world, you just need to have the time do it but
it’s not this impossible thing.
I think sometimes some of these adventures look more massive than they
actually are and I think that’s the thing I always want to communicate with
motorcyclists, I’m not trying to make light of the fact, like owning a
motorcycle is definitely a step in itself and I feel really fortunate to have
that, but then a lot of these things are very possible once you’re in this
SCENEzine: Yeah for sure, definitely inspiring. I was watching this video
on Motofemmes the other day, they showcase female riders in the
industry, this woman, who’s name escapes me right now, but she’s 96 and
she’s still riding…
LIAM CORMIER: …Yeah!
SCENEzine: …and she rides across the country, she’s insane! So cool. Do
you know who I’m talking about?
LIAM CORMIER: I don’t know who you’re talking about but I know so
many stories like that, these awesome people who are like “Yeah, you just
do it” and that’s what inspires me, seeing things like that.
It literally just comes down to, well you’re either doing it or you’re not… so
the second you start you’re just doing it (laughs)
SCENEzine: (laughs) exactly. Speaking of motorbikes, do you have any pre
show rituals or habits before going on stage? I was thinking you could
totally do a Meatloaf from ‘Bat Out of Hell’ and just ride your bike onto the
LIAM CORMIER: …and like moto right on? Yeah (laughs)
SCENEzine: …yeah it’d be one hell of an entrance (laughs)
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah all my pre show stuff is more boring it’s just like
warming up for soccer practice, kind of like trying to get our old bodies in
SCENEzine: Maybe it’s time to have to change it up, maybe for the
Australian shows you can get a motorcycle and ride onto stage (laughs)
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah exactly (laughs) well if anyone wants to come and
bring a motorcycle I’m happy to ride around, or even just talk bikes
SCENEzine: Well we’ll see if we can get that hooked up for you (laughs)
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah for sure.
FELLOW CANADIAN GUEST GUITARIST
SCENEzine: Your touring schedule has been pretty insane you’ve just
played some huge festivals, Slam Dunk in the UK, Heavy Montreal and
2000 tress just to name a few, and I saw on Heavy you had Wade Macneil
(Alexisonfire) filling in on guitar for Scott, what’s that been like?
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah! It’s been amazing. So (laughs) that was sort of our
introduction to the whole fact that Wade was going to come and be filling
in for Scott. Scott and his wife are having a baby any day now. Basically we
had this run of shows and we were like, let’s have Wade come and play
with Scott so that, that kind of shows the vibe. Wade has been with us so
far this tour and just smashing it every night! It’s been so fun and it’s really
fun having a different person, like we had our friend Wim fill in for us on
drums when Mike had his second baby in January. Just seeing how much
that changes the dynamic is really interesting, bringing in these different
people and having different versions but when I watch a video I’m like, this
is still Cancer Bats and we’re still playing Bricks and Mortar, still playing
Shillelagh, but it has this different feel. It has this kind of different swagger
and everything is just it’s own little take on it, so it’s really fun. I’m really
excited that Wade’s on these next three tours with us.
We’re going to tour all of Canada and become so much more of a solid machine. Then we get to showcase this in Australia. I think it’s just going to be such a cool experience so yeah I’m way too excited for everybody to come check that out.
SCENEzine: Yeah! I think all the fans here are pretty stoked about it too
because obviously a lot of people that are into Cancer Bats are into Alexis
so having you both together on the same stage will be pretty cool to see.
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah it’s a fun cross over for sure.
SCENEzine: Does that mean we get ‘Deathsmarch’ on the set list for
Australia… Melbourne in particular (laughs)
LIAM CORMIER: It’s so funny because we haven’t played Deathsmarch at
like any of these shows (laughs)
SCENEzine: (laughs) oh well maybe that could change..
LIAM CORMIER: …(laughs) yeah I feel like we need to add that to the set
list for Australia…
SCENEzine: …or even just Melbourne is fine…
LIAM CORMIER: Just Melbourne? Yeah Melbourne exclusive (laughs)
SCENEzine: (laughs) exactly. Another one of my favourite songs, is
Sabotage, both the original Beastie Boys version and the Cancer Bats metal
cover. Do you have any cheeky covers hidden in the archives that we can
expect to hear in the future?
LIAM CORMIER: We currently have a really kick ass cover of Single
Mothers that we just put out
SCENEzine: …yeah I heard that, so good!
LIAM CORMIER: …yeah, where they cover our song “Road Sick” and we
cover their “ Dog Parks” and “Switchoff” so we actually mashed the two
songs into just one song which I love. It was super fun to do but with
teaching Wade all of our songs, we haven’t even had a chance for us to
relearn, to be able to play that cover, so I mean I would love to be able to
do it just because I think the song itself is so cool but ahh I think right now
we’re just trying to get the Cancer Bats set down (laughs)
SCENEzine: Yeah nailing the original songs first (laughs)…
LIAM CORMIER: (laughs) yeah yeah exactly but who knows? Who knows
what will happen between now and October.
SCENEzine: I don’t think people would mind even if you just decided to
wing it for the night…
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah, right!? (laughs)
SCENEzine: (laughs) well I better let you go, thank you so much for taking
the time to have a chat.
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah, no thank you for doing the interview!
SCENEzine: No worries. We’re looking forward to seeing you guys back
here in Australia very soon! Only a few weeks now.
LIAM CORMIER: Hell yeah! I think that show is going to be awesome, it’s
definitely selling like tons of tickets so I think it’s going to be a real hectic
SCENEzine: Can’t wait. Well we’ll get the bike ready for you (laughs)
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah exactly. I’ve got a day off before Melbourne so
definitely should get some moto going.
SCENEzine: Yeah for sure. Well thanks again and we’ll see you soon!
LIAM CORMIER: Yeah, see you soon!
Interviewed and written by Sarah Thomson, for SCENEzine.