Interview with The Flatliners, on tour in North America and Europe this summer

June 2, 2014
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The Flatliners - photo credit Florian FranikThe Flatliners – photo: Florian Franik

The Flatliners are one of Toronto’s exploding punk rock bands that have been making their name known all throughout North America and Europe. Their most recent album, Dead Language, was released in 2013 and truly portrayed the band’s progression and maturity since their first album, Destroy to Create, that was released back in 2005.

During Canadian Music Week I had the opportunity to chat with lead singer/guitarist, Chris Cresswell, and drummer, Paul Ramirez, for a few minutes before their CMW performance at Toronto’s lovable Sneaky Dee’s on Thursday, May 8th (which, I might add, turned out to be a mindblowing performance).

You guys are all from Brampton?

Chris: He’s from Brampton [Points to Paul]. Me and the other two guys are from Richmond Hill.

So what made you guys get together and start making music?

Chris: Scott (guitarist) and I have known each other since we were like 4 years old. Our bass player and I grew up on the same street. We were always buddies from school and best friends. We always wanted to play in a band together, so we all learned how to play our instruments to start this band.

And then Scott and I went to music camp for a couple of years in a row… I think it was the third year we went that Paul was there. We met Paul there. And then it just kind of happened. We were kids so we just started the band for fun, and now we’ve been in this band for 12 years and it’s what we do now.

Paul: I don’t know how to do anything else [laughs].

That’s awesome. Your latest album in 2013 was Dead Language, and the one before that was Calvacade.

Chris: Yeah, there’s usually about 3 years between every album.

Cool. I’ve read a ton of different reviews comparing the two albums, and I want your opinion on which one you guys like better.

Paul: That’s like picking a favourite child. I’m pretty proud about how Dead Language ended up because it was put together kind of haphazardly. We recorded half of it without knowing it was gonna be the released version. It was supposed to be just demos and versions just for our own listening, and then we listened to it and were like “this isn’t half bad”. And then it ended up being a record. I’m proud of that because we weren’t stressed when we were doing it.

Chris: Yeah, it was fun. That was the most fun I’ve ever had recording an album with the band for sure. There have been millions of moments obviously where I’ve enjoyed being in the studio, but that was by far way more fun to make that record.

I think a band should always be the most proud or psyched about their newest thing, so it’s hard to pick favourites.

For sure. And who did most of the song writing on Dead Language? Was it pretty evenly split?

Chris: We don’t split it up. We don’t really write a lot on tour and we spend a lot of time on tour. We’ll all just kind of have our own pieces of songs and everything- our riffs, lyrics, and whatever- and then kind of build it into a big puzzle.

And with Dead Language, what did you want to communicate to your fans with that album?

Chris: I think we weren’t thinking about a lot of stuff. That’s the thing, like Paul said, we started recording it without really realizing we were recording an album. So it just ended up being this really natural recording process. There wasn’t much of a metronome used on the record like a lot of bands do, and we’ve done a million times in the past. It just sounded like us jamming, but it sounded clear and good. So that was pretty much it.

I guess we wanted to show people that we’re a live band. That’s what we do anyways. We spend the whole year touring, so an album should hopefully transition well into a live setting if you record it live, and it’s been pretty good.

Yeah, it’s a good album.

Chris: Thanks.

In comparison to Calvacade and your other albums, the vocals also sounded a lot different – more tamed.

Chris: I learned how to sing, I think, more than just yell. Which was fun for me.

So are you guys working on anything else?

Chris: Yeah not really, I’m sure we all have ideas here and there.

Paul: We just had our first band practice of 2014.

And for Canadian Music Week, what do you guys love about playing in Toronto?

Chris: I like the fact that I can walk home. I live down the street. I’m gonna walk home right now and build a patio set with my girlfriend and then come back and play a show [laughs].

Many thanks to Chris and Paul for taking the time to chat! In honour of The Flatliners Dead Language release, the band will be touring throughout North America  and Europe for the remaining of the summer. Checkout their website for upcoming tour dates near you.

For a time-warp, read our last interview with The Flatliners, back in 2011. 

© Dani Subject, Music Vice

Flatliners tour dates

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