Interview: Cancer Bats


Cancer Bats have been touring their ferocious brand of hardcore punk across the world since last year’s release of Dead Set on Living.  They have steadily grown a large and loyal fan base as a result of their monstrous live shows and tireless touring, as well as a devastating new set of songs coming out from their most recent release. Cancer Bats recently announced the impending arrival of a deluxe re-issue of the critically acclaimed record, slated for a February 12th release, and have also released a new video for the song “Bricks and Mortar” as 2012 was drawing to a close. recently sat down with drummer Mike Peters in between tours to chat about the upcoming re-issue, touring, and the mysterious alter ego that is Bat Sabbath. 

So you guys just finished playing a bunch of shows across Europe with Enter Shikari. How was it playing with those guys?

It was great, they’re definitely a different band from us and they definitely have a different fan base, which is great for us.  It’s good to play in front of new people, but at the same time it can be tough because sometimes those new people don’t give a fuck about your band.  It’s rewarding when they do, though. Then you see a bunch of kids who have never heard of you getting into your band, which is exciting.

You guys are heading to Australia after touring the Canadian East Coast, are you excited to play somewhere a little warmer after being in the cold out East?

Yeah, it’ll be a welcome change, it was cold in Europe too; we haven’t been able to get away from the snow yet.

Your latest album Dead Set On Living has been out for a while now, it dropped last April. How has the reception been thus far?

It’s been great.  It’s been – I think – one of the best for the records. Everyone’s been excited; all our old fans have come back and been excited about the record and a lot of new people have been getting into it as well.

98-DeadSetOnLiving-ReIssueSo Cancer Bats are releasing a re-issue of Dead Set On Living in February; what can we look forward to that’s new on this edition?

Yeah, February 12th. There are four songs that were recorded when we were recording Dead Set On Living which are now being released with it. The songs are awesome; I’m really excited to have those finally out so we can start playing them live and stuff like that. Also, there’s a five song EP bundled in with it that is five Black Sabbath songs.

Yeah, I’ve heard the Cancer Bats alter ego is Bat Sabbath. How did that end up happening?

Yeah, we did a festival called Sonisphere in the summer of 2010. Right before we were getting ready to start working on Dead Set On Living.  It was a festival over in Europe, and we got asked by the festival to do an extra set at the end of the night. I think Slipknot was the headliner, so it was kind of post-Slipknot for all the people there camping. So we decided to do Black Sabbath songs, and it was just written in the program “Bat Sabbath”, but it didn’t explain who it was, or what it was, or anything.  So we ended up doing it, and it went over really well, and then people were excited about it and the word spread and we ended up doing ten shows in Ontario and Quebec, and then we did a couple shows throughout Europe after that. When we started touring for Dead Set On Living there were a couple people who were like ‘well you could do a second show as Bat Sabbath’ and we were like, ‘yeah okay, sure why not?’  So we’ve ended up doing maybe twenty shows as Bat Sabbath. So recording was the only natural next step.

So, on Dead Set On Living you worked with producers Eric Ratz and Kenny Luong. What is it like working with these guys?

It’s great; they’ve worked on every Cancer Bats record. We tour so much and we have this amazing relationship with them where we pretty much don’t see each other for two full years, and then we get to a point where we’re 90% done the record. Then we call them and we’re like ‘hey would you want to come and start helping us make demos and really fine tune the album?’ And then we get to hang out with them for two months straight, so it’s like we hang out almost every day with them. They’re down at the studio for at least a couple hours helping us and we go over to their studio as well. We have this amazing relationship, and they’re like brothers to us almost now, like an extension of the band.

And it’s cool because we’ve gotten to the point now where we can trust each other, and they can tell us like ‘you know what Mike, that drum fill sucked’ and I can say ‘yeah you’re probably right’. And I can say ‘well man I really like this’ and they’ll say ‘well you may like this, but it makes the song sound really weird.’ And it’s like ‘oh okay, well I’ve got to figure out something different.’

So you guys have been touring pretty hard for a while now, where is your favourite place to tour?

Ohh, favourite place to tour…Oh geez, there’s so many great places. I mean we just came back from Europe, we played Prague, which is always an amazing time. Barcelona is always an amazing city to play.  But then at the same time we go to Vancouver or Halifax. You know so much of touring, at least for us, the good time is obviously the show but also the friends we have in the area, if we know that there’s a really good coffee spot or really good food somewhere. It’s hard to pinpoint right now our favourite place to tour. But every tour there’s always somewhere amazing, usually those places are 1 in 10 or 1 in 5 but it’s still great.

Over the last couple years you guys have toured with and helped out the band A Sight For Sewn Eyes.  What are your thoughts on up and coming bands like these guys?

Well A Sight For Sewn Eyes, those guys are a great band. They’re all really talented musicians. They’re amazing dudes, really fun to tour with, really easy-going and hardworking. You know, we were taken under wing by bands, especially Alexisonfire and Billy Talent when we were starting out, and they were like ‘hey this is how you do it’, ‘hey come on tour with us here, come on tour with us there’ .

So we kind of understand that that’s a very important part of being in a band – is giving back and trying to help and guide the younger bands, because if they don’t have someone to be like ‘hey this is how you do it’ or ‘come on, play in front of our fans now, because your band’s awesome and we want you guys to do well.’ If no one did that for us then we wouldn’t be where we are right now, so it’s very important.

So lastly, anything you’d like to share with any fans out there who will be reading the interview?

Go out and get the re-issue if you can, go pick it up, the new songs are awesome and the Black Sabbath songs are obviously not as good as the original, but still they’re pretty good, they’re pretty tight. We’re really excited to come out to the East Coast again and get a bit more touring in Canada. It’s always fun to be at home!


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