Cancer Bats have just unleashed their new album, Searching For Zero, and vocalist Liam Cormier has made the pretty tall statement that “nobody ever regrets buying an album or getting a tattoo of our band put on their bodies for the rest of their lives”. So does this album stack up to that grand declaration? We think so but we’ll let Cormier tell us more about the record.
“It feels great,” exclaims Cormier, about the band’s fifth album. “People’s reactions so far have been super positive. I think with this record, we certainly tried a lot of different things. There was a little bit of: ‘Oh, we’re stoked but we hope people like this.’ So it’s nice to hear [positive words] back.”
Ever the master of grand statements, Cormier asserts this is a “No More Bull Shit” album. He explains his buoyancy. “When we were writing the record, there were definitely a lot of conversations we had, especially coming off some time off. We could think of things other than being on tour. Even thinking about things like, why are we even still bothering to be a band? That was just in general conversation, not that we were ever going to break up. It was more like: ‘are we doing this because we’re stoked or are we doing this because it’s our job? Are we going to write a record because that’s what we have to do or are we doing it because it’s what we want to do?’
“I think it was a really good place for us to be, just to have those conversations, to almost call bullshit on ourselves. Why are we doing this? Why are we still going to be pumped to go out? I think that and also just doing some of the last few tours – we did a headlining tour across Canada where the shows were incredible – it reminds you exactly the reason why you’re still doing this band and why we even want to write a record.”
According to Cormier, that’s where the album gained momentum. “If we’re doing this [album] because we’re stoked, all ideas are valid. Let’s just make the best record we can and be the most stoked on it for ourselves. I think if we’re stoked, there’s that likelihood that most of our fans will be stoked,” he laughs.
Talking further about Searching For Zero, Cormier explains the album is a snapshot into what the band was going through at the time of writing. “There were a lot of ups and downs that even made us have that ‘No More Bull Shit’ kind of question. While we were in it, we had some questions like: ‘maybe this isn’t the best decision’. When we did have certain things like friends passing away, it brings into perspective as to why you are away from the people that you love. It was those conversations that kicked it off.
“I felt that whole vibe was echoed when we met someone as real as Ross Robinson,” Cormier continues. Robinson was the producer for
Searching For Zero and is known for his work with Sepultura, Slipknot, At The Drive In, Glass Jaw, Blood Brothers and The Cure. “His motive behind everything is no bullshit. He has zero ego. He’s definitely not putting up any false reasons for making an album or living his life. For us to have those feelings going into it and then meeting someone like that, who breathes that same mentality, it was definitely cool to have that meeting.”
Known for their passion and energy, Searching For Zero has all the elements that we expect from Cancer Bats. Cormier explains some of the challenges in putting an album like this together. “The challenge with any record is being able to capture that same energy that you would in a venue. Most times it’s really hard to think how you’re going to recreate that. Someone like Ross [Robinson] understands the mistakes you’ll make or the feelings that you’ll get when you’re not singing the perfect part, or playing the perfect part but it is the perfect energy. That was something that we had to really change our approach. We’re not recording to a metronome. We’re not recording to a computer that’s on a grid. You’re just recording to the drums. Unless we were at this point in our career as musicians, I don’t think we’d be able to handle that. I don’t think we were good enough players until now.”
With the personal challenges, the relentless touring and the deaths of people close to the band, Cormier agrees these moments had an impact on the new record. “There were definitely a lot of things that happened in our personal lives that I put into the lyrics of these songs. For me, I use Cancer Bats songs to deal with some of those bigger issues. Even when we were leaving our friend’s memorial, all four of us said we’re definitely writing this song. I just dove into all the things that happened in the past year and all the songs fell into place.”
Cormier is certain that Australia is in their sights for touring. “We’re definitely keen to do some headline shows. That’s been our biggest regret, that we’ve never been able to tour Australia like an Australian band. Australia definitely has a similar scene [to Canada] and we see so many bands like Violent Soho and High Tension and looking at dates like King Parrot are doing and you think: ‘I just want to tour like that. I want to do at least two weeks in Australia.’”
‘Searching For Zero’ is out now via Double Cross/Cooking Vinyl Australia.