Calling All Captains Announce Summer Tour with Chief State
Calling All Captains Announce Summer Tour with Chief State
Calling All Captains recently announced a tour with Chief State, with both the Canadian bands making their way to the Southland. Locals shows will include Los Globos in Los Angeles on June 11th and Chain Reaction in Anaheim on June 12th. A few weeks before the announcement, Highwire Daze interviewed vocalist Luc Gauthier to find out more about Calling All Captains and their recently issued Slowly Getting Better album via Equal Vision Records. With a compelling amalgamation of pop punk and post hardcore, Slowly Getting Better by Calling All Captains is an exhilarating collection of sonic artistry well worth seeking out. Read on to find out more about this amazing up-and-coming band…
First of all, where is your band from and how long you guys have been together.
We’re called Calling All Captains. We’re from Edmonton, Alberta. We’ve been together for damn near seven years now. We all came together from other bands in the scene, just kind of filtered down all the people that wanted to play this and brought us all together. Now, we got some tunes, and we got a lineup that’s really solid and we all work together. Everybody knows what we’re here for.
And of course, you signed to Equal Vision. How did you wind up signing with that iconic label?
Well, we just hit them up with our old manager and just made it happen – just kind of one call after another. I just want to give a big shout-out to our old manager for putting our foot in the door, but our current manager now also with the latest release of Slowly Getting Better. It’s actually released in partnership with New Damage Records. So we got a double trouble thing going on here. New Damage has Canada for the release and then Equal Vision takes the rest of the world.
Let’s talk about Slowly Getting Better. Is there any overall story or concept behind the title Slowly Getting Better?
Yeah, we came up with the name, a little bit before the pandemic even started. And it’s just kind of worked out that all of the songs we ended up writing were kind of introspective. We’re talking about all of the stuff we’ve gone through. But it has a bit of a hopeful tinge to it. That was the thing we’re going into this record with was especially with the writing and everything like that. We call it Slowly Getting Better even before we knew what all of the songs would be.
So it was really helpful to us that we had a formed-out plan / concept behind what we wanted to do with the album. Not necessarily what the music would be. And then we took about, 25 to 30 demos that we had lying around and see what could all fit together, cohesively. What we would need to change. How can we go from our songs like Loyalty right to our songs like Steady Pensive, which almost don’t sound like the same band if you played it back to back, but they still sound like Calling on Captains. That was one of the biggest things we tried to do with these 11 songs, was give each song their own identity and kind of see how far we can push our own boundaries.
One of your songs, the first single which is Laurel Canyon, I live in Los Angeles and there’s actually a place out here called Laurel Canyon…
Oh, I know.
Well, tell me a little bit about that song and the inspiration behind it.
Okay. So, Laurel Canyon is actually not named because of that location. It was written on a Laurel Canyon guitar. We were actually in New York Rochester at that time. And the song is written by mostly Connor. And yeah, it’s just like we kind of looked at a situation in my own life and kind of wrote a song about it.
Let’s talk about another song, I’m Done, tell me a little about that song and the inspiration behind it.
Okay, so I’m Done is just like – I feel like we’ve been compromising a lot especially in our personal lives – where we kind of have to take the knee just to get through the situation. We have all these like pent-up thoughts and things we wanted to say, but otherwise can’t. So, I get with I’m Done, it’s like, “Oh, man.” There are lots of good lines out there. But I guess this is the overall feeling of I’m Done and the explanation behind it. Just like, sometimes you’ve just had enough. You had enough from that one person.
What has it been like to write and record music and now release music in the middle of the pandemic and all this crazy social unrest it’s going on in the world today?
Holy smokers, man. Honestly, it was just a task to even put out this record. It took us two years to kind of, formulate the plans and make sure everything was right and perfect and with vinyl pressings and delays. I’ll admit it came with its fair share of obstacles. But I think the obstacles are kind of what made this record better.
A lot of bands have used the pandemic as its inspiration and they’ve actually found more time to write and get everything done because of the pandemic.
Oh, man. It’s so funny. We wrote all the songs before the pandemic. We were all set to go record in Ohio, but when the pandemic hit, borders closed down. We actually just wrestled up with our old producer who did Nothing Grows Here. We work amazingly with him, and we just put together a plan and started writing these new songs. And then the pandemic started to really get bad.
We have a little documentary series out now on YouTube called “Making an Album” and it shows how in like the first couple weeks of the record, Brad’s roommate actually got symptoms, and then, he actually had to stay away from the studio, during his isolation period. So, like all of the lyrical content that comes from this record, none of it is pandemically inspired.
We didn’t think to write a song about the pandemic or how it was making us feel because we were already dealing with so much before we even got into the pandemic when we were writing this record. We wanted to get these songs out right now before we write something that’s a bit more of the times, I guess. It’s not really of the times, but we wanted to really write something that didn’t just get attached to the pandemic.
Like 15 to 20 years from now. It’s not like a pandemic album. And that’s kind of really funny about why we named it. We stuck with the name Slowly Getting Better because, by the time we ended up putting this out, things are slowly getting better. It’s almost like manifesting it in a way. It’s like we really wanted to put out this album about Slowly Getting Better and with that, the world slowly got better too. And it is like every day is another healing day. Whether it be new information or just more progress.
Absolutely. And Slowly Getting Better is actually a positive title, where maybe if you recorded an album about the pandemic, every single song would be about like isolation.
Yeah. So there are some lines about isolation, but that’s toughly self-induced. (Laughs)
So you had a show last night at the Buckingham. How did that show go? Was that your first show since the pandemic?
That was definitely really good. I’d say it was our first. It was our first show altogether with the crowd. We did get to open up for Our Lady Peace, but that was without our bass player, Nick, and everybody was at tables. So it didn’t really quite feel like a full show. That was also super last minute. We actually got us open that about four days prior. We had to make it work, our bass player was on tour with Beartooth at that time. He’s part of their crew. He works under their tour manager, who’s also our manager. Shout out to him. But yeah, like last night was just so special. We had everybody that wanted to come out like, we know, it’s not the real show like today, but it was a more intimate setting. We played acoustic songs. We showed our documentary to everybody, we sold some merch. We had a backdrop for people to take photos in front of us.
All of this just made the rollout and the release of Slowly Getting Better a lot more special and especially because everybody at the Buckingham, they all love the band. We played shows and all those guys in their other bands before and even one of their bartenders helped write one of our songs in a record. Vacant Sentiment – shout out, Ty. We really like, to keep it not necessarily keep it local, but keep it within the family. Like, we got people, we’ve made connections with, over the years and we ride with them.
You mentioned Our Lady Peace, What was that experience like opening for them?
Oh, man. That was a gosh-darn trip, man. Let me tell you. First off, I had no idea, how big Our Lady Peace was when we got asked. Our guitar player Brad, he’s a really big Our Lady Peace fan. He’s like “Dude. This is huge. This is crazy!” And I just started talking to some of my siblings – like my sister she just turned 40 something. And she was just like, “Wow, this such a huge moment for you guys.“
I think, man, this is kind of blowing my mind right now and then I walked out on stage and there’s like thousands of people. There were hella people, but they’re all at tables to be fair, but still, it was crazy. It was so unbelievable to just stare out and see the people, and you can’t really quite see the end. Especially when you go from – we’ve played some DIY shows. We played some down and out shows – we’ll play those again, I’m sure. But, having this experience is something to behold, for sure.
If the music of Calling All Captains was a doughnut? What kind would it be and why?
If Calling All Captain’s was a doughnut, we would be a Boston cream doughnut. But the inside is filled with raspberry filling instead of Boston cream. So it’s like a big trip. So yeah, it’s like when you eat it, it’s like, oh, yeah. Wow, this is going to be a regular old Boston cream doughnut. But then, when you bite into it, you’re like, hey, what the hell is this? And that’s all the post-hardcore in our music. You look at a picture of us, it’s like, oh, yeah, look at this, very nice. Very nice pop-punk band. I bet you did play some nice soft music. Psych! (Laughs)
Are you currently involved with any other bands or projects outside of Calling All Captains?
It’s actually kind of a cool question I’ve never been asked this before. Personally, I’m a producer, I manage an artist right now and I’m mentoring him, helping him write songs. He’s called Hellxboy. I also have a solo project called Gaffwood. I roll with that. It’s nothing like Captain’s be warned. It’s a bit more akin to like that hyper poppy trap stuff. I really liked all that music. Yeah, that’s really cool. I’ve never been asked about my solo stuff for like projects outside of the band. That’s pretty cool.
Tell me a little more about Gaffwood. Do you have anything out…
Yeah. I have a Spotify page. I have 450 monthly listeners. Shout out y’all. Gaffwood has always been like a passion project. I just release songs because I want to make them. When I’m in Captains, there’s five people. So those five people write in the songs, right? We all have to make compromises, make sure we get the best song out of it. But with Gaffwood, it’s so free, half of it is freestyling. It’s just like another form of expression. My favorite song right now, that’s out. It’s a bit more substantial lyric-wise. It’s called All Along. Yeah, that’s a fun song. It’s kind of a sad tune as well. I also got another song of mine called Downtime, which is like a club song, it’s pretty cool. I always got guitars in my shit, though.
Okay, cool. Everyone check out Gaffwood including myself.
(Laughs) Let’s get it. Let’s get it up to 500 monthly listeners. Let’s make it happen.
What do you hope that 2022 brings for you and for Calling All Captains?
I hope it brings another North American tour. I hope we get to go to America again, for sure.
Calling All Captains is:
Luc Gauthier (vocals)
Brad Bremner (guitar/vocals)
Connor Dawkins (guitar/vocals)
Nick Malychuk (bass)
Tim Wilson (drums),
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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