Interview by Sarah Williams.
Hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Bring On The Storm are yet more fuel on the fire of Canada’s jealousy-inducing skatepunk/melodic hardcore scene. They’re planning to self-release their debut album Altruism later this year; it’s eight tracks of upbeat melodies and intricate guitars, taking cues from bands like Belvedere, Propagandhi and A Wilhelm Scream. Although there’s a clear mix of influences, Bring On The Storm put their own twist on the classic skate-punk sound: one with poppier melodies and a touch of classic rock.
We fell in love with Altruism, so we spoke to bassist Josh Wallace to learn more about the band.
Heya! How would you sum up Bring On The Storm for someone who’s just discovering you?
Hey Sarah, thanks for taking the time to chat with me! We play fast melodic skate punk with bleak song titles and uplifting messages.
You’re releasing your debut album Altruism on November 4th. Can you tell us a bit about the journey that has led you up to this release?
We’re currently an independent band so everything we do is very DIY. That makes self releasing an album a massive undertaking and we have been working day and night to try and make this release something special.
The album was recorded from March to April of this year and the last five months have been a whirlwind of planning. From getting the artwork and album layout finished, to putting together a pre-order package that we think people will be excited about, there is a huge amount of work that goes into it. But at the end of the day it’s super rewarding and we can’t wait to start showing off the new songs!
You’ve got some big names involved in the album – you recorded with Casey Lewis (Belvedere) and it’s mixed and mastered by John Harcus (PMX). They’re both perfect for your sound, but how did their involvement come about?
Our singer/guitarist Chris has a pretty long history of recording with Casey at Echo Base Studios. I believe Altruism was the 10th record they have done together. Before he joined up with us, Chris fronted another punk band called Torches to Triggers. They put out 2 albums on Bird Attack Records and we just loved the way they sounded. Casey is a staple to the Calgary music scene. He has worked with a ton of bands and is just an all around legend and so he was an obvious choice. His contributions to the record are undeniable.
As for John, we just really love the albums he has been involved with and we’re big fans of PMX. When it comes to amazing sounding punk rock records he is the dude. We reached out to him to see if he would be interested and I think within 24 hours he had sent us back a test mix of one of our songs. We were blown away. Despite the huge time difference from Canada to Scotland he was incredibly quick at tweaking things for us and getting the album sounding exactly the way we wanted. All in all it was a great experience and we couldn’t be happier with the end result.
What made you decide on the name Altruism?
Altruism is basically selflessly helping somebody else even if it is at the detriment of yourself. It seems like nowadays an act of altruism is so rare that people aren’t even familiar with the word or what it means. Lyrically a lot of the songs have a positive message about making the world a better place or standing up for what is morally right. We felt like Altruism really summed that up nicely and it’s a concept we want to bring to more people’s attention. Let’s be better to each other!
Tell me a bit about how Bring On The Storm came to be – how did you meet?
Well, being from Canada it’s pretty much mandatory that you learn how to play hockey and so we really owe the sport all the credit! Our drummer Clay and guitarist Brandyn were teammates and they ended up chatting about music one night and discovered they both loved a lot of the same bands. I think my brother also played on the same team with them and so there’s that connection as well.
The 3 of us started writing songs together and put out an ad for a singer. We recruited a guy named Cody Coates and together with him recorded a 4 song demo under the name Bring on the Storm. After only a few shows Cody left the band (he actually plays drums in a really awesome band called The Fizzgigs now) and didn’t have to look too far to find a replacement. Chris previously played in a band called Back Pocket with Clay and, being familiar with his work in Torches to Triggers, we knew he would be a good fit for us. He came out to a jam one night and was stoked on the music we were writing. He rewrote all of our songs lyrically and added second guitar parts. It was definitely a game changer having Chris join the band. He brings so much to the table and his work ethic is unbelievable.
Which bands kick-started your interest in music when you were younger?
Propagandhi is definitely a big one as far as this genre of music is concerned. I think one of the first bass lines I ever learned to play was Ska Sucks and, as they progressed and became more technical, my interest in that style was elevated. Belvedere was huge too. I remember seeing the music video for Slaves to the Pavement on Much Music (basically Canada’s answer to MTV in America) and it was hugely inspirational to see guys from my hometown just absolutely crushing it. To this day I would list Fast Forward Eats the Tape as one of my all time favourites.
What’s inspired you most musically when writing for Altruism?
Personally I was listening to Partycrasher by A Wilhelm Scream and Wake the Dead by Comeback Kid every day on my way to practice for like a year straight. Those records just get me so fired up. Brandyn is the riff machine in the band though and his taste in music is pretty eclectic…
You’re based in Calgary, Alberta. There’s something special about a lot of the punk rock coming out of Canada these days – is there something in a water over there?
Haha yeah, Canada has been killing it lately when it comes to punk rock. I think it has something to do with the fact that some of the more successful bands here are pretty alternative, so we are exposed to it a lot more. It’s also so cold here in the winter that people don’t have anything to do but sit inside and play guitar for hours on end, which of course is going to make you a better musician.
When I’ve visited Calgary in the past, it’s seemed a bit of a bleak part of the country (no offence!). What’s the local music scene like there?
It’s a very supportive scene with a lot of talent. It seems like so many amazing bands are popping up all over the city lately and people are really into it. When you compare it to larger cities like Toronto or Vancouver it can definitely seem a lot smaller, but that just makes a tighter knit community. Everybody kind of knows everybody and you know if you go to a show on any given night you’re going to run into a few people and its going to be a good time.
How do you think your location has influenced your sound?
People really love their country music in Calgary. I don’t think that has influenced us in any way other than providing us with a stark contrast to compare our own musical tastes to. Fortunately there are also a ton of amazing skate punk bands in the area. Bands like Loser Points, Grizzly Trail and Downway to name a few. I guess just playing lots of shows with those bands influences us to write better songs. It’s like, “Damn this band is so tight! We better step up our game!”
What do you like to do when you’re not playing music?
Living so close to the Rocky Mountains I would say snowboarding is probably the best thing to do out here aside from playing music. We are lucky in the fact that we have world class resorts all over the place. I actually work at a ski/snowboard shop so it’s definitely a huge passion outside of music.
What are your ambitions for Bring On The Storm in the future?
We just want to continue to write killer tunes and play them for whoever will listen. As long as opportunities continue to come our way we are going to take them. Whether that be tours, festivals, or getting to work with more people we look up to. We’re having the time of our lives right now and I really couldn’t ask for three better dudes to share that with!