Let’s just get this out of the way right out of the gates: Toronto Blessings are a fucking amazing band. Yet again, I’d never heard of these guys when the intrepid folks from Rogue PR hit me up about doing an interview. It took me about 10 seconds of one song to understand that this was some insanely rad shit. They’re doing noise rock (for the kids in the back of the class that’s bands like Unsane, Fight Amp, The Jesus Lizard, WHORES., etc.) but they’re doing something NEW with it and it gets me super-stoked. These guys are injecting a little more rock-n-roll into the noise, throwing in some synth touches, and peppering the whole concoction with some excellent melodic sensibilities that elevates them beyond compare.
Not a bad deal, standing toe to toe with your contemporaries AND taking the genre to new heights. Suck on that, 2020 Weezer.
It’s not often that bands can transcend their chosen genre tag to truly innovate but you don’t have to take my word for it- one quick listen is all it’ll take for you, just like it did for me, to become a rabid fan of this super-fresh take on an already stupendous kind of music. Noise rock rules, and Toronto Blessings are showing that there is still a fucking TON of new life left in it too, so it’s a genuine pleasure for me to share the conversation I had with them with YOU. I just said “with” too many times in a row but I’m powering through. Fuck you, grammar police.
These dudes seem like a good time and you need to get on board NOW, and I think you’ll agree after hearing what Rik (vocals/bass) and Dale (guitar/synth/vocals) have to say about all the shit I threw at them. Plus, I totally convinced them to talk shit about some bands they hate and I love it when bands aren’t too chicken-shit to call bullshit on others. Also, I’m an asshole.
(AFHGhost1) You guys are right up my alley, what’s your deal? How long have you guys been a band?
(Dale/TB) That’s very kind of you to say, thank you. We’ve been making music together as Toronto Blessings for about 2 years now. We played in bands together before too so we know each other really really well. We enjoy making a racket with each other!
Nice, it’s tough to find people you REALLY gel with musically, let alone to play in multiple bands together too. Most of my bands ended fairly acrimoniously, it’s probably why I’m better at this shit. Enough about me-The “noise rock” label has a pretty esteemed pedigree, who were your major touchpoints & influences when you started down that path? AmRep must be in there somewhere?
Yeah that’s fair. Certainly bands like Helmet, Melvins, and Cows are bands that we all listen to. How can you resist a band with a song called “Sexy Pee Story”?! Also more modern bands like Metz and Pissed Jeans too we all love. Plus we kind of try to take all the New Wave and Post Punk stuff we listen to and pass it through a Noise filter and it kind of sounds like us. The Cure, Cocteau Twins, Siousxie and the Banshees- just made fucking heavy.
Shit, I wish I had a song called “Sexy Pee Story”. That might be the fucking raddest set of descriptors I’ve ever had a band rep, it’s kind of like a “rad shit smoothie” and it’s fucking true too. I hear all those elements in there somewhere.There’s this other really cool side to your music too, it almost reminds me of what would happen if The Bronx took a bunch of pills and passed out on the floor while listening to Unsane records. Any merit to that super weird comparison?
Like the Bronx passed out on a train track and got their head cut off by a train? Personally I fucking love The Bronx. Matt Caughthran is an electric frontman, he’s infectious. I know a dude that tour managed their first UK tour and he was off the chain apparently. I heard a lot of stories about that tour! Hero!!!
(Rik/TB) I can remember buying Occupational Hazard back in the day and it blew my head clean off! Chuffin love Unsane, so it might make its way into our music from that.
True story- a lawyer in my hometown laid down on some train tracks right outside the apartment my mom and I lived in when I was six. We woke up to a bloody head lying in the snow and needless to say, that was my “popular day” in school. If you’re wondering why I’m so well-adjusted, it’s probably the severed head that did it. And yeah, Unsane is Gnar-Gnar Binks.
Being from Atlanta, GA here in the US, we have cranked out some pretty fantastic punk & noise rock bands ourselves- you guys heard of WHORES.? They’re fucking fantastic, so if you haven’t we’ll call it your homework!
(D) Of course we’ve heard of Whores! Total filth and certainly a band we have a massive amount of respect for. Actually I’ve not listened to them in a while so I’m going to blast my speakers right now.
(R) Top top top band! We’d love get some gigs with them! Have a word for us, ha.
I have kids so I don’t get out to as many shows as I used to, the last time I saw WHORES. I drunk-talked Christian Lembach’s poor ear off at the merch table and was so hammered that I lost my driver’s license- but I’m sure they’ll TOTALLY listen to my booking suggestions.
I digress, I mentioned earlier about how you guys definitely have your own thing going on and I can hear a ton of different influences going on in there- As I’m listening now I’m hearing a little bit of Refused in there too. You guys have done your fucking homework for sure, it’s nice to see people still making shit like this nowadays. It seems like everyone is trying to sound like Lorde, wispy singer over dubstep beat, rinse and repeat. Even fucking Weezer has gone electro-pop.
