Alexisonfire - 16/06/2009

ALEXISONFIRE (pronounced as "Alexis On Fire") is a five-piece post-hardcore band that was formed in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada in 2001. The band consists of George Pettit (vocals), Dallas Green (guitar, vocals), Wade MacNeil (guitar, vocals), Chris Steele (bass), and Jordan Hastings (drums).

 

The band describes their music as "the sound of two Catholic high-school girls in mid-knife-fight" (a reference to their song "A Dagger Through the Heart of St. Angeles", which was also the inspiration for their album cover art). When the band came out of the underground like an "utterly captivating car-accident-in-progress" in late 2001, it was enough to impress critics and attain a gold certification for their self-titled debut album.

 

Aside from that, the band has released two more very successful albums: ‘Watch Out!’ in 2004, and ‘Crisis’ in 2006, both which have achieved platinum certification in Canada. The band toured in support of ‘Crisis’, until December 2007. In December 2008 the band shared the title of their forthcoming album ‘Old Crows,  Young Cardinals’ during a show in Hamilton, Ontario.

 

 

Alexisonfire began recording ‘Old Crows, Young Cardinals’ (with a slightly altered title) on February 1, 2009 and by March 1, 2009 the recording process was near completion; Only leads, overdubs, and vocals were left before mixing and mastering.

 

ALEXISONFIRE’s new album will be out on june 19th, therefore we handed over some questions to the band and here you can read what they had to say about their latest release.


Congratulations on your new album ‘Old Crows, Young Cardinals’ which will be released in a couple of weeks, of course we’d like to ask you a couple of questions about it.

 

Could you start this interview off with a short introduction of the band and the origin of the bandname for our readers?

 

We are named after a ripper, a peeler, a stripper named Alexis Fire.  She also happens to be a contortionist.  We all knew each other from going to punk shows in our hometown.  Our old bands used to play together. So, after they fizzled out we started this. Since our album ‘Crisis’ came out we toured across the world twice, and then took some much needed rest.

 

It’s been a couple of years since your previous album came out, so how did you launch into writing material for ‘Old Crows, Young Cardinals’ and how much time did you spend on the songs?

 

We spent about 4 months putting everything together. We played them and played them until we felt we had exhausted all our ideas, then we went into the studio.

 

Which approach did you take to make this album, did you go for a more raw exposition.. or something more reminiscent of your previous other works, or something all together different?

 

It’s something new but I still feel it is very much an Alexisonfire record.  We have definitely changed from record to record.  We recorded live off the floor so it sounds closer to one of our shows than previous records.

 

 

Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing?

 

We always start with small ideas then build and build until everyone is happy.  We did scrutinize these songs for a lot longer than any of our previous albums though.

           

What comes first, lyrics or melodies?

 

For myself I do both separately then put them together. Our singer George writes pages and pages then cuts them down to fit the songs. Dallas writes melodies then puts words to them.

 

What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ’Old Crows, Young Cardinals’, any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album?

 

We definitely wanted to have a more classic sound.  We used very old gear to record. And tracking everything at the same time also helped that feel.

 

Could you please describe the implications of the title ‘Old Crows, Young Cardinals’, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?

 

Simply put it’s about horror beauty. All the bad balanced against the good.

 

How did the recording process proceed, did you work differently this time than you did with your previous works and how much time did you spend in the studio?

 

Yes, the album was recorded all live. The 4 of us playing a big room with everything recorded at the same time. We would play the song until we got a good take of us all nailing it. It usually was about the 8th or 9th take. We spent 2 weeks doing all the instruments and 2 weeks doing the vocals.

 

 

 

What do you think are the main differences between your previous works and ’Old Crows, Young Cardinals’?

 

I think the songs are more cohesive on this record. They flow better and we blur the lines of which one of us is singing, which I like a lot.

 

What is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to you?

 

Feeling. It’s all vibes.

 

Do you have any favourites on the album?

 

I like “Sons Of Privilege”, that riff’s all downpicking fury.

 

Have you received any feedback on the album yet?

 

People love it or they are cursing us for changing. It happens each time we put out a record.

 

Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that matter?

 

You always tend to take the harsh things people say to heart. You get 9 good reviews and 1 that’s bad and it’s that bad one that tends to stick with you.

 

Overall, are you pleased with the outcome of the songs or would you have liked to have changed anything in retrospective? Which element on the CD are you most proud of?

 

I’m very happy with it. I think we are at a point where we wouldn’t put something out unless it was exactly what we wanted. What I like the most about it are the tones.  Especially, the organ on “The Northern”. It’s an old Hammond organ from the 60’s and it sounds very bizarre.

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics?

 

Everything works its way into the lyric writing process, from the art you see to the television you watch and the books you read. They all find a little place in your ideas.

 

With several albums under your belt, how far has you career surpassed your original dreams and what would you say is the most rewarding part of being in a band?

 

The most rewarding part is being able to get up on stage and play guitar everyday. It feels as if everything is right for that hour.  We weren’t a band of huge aspirations so yes we didn’t really see things getting to this point.  We all wanted to be in a band and that’s it. But you never think that will happen when you are 16.

 

What is your opinion on the post-hardcore scene these days? What do you think about the overload of bands at the moment and is there anything missing in the scene?

 

I think it’s easier to be in a band than ever before which means tons of shitty records. You meet bands that seem like they are going through the motions and that’s a shame. Hopefully, the huge amount of shit bands will inspire some kids to do something genuinely great.

 

What can we expect from Alexisonfire in the near future, any touring plans?

 

Touring our faces off for the next two years.

 

Where do you see Alexisonfire going within the next couple of years, and where do you see your musical direction going for the next album?

 

We are gonna try and play some places we have never been before like South Africa and China this time around.  As for the next record, I cant even think about that right now.

 

Anything left to say to our readers?

 

Listen to Sam Cooke

 

Thanks for your time,

Eugene Straver

 

 

 

Members:

George Pettit – Lead Vocals  

Dallas Green – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Piano  

Wade MacNeil – Lead Guitar, Vocals  

Chris Steele – Bass Guitar  

Jordan Hastings – Drums, Percussion

 

Former members :

Jesse Ingelevics – Drums

 

Albums:

(2002) Alexisonfire

(2004) Watch Out!

(2006) Crisis

(2009) Old Crows / Young Cardinals