Tag Archives: Mike Haliechuk

Ep. #136: Absolutely Free

Absolutely Free is a powerful and ambitious three-piece band from Toronto, Ontario. For years, Matt King, Moshe Rozenberg, and Mike Claxton used to play together in a fantastic post-punk outfit called DD/MM/YYYY that put on one of the best live shows in the world. After they broke up, King, Rozenberg, and Claxton eventually reconvened to create music that was a little less frenetic and possibly more dynamic; they seemed keen to explore psychedelic, textured pop and Krautrock as touchstones for something unprecedented. The latest manifestation of their work is their first full-length, self-titled album, which is out October 14 via Arts & Crafts, and on Saturday October 11, they’ll perform the record with a special hologram/laser light show at the Long Winter Bloor Hot Docs Theatre Take Over Event in Toronto. Here, Matt and Moshe talk about throwing vegetables into the fire, DD/MM/YYYY and 11/11/11, absolute freedom, guitars and synthesizers, you can stop the rock, RHCP with an emo twist, misinterpretations and the right comparisons, that time I emailed Moshe during a show, a dysfunctional band can be like a bad tooth, Absolutely Free keeps getting smaller and more impossible, sister act, the rough side of Richmond Hill, southern Ontario hardcore punk, Dan Deacon in Toronto, Mike Claxton was in a band called Plant the Bomb, MuchEast and the Wedge VHS collections, loving the Super Friendz, Jack Grunsky, Boyz II Men, Celine Dion, the Offspring, Green Day, Nirvana, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, adult excitement for music, mixing textured vocals kinda low, Steve Clarkson, mistakes, hazy trends, my SCTV Complete Series box set, the way in which Mike Haliechuk of Fucked Up produced and contributed to the new record, life and time and light, existentialism and transcendence, climbing the ladder, external considerations and receptions, scoring the film Two Cares Due None, releasing a bunch of unreleased material, holographic versions of Absolutely Free are playing Long Winter this Saturday while the actual band is in Hamilton, Toronto Laser Services, the song “Earth II,” and then we’re absolutely free.

Related links: absolutelyfree.ca torontolongwinter.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #119: Constantines

Constantines are a powerful and influential band who originally formed in Guelph, Ontario in 1999. After releasing four acclaimed and inspiring post-punk/rock ‘n’ roll albums, Constantines went on indefinite hiatus in 2010. The band have reconvened in recent months and Sub Pop reissued their classic 2003 album Shine a Light this past June. Constantines are playing a number of shows over the coming months, including stops in Sackville, NB (SappyFest, Aug. 3), Peterborough, ON (Peterborough Folk Festival, Aug. 22), Ottawa, ON (Arboretum Festival, Aug. 23), Toronto, ON (The Molson Canadian Amphitheatre w/ Arcade Fire, Aug. 29), Toronto, ON (The Danforth Music Hall, Oct. 2), Montreal, QC (Club Soda, Oct. 4), Vancouver, BC (Commodore Ballroom, Oct. 8),  Calgary, AB (Commonwealth Bar & Stage, Oct. 9), and Edmonton, AB (UPDT Festival, Oct. 11). Here, Steven Lambke, Doug MacGregor, Dallas Wehrle, Will Kidman, Bry Webb, and myself discuss playing “Keep On Rockin’ in the Free World” with Jack Layton, Olivia Chow, and members of Barenaked Ladies, Dallas Good calls Dallas Wehrle, the yellow tape, unsafe seasonal tours, the freak hail storm at the Sasquatch! Music Festival, Paul’s Boutique and shows at Who’s Emma, Mike Haliechuk from Fucked Up set up a Captain Co-Pilot show, hardcore bands from the 90s, Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, the video for “One” by Metallica, Mats Naslund and Wayne Gretzky, skiing, Glenview Park Secondary School, Dallas won the gym award, Rob Pal, I won the French award, Tyler Williams, Dallas liked industrial music, the high school airband showcase and Nine Inch Nails, Ted Lambke, discovering music in skate videos, Doug’s band Shoulder, the Button Factory in Kitchener, Pain Don’t Hurt, Gaffer, “New School Calypso (NSC),” Rob Pal named Captain Co-Pilot, the London hardcore scene, Hoover and Lincoln, why Shoulder ended, why Captain Co-Pilot ended, tiny ladies are time-consuming, the 37 Elizabeth Street house, Tony the landlord, Tom McKnight, bouncer dudes from the Palace, how Constantines started, Cambridge eyeroll, excited about bands like ourselves, Three Gut Records origin show, the song “Arizona,” Dallas recalls the hilarious legend of crusty punk/European road manager Jörg, that Sasquatch! Music Festival hailstorm story again, Dallas thought he might die, Will climbs the rafters, Ayr and Cambridge, Southwood Secondary School, Ayr house show, Patrick Swayze and Road House, this guy Ryan, Cambridge shows would always get shut down, the Mighty Fishermen, that guy Brent who ripped us off, we all had a crush on Jill Holmberg, Dallas and Steve and I played in a band called Dioctave, the Unfuckable Cum Bums, the bands Curb, Ground, and the Mighty Fishermen, Mr. Gouveia’s French class and Tony Tabu, work on your scales, Mr. Carbone’s guitar class got Dallas playing music, judhaynes.com, Metallica again but also Ministry, adding a drum machine to a three-piece punk band, playing in Dallas’ living room and Ted Lambke yelled at us about Black Sabbath, Minnow was a big influence on Captain Co-Pilot, Will became a Captain Co-Pilot fan and gave Steve a tape of his music at that show, Dallas wasn’t into HPX, small women, how Will joined Constantines at a recording session, Who’s Emma, Cons reunion, the song “Insectivora,” Bry’s the most frequent guest on this podcast except for Jon Spencer, acting and fakery, everyone assumes Constantines are very serious, playing the first reunion show in Guelph in June, 106 Huron Street, shy guys, playing in a newly-invented eco-village in Sweden whose design was partially influenced by Guelph, a social night for Swedish teens, dreams come true, being scared to death about selling out, integrity and the end of the Cons, returning with sensitivity, contemplating writing new songs with the Cons, expanding the tour dates to play a show with Arcade Fire in Toronto on August 29 and across more of Canada, as well as Seattle and Portland, the Danforth Music Hall, dealing with Cons stuff and Bry Webb and the Providers at the same time, Sackville and Dawson City, Sandbanks Provincial Park, Massey Hall footage, the song “Time Can Be Overcome,” and then time can’t be overcome.

Related links: theconstantines.wordpress.com subpop.com/artists/constantines vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #104: Fucked Up

Fucked Up are a really awesome and prolific band from Toronto who make great, smart rock records and do remarkable, community-minded things for people less fortunate than themselves. On June 3, Matador Records is releasing the band’s fourth proper album outside of the thousands of singles and EPs they’ve released over the past 13 years. The new record is called Glass Boys, I saw some of it get recorded in Chicago at Electrical Audio last summer, and there are at least two versions of it, one normal, one slow, that you can listen to. A couple of weeks ago, I went to Fucked Up’s practice space and, like some journalistic Noah, interviewed the band in pairs, starting with singer Damian Abraham and drummer Jonah Falco, following up with bassist Sandy Miranda and guitarist Ben Cook, and finally guitarists Mike Haliechuk and Josh Zucker. So yeah, Damian and Jonah are first and we talk about their mysterious practice space, Sloan and Danko Jones, beefs, Career Suicide, 13 years of Fucked Up and serious practice spaces, roller coaster land, my odd hair day, the band’s current collective emotional state, #marriage, Sandy, hair, and cars, who in Fucked Up actually knows what’s going on, the lyrics of Glass Boys and the burden of nostalgia, working towards the future, punk rock and archiving