(D) I’ll not lie, we also love electro pop. As we’ve got a bit older we seem to want to listen to more diverse genres. Certainly we love having the option of the synthesizer in our arsenal. That being said, yes we’re fans of Refused. Mostly the old stuff though, SOPTC is a genre defining classic. I just wanted to be in Refused when that album came out. Got a Dennis Lyxzén haircut and went from baggy trousers to tight as fuck jeans. Weezer are fucking dogshit now though. The first 3 albums are so good. Blue was the soundtrack to my awkward teenage years. Oh man I could fucking cry.
Fuck yeah, I fucking knew it! And just FYI, I totally don’t hate electro-pop or anything like that. I just find it hilarious and a little sad that a band like Weezer- who gave us “My Name Is Jonas” are now for some reason dressing like teenagers and trend-jumping to sound like Panic At The Disco. It’s just fucking off-putting. Imagine if the Melvins started sounding like Fall Out Boy and King Buzzo threw on some of those neon sunglasses. The music world would take a collective shit and die. You see my point.
So you guys would probably fucking kill it over here, any plans to come over to the US anytime soon?
(D) All 3 of us would kill to get over to the US and play. Unfortunately it’s pretty expensive and we don’t have any label backing. Unless you guys want to put together a crowd funding thing and we’ll come over, play some shows, and get smashed with you guys! Make it happen, yes?!!
I love you guys, but if I’m crowd funding anything at this point it’s gonna be for this shit! Anywho, let’s have a little fun- since noise rock is known for being fairly sarcastic and angry, let’s play along. What are the top 5 albums or artists you hate the most.? Be honest or I’ll say you hate The Jesus Lizard and they’ll come for you.
(R) I’m not scared of Yow! Actually , yes I am. So here we go, this is harder than it sounds! Haha.
I am going with bands that aren’t Noise Rock, just plain old shit.
1. Royal Blood = Wank version of Death From Above 1979. Annoying as fuck. Tame.
2. Libertines = Music for junkies, by junkies. Would sell your Nan for smack. I can fart more in tune.
3. Coldplay = The wife likes their earlier stuff, but it’s all shite to me. A band who couldn’t be more bland if they tried. Vanilla is fuckin offended.
4. The 1975 = arfhtgghh! Words can’t describe how much I hate this band. One of the UKs biggest bands, jeez. Also should be blamed for Brexit
5. Placebo = The Kings of crap alternative. I don’t know anyone who has a worse voice. Really shit, fuck off.
Nice, I’d share mine but I gotta keep up SOME kind of illusion of diplomacy. I’ll give you this though- I agree about the Libertines, I think Coldplay’s first two albums are great and everything else was turd-sandwich fodder, I’ve never really given The 1975 a shake, and I fucking LOVE Placebo so now I’m angry and I’m gonna shit-post you all over Twitter. Not really, I’m not a petulant child. I’m honestly not even the biggest fan of what Brian Molko does vocally but there’s some fucking rad guitar stuff going on there. I’m vanilla on Royal Blood, my other half (FemaleGG) likes them and I’m sort of indifferent. They’re playing Shaky Knees this year (ATL festival) so this will be our “come to Jesus meeting”. I’ll report back. Now for a question that won’t get you pelted with beer cans- what are Toronto blessings’ favorite albums/songs to get in that pre-show fucking battle mode?
(R) I think if we stick on anything by Viagra Boys it would be a fuck off party! We love that band and they can get you in the mood for anything! Crank it up have some beers and we’re ready to go!
Nice! I really hope you guys find your way over here cause this has been super-fun, we’ll stay in touch and I can stan you from across the pond for now. Seriously, thanks for taking the time to do this, I’m really stoked to have found out about you guys and my readers will be too. Where can they find you online, when’s some new music on the way, and where’s the next show? You know, the promo shit.
(R) Thank you! We appreciate this interview! We’ll we have lots of new songs ready to go. We just need to get into the studio now. It’ll more than likely be another long EP, we’ll see. The new songs are a little heavier, noisier, and darker so it’ll be right up your street! Our next gig booked so far is Huddersfield UK 19th Feb, but am sure we’ll squeeze some in before then.
Fuck yeah gentlemen, I’ll throw all the links in at the end. This has been a really rad time and I’m really looking forward to keeping tabs on you guys in a non-creepy manner!
Well, there you have it Ghosties. Toronto Blessings are a fucking fantastic bunch of dudes who make fucking FANTASTIC music. If anything we talked about is even REMOTELY up your street you’re going to want to make haste to the links below to devour everything they have going on. “Asleep” is a fucking juggernaut of an album too, so buy it and help these guys drum up the funds to come over here and melt our faces. Lots more interviews to come, and I hope to be announcing a couple big ones soon so stay tuned and rage on.
HUGE thanks to Rogue PR for turning me on to Toronto Blessings, who you can listen to and interact with on the interwebs at the following locations:
A brand new blog/website where these happily married, 30-something parents of 2 little minions rant, rave, and speak in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together! http://theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration