3/4’s of Champion Lover‘s members met when they were in grade 4. Back then, we suspect they didn’t have visions to become the noise-punk band with an appetite for destruction that they are today. The Toronto band’s debut album comes out June 20th, and its just as pummeling as anyone might expect it to be.
SA: Who are your musical influences?
CL: Thats going to be a long list. I feel (like most things) we all carry a set of albums with us for long periods or all of our life, but other ones come and go during other moments or stretches. For example, I have, and will always be, a massive Radiohead fan. But of late I’m really into Hüsker Dü and some local bands like The Beverleys and Mexican Slang. Oh that Savages record is AMAZING. When making this record we were listening to a lot of Sonic Youth, Wire, Destruction Unit, Bass Drum Of Death, White Lung, Nü Sensae and bands like the Melvins and Nirvana. A lot of Destruction Unit. Actually, I don’t think I stopped listening to Deep Trip for a couple of months. And Sonic Youth’s Goo was on heavy rotation too. Another blogger called us “the gospel according to Thurston and Kim” which I kind of like the sound of. Growing up I knew of Sonic Youth before I knew what they sounded like and I don’t think people really talk a lot about how fucking punk those first few records were in many ways. Maybe they do. I don’t know.
SA: Your self-titled album captures an aggressive energy. Where does that sound come from?
CL: When I listen to it I don’t really hear it as being aggressive, not in the challenge-you-to-a-fight kind of way. Its loud and heavy but I don’t always equate that with being aggressive. We just wanted to make music that we could go bananas to while playing and that hopefully people watching would go totally apeshit as well. I saw …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead years ago and the whole destroying their equipment on stage thing was just starting to become a tired ritual for them because everybody expected it. But then they literally annihilate the stage and all their gear and you’re kind of like “HOLY FUCK NO WAY” because they don’t really fuck around with how they do it. I actually hear the record as being kind of pretty and sad in its own way, but also very tense, and angry, and restless.
SA: How would you describe the recording process of your self-titled debut?
CL: It was definitely a slog. Arduous. It was kind of our own fault really. We recorded all the main tracks over the course of a couple weekends at a friend’s house in his basement and then a couple more months choosing takes and doing vocals and overdubs. Then we did a lot of textural work and then started to mix it ourselves, which for anyone reading is a TOTAL FUCKING MISTAKE. Pay someone. Hire a friend. We did. Pay them and walk away. Next time we’re just going to ask Steve Albini and be done with it. Go to Chicago. Steve, if you’re reading this, cut us a deal man?
SA: While your album is currently available to download from Bandcamp, it will also be offered on vinyl after July 18th. Do you consider the format to be an important part of how your music is enjoyed?
CL: We argued a lot over the tracklisting because initially we were going to do vinyl, then we decided not to. So at that point, the tracklisting didn’t need to be thought of as Side A / Side B. I mean, we all like vinyl, and it was important to us have a physical document of our work. It was a last minute flip-flop to do vinyl. It felt stupid not to have anything at our release show (shameless plug: July 18th, Sneaky Dee’s). I think vinyl is mixed differently because of some very technical shit that I don’t know enough about to discuss with any authority, and its bassier and stuff. We tried to keep that in mind during the mixing process.
And the artwork looks way cooler on vinyl. Can you imagine the first guy to put a picture on a record sleeve? People must have lost their shit.
SA: Can we expect some chaos when you hit the stage at NXNE?
CL: Man. We’ve been getting more destructive onstage and a lot harder on our gear with each show. Its getting expensive. If we could get a Fender endorsement that would help a lot. And its a late set so you know how that goes: lots of randos on drugs in the crowd. I think we’ll be lucky if any of us make it out with our guitars intact. Maybe not James. His Bass VI is kind of rare. But yeah, the goal is to not be too precious about what we do. We’re pretty aware of what kind of music we make. The Jack Johnson fans of the world should probably stay home. Plus we just added my twin brother William. He and I don’t always get along. There might be some fireworks. Depends on how much he’s had to drink I guess (knowing him he’ll say the same about me). Last year I got to see Destruction Unit and Teen Tits Wild Wives. If you ever get the chance to see either of those bands play, do it. Just go. I’ll mail you the money. At the DUnit show, they just walked on stage, started the feedback, never said a word, were louder than GOD and walked off. The singer for DUnit, Ryan climbed the lighting rig at the Garrison near the end of the set and then stuck his patch cord in his mouth and his amp is so loud that you could kind of make out some noises there. And then they left. My drummer Erik was actually kind of shaken by it. He didn’t bring earplugs and he felt a little disoriented. Thats our benchmark I guess. Make you feel like you did drugs. Then come party with us after.
This post was written by Scott