Cancer Bats have been making music as dark as their name
suggests—angry, post-punk, post-hardcore metal that just raises just an
occasional eyebrow to more mainstream rock—since 2004, when singer Liam
Cormier and guitarist Scott Middleton met in Toronto, Canada, and
decided to form a band that would bring together their love of groups
like Black Flag, Led Zeppelin, Minor Threat and Down.
Both veterans of the Ontario metal scene, the pair recruited some
bandmates, recorded two albums of outstanding quality (the last, Hail
Destroyer, was the recipient of several impressive accolades after its
release in 2008) and will soon be getting on a plane to Keflavík to
play the Kerrang!-organised opening night of Airwaves. We called up
Liam for a chat.
So, have you guys been to Iceland before?
This is going to be our first time, we’re way too excited that it’s
worked out this way, as it’s one of those things we’ve always wanted to
do, you know? You get to tour so many spots but this one…
But, I mean, does anybody like our band there?
I believe you have quite a few fans in Iceland…
Oh really? Amazing! We’ve never been so we have no idea what we’re
getting ourselves into. We were stoked too that Kerrang! wanted us to
come and headline their party, they’ve been nothing but amazing to us.
Just from the fact that they’re like ‘this is going to be a good
idea—bring these Canadians over and we’ll have a huge party.’ I’ve only
ever heard good things from people who’ve been there and bands that
have played there. I hear from everyone that it’s a really good party
and everyone’s up for having a good time, which is the exact reason we
do any of this. I think it’s going to be good.
What can people expect from your Airwaves show apart from some new material?
We’re just going to go off. Playing in a new place is cool because
there are no expectations, I just want to blow these kid’s minds. I
think we’ll have a lot of pent-up energy from just getting off
recording this record so we’ll have been sitting around for a month so
for us, it’s all just going to explode.
What’s the scene like in Toronto currently? It’s a city famous for producing some fairly big bands lately…
“Oh yeah, it’s great here right now. The best thing about Toronto is
that there’s such a good scene for everything, people are into tons of
different stuff. You can have people who go out and watch Fucked Up and
the Constantines but at the same time will want to go and watch Career
Suicide or a Cancer Bats show. We’ve got a really good hardcore scene,
a really good metal scene and a really good indie rock scene and
everyone seems to be very supportive of each other. It’s definitely
Does that mean the scene is quite cliquey, with so many disparate elements?
It is actually really close-knit but I don’t think it’s very cliquey at
all. I find it’s really friendly, for the most part. You don’t tend to
be vibed out especially because we’re all hardcore metal kids going to,
say, an indie rock show but nobody is vibing us out and vice versa.
Everyone’s just there to hang out, as long as nobody’s being a dick.
There’s definitely a bigger division when you go to places like the US.
That can be a bit of a bum out. Whereas I think in Toronto everyone’s
into more of an umbrella of alternative culture, everybody’s just down
with having a good time.
Your band name is pretty unusual, how did you come up with it?
“I came up with it even before the band started. I wanted to start a
band and wanted to think of a good name that would go with the type of
music I wanted to play, and in my mind I thought that ‘cancer bats’
sounded like a rock and roll hardcore band. Like a B horror movie, with
bats attacking people. Plus I always thought that if you have an animal
attached to your name you have infinite possibilities for
merchandising—bat wings on everything.”
As Nick Knowles of Kerrang! magazine put it: “Cancer Bats playing 1am
at Sódóma, supported by the finest and freshest Icelandic rock talent,
I don’t think it gets better than that…” and we couldn’t agree more.
See you at the front, bat fans.
- When: Saturday 00:10
- Where: Sódóma
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