The artwork of the debut album ‘City We Love To Hate’ by Athenian quintet Blame Canada reminded me a lot of those Factory vinyl covers or furthermore Third Mind Records’ ones. The musical content fortunately keeps up with the artwork’s quality too. Yes, these chaps perfectly combine post-punk, psych and alternative rock. Just remember on 16th December, to pay a visit at Death Disco this Friday, to better understand what I’m talking about.
Blame Canada? Why should we then? Please introduce the band to our readers.
Well, we don’t have much against Canada, though we don’t appreciate the CETA agreement that much. Our name comes from the song with the same title from the movie “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” and we chose it just to mess with a previous singer of ours, because she was born in Canada. The band has been active since about 2011, but we started getting serious about two years ago, with a steady line-up and our first gigs. Last spring we recorded our debut album ‘City We Love To Hate’, which was just released.
You recently released your debut album ‘City We Love To hate’. Would you like to share some words regarding this?
The album consists of eight songs and an interlude and it sums up our work so far. It was recorded in Esoteron Studio in Athens and mixed and mastered by George Dovolos.
It’s already available for downloading through our Bandcamp page. Physical copies will be available from Friday, December 16th .
Apart from the digital download version, and the digipack cd version limited to 100 copies, you chose to release ‘City…’ on tape format. Do you personally collect tapes? In addition, do you believe that the ‘tape revival’ and in general the tape-trend will help the album sell-out?
Hmm, we don’t really collect tapes, at least not for the last 20 years, but we think that tape revival thing is fun, it reminds us of our childhood (or the time our drummer wasn’t born yet) and, yes, we hope it will help the album sell-out easier!
Subjectively, two of the most outstanding and solid tracks are the addictive, -back to the 80’s- ‘For A While’, along with the epic, slow-burner, 7minute ‘Be’. Which was the inspiration of these two tracks? Any special story behind them?
First of all, thank you for your nice feedback! Musically speaking there’s no specific source of inspiration for us, we just play along and our influences and temper find their way through our hands. Most of our songs start as homemade ideas by the band’s guitarists and then the final structure and arrangements are decided during rehearsals, but some parts of the album came up during jamming.
‘For A While’ was quite easy to arrange in one or two rehearsals. It was also easier for us to make it sound exactly as we wanted during the recording and mixing, compared to the other tracks, because of its less-is-more arrangement approach. We used to play it live with different lyrics, but the final lyrics were written just before we started recording the vocals. They’re about an everyday tale of dysfunctional love. Because of its catchiness we refer to it as the “hit” of the album, to make fun of our more ”poppish” side.
‘Be’ is based on the oldest idea that came to life with this album, dating back in 2006, though its last part was added years later during a jam with one of our first line-ups. Over the years we tried to come up with a vocal line for it, but in the end we decided it works better as an instrumental “piece”. When we started playing together, we named our ideas A, B and C. B became ‘Be’, just to make us sound falsely deep.
On 16th December you are about to present your debut live at Death Disco! Should we expect a different approach, or if you prefer a more energetic one, from your recording?
Hmmm, do you mean we don’t sound energetic enough in the album?
On stage, the interaction between the band members, but also between us and the audience brings out the bands real energy, which we tried to captivate on the album. Technically speaking there are some little details on the arrangements that we change during gigs. Also they may be some friends helping us on stage and one or two covers as a bonus.
You’ll just have to come and check it out yourself!
On your Facebook page you state: “….try to combine their influences from British post-punk, us indie rock, shoegaze and psych music….”. Which bands have defined your sound?
It’s difficult for most bands to describe their sound, because most of the influences come out unconsciously. On the other hand when you “have” to consciously rip off someone, you should rip off the best. Pixies, Joy Division, Sonic Youth, Mogwai, Pavement, Radiohead may be some of our influences, but we’re sure that there are more artists from various genres that inspired us, practically anything we listen to.
Is the ‘City We Love To Hate’, Athens?
The lyrics on the album’s title track contain images of our city during the years of crisis: images of violence, poverty and despair in contrast with images of forced indulgement and/or gentrification. Some of those lyrics are repeated on other tracks too, composing the album’s central concept.
Do you feel part of the Athenian indie/alternative scene? Do you believe that exists one? Or you are ‘Easy Riders’, ‘riding on your own’?
We consider ourselves part of the Greek music scene in general. Not only in the alternative music field. There are lots of great bands we can relate to into other rock, Heavy, psychedelic and experimental music genres.
Which are your 2017 plans? Touring and promoting your debut? Are you thinking of performing also abroad?
We hope to play as many gigs we can within the country. Performing abroad is not yet in our plans for this year.
Photo credits: Achilleas Zafiris