Get Ready For Halloween: Interview With Cancer Bats

cancer bats. photo Viktor Radics Cancer Bats. photo Viktor Radics

What’s more perfect than spending Halloween with bats? Toronto metal band Cancer Bats will be in Montreal October 31st this year at Bar le Ritz spooking the audience out. Liam Cormier, the band’s vocalist spoke to me a bit about vegetarianism, fireworks and what constitutes a great Halloween show in his opinion.

Liam Cormier (LC): At Halloween shows we go for it. We get all dressed up and rage, you know? It’s like one of our favorite holidays. For us it’s an excuse to you know, dress like a bunch of lunatics and get crazy. I also love playing Halloween shows ‘cause everyone lets loose a little more. It’s the season for craziness and people are inclined to go to the metal show and stagedive and like, get gnarly.

Kyle Lapointe (KL): Halloween’s the celebration of degeneracy.

LC: Yeah but then there’s also a healthy mix of normies too, you know. They’re like, coming over to the dark side.

KL: Any ideas for a costume this year?

LC: I usually just do some bad corpse paint kind of shit and dress like a skeleton. When we toured with GWAR though I dressed like an army guy and wore camo. People thought I was trying to dress like Max Cavalera.

KL: What does GWAR do for Halloween?

LC: They’re just GWAR. I thought it would be funny if they wore like business suits and pretended to be people.

KL: Do you guys ever release bats for Halloween?

LC: I wish. People are more than welcomed to bring bats to the show though.

KL: Do you know if bats can get cancer?

LC: I dunno man. I’m sure they could have abnormal cells. I mean, lab rats can get fuckin’ injected with shit and get cancer.

KL: On a more music-related note, you guys released your newest album “Searching for Zero” a couple months ago and released a video for the song “Satellites.” In the video you guys shoot fireworks at each other. I was wondering how fun it was to film that video?

LC: It was the best. Going into a field and blasting fireworks with your best friends- it was just like being a kid. It was awesome. We did it for like four hours. We had so many fireworks.

KL: Where’d you guys get all the fireworks?

LC: There are tons of firework stores in Toronto. I went in a ghetto shop and tried to spend a thousand dollars and I even stopped at seven hundred ‘cause I had so much stuff. We made the video ourselves and I was the person in charge of the budget. I woke up one day and asked myself if it was a good idea. It was.

KL: And how’d you guys decide to launch them all at your drummer?

LC: That was me and the director kind of coming up with an idea. We thought like instead of it just being a Roman candle fight, it would be funny if there were a reveal. “Why? What are they doing?” And then you realize like, instead of just playing having a Roman candle fight we’re all just shooting him. I knew Mikey would be up for it ‘cause he’s the man.

KL: And no one got hurt?

LC: No, it’s just Roman candles, right? I feel like we took the necessary precautions. Mikey was wearing all motorcycle gear, which is like, super safe. And then we had fire extinguishers and everything like that.

KL: What about the cameras? Were they safe?

LC: Um, I gave everyone safety goggles. Everyone was getting fucking hit with fireworks though.

KL: That’s so cool. Outside of Cancer Bats you’ve also been playing in another band called Axewound. Can you tell me a bit about it?

LC: I actually just got asked to join that band. Matt and Jason wrote that whole record and I’m the first person they asked for vocals. I knew Matt for a while; we had toured with Bullet For My Valentine a bunch. They had just called me up and said, “We started a metal band. Do you want to be in it?” I said, “Hell yeah!” Hopefully we’ll do some more touring next year.

KL: How was it working with a bunch of Europeans?

LC: We go to the UK a bunch. I feel like we tour with more British bands than we do with anyone else. It was fun making a full record with them though. When you do a side project you can and bring your experiences back to your band. One of the reasons I can sing well on “Searching For Zero” is from singing in Axewound and singing in our Black Sabbath Cover Band, “Bat Sabbath.”

KL: Awesome, your singing has really improved. On a side note, I’ve heard that you’re straight edge. Ian MacKaye from Minor Threat defined straight edge as refraining from drugs, alcohol, eating meat and promiscuous sex. I was wondering what the term straight edge means to you?

LC: I’m vegetarian but I don’t consider that part of being straight edge. For me straight edge is no drinking, drugs or smoking. I mean, I don’t have promiscuous sex either; I have a long-term girlfriend. But, if two straight edge consenting adults want to have sex, that’s up to them.

KL: Does it get hard finding places to eat on tour being vegetarian?

LC: It’s been alright for me. You kind of learn the tricks as you go. Pizza’s always vegetarian. Burritos are vegetarian. You could just eat a lot of pizza and burritos.

KL: You find there’s some kind of crossover or connection between living a healthy lifestyle and playing music?

LC: I know there’s a huge connection for me in terms of being positive and motivated. Like, playing music gets me stoked in the same way that eating healthy and living a positive lifestyle gets me stoked. I do think of those as all tying into each other. That being said, I think there’s great music made by people in fucked up situations.

Cancer Bats play at Bar Le Ritz PDB (179 Jean Talon) on October 31 with Forevermore, Dirt Cannons, and Fashion Police. Doors 7:30 pm. $20/$22.50