Interview by Dale Evans of Toronto Blessings
How would you describe your music?
Noisy, Catchy, Intense, Spacious. We’re a noisy rock band who incorporate elements of synth and spacious new wave style sections. We’re like the bastard love child of The Rentals, Pissed Jeans and Fotocrime. You can dance to our music and it would be lovely if you did.
Tell us about how the history of the band?
Us three used to play in the Band Cavorts before this one. Our singer Matthew moved to Berlin to follow his heart and move in with his girlfriend. We were still practising and writing and kind of out of the blue Rik just picked up a mic and started singing along. It was a real moment and we all looked at each other like, “We could totally do this!” So Toronto Blessings was born. I got the name from a feature in a newspaper about Sleaford Mods where it said that the lead singer looked like he was receiving the Toronto Blessing. I thought, that’s a fucking cool name for a band, Rik and Murray agreed and it came to pass that it was to be.
What are you influences/ musical heroes?
Metz, Meat Wave, Idles, The Bronx, Pissed Jeans, Pixies, Nirvana, Cave In, Black Sabbath, QOTSA, Fucked Up.
My all time musical hero is Lemmy. we’re not much like Motorhead but Lemmy was the zenith of Rock N Roll cool. That dude did not give a fuck, he told it like he saw it. But on the flip side of that coin he was a gentleman and a scholar. The world is a much poorer place because there’s no Lemmy Kilmister in it.
What inspires you?
Musically we’re just trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Reaching for the perfect riff or perfect feel to a song. Something that will communicate a vibe, an emotion. Lyrically we’re trying to make sense of how the world is falling apart. We’re not trying to preach or change anyone’s opinion we’re trying to get our heads around the whole sorry mess. Also having fun whilst doing so, I mean if it’s all going to shit you might as well fucking party, right!
Do you write on the road? or do you prefer to write in the studio?
We never really write on the road. When we tour it’s pretty much all in. Driving, lifting gear and playing. Sometimes we even have to come home and work! It’s easier to set aside time to write in the rehearsal studio. When we do we’re really productive. We wrote the bulk of our album in the space of 2 or 3 months. We discarded about 5 or 6 songs before that too as they weren’t quite in the vein of what we’re about.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
We have a new song called ‘Asleep’ which is my favourite. It’s an angular new wave number with a massive crescendo of an ending. It’s a song where we throw everything in, drums are pounding and hypnotic, bass is ridiculously massive, the synth is burning away in the subs and the guitar is chiming out like a bell. A bell with a load of fuzz on it. It’s beautiful but incredibly heavy.
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
I’d love to tour with Idles or Metz. I love both of those bands. We just saw Metz in Manchester the other night and they were incredible. So intense and the noise they make for a 3 piece is unreal.
What are you current thoughts on the music industry?
It’s in a funny place at the moment. A transitional period. I think we need to work out a way for bands to be paid a fair amount for fans listening to their music. Streaming is great, it means as a band you can self release as many songs as often as you’re able to write and record them. It doesn’t pay though. Which means most bands are basically travelling t-shirt salesmen. Which for me is a little odd. I don’t have any answers but it feels like something needs to change.
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
One time we were doing a van share with a band (who I shall not name to save embarrassment) we were on tour with. They had some of our gear in the back of their van and were travelling north at night. The driver fell asleep and drove up the embankment of the M1 and into a field! Miraculously no one was hurt but the van was stuck through a fence and in a ditch. The next morning we had to drive to the van and pick out all of our gear from the back. As we were there the police showed up to make sure we weren’t stealing. We told the rozzer who we were and eventually he let us take our gear back. We gave him a CD and as far as I know he was into it! It was all a bit odd. Thankfully no one got hurt!
What are your future plans?
Our new single is out on Friday 11th May. It’s called ‘Give Nothing’ and it’s a little banger. It’s the first song that I put some synth on so it’s very exciting for me personally. We have a few local festivals that were playing this summer then we’re looking to tour as much as possible. If you have a gig for us, hit us up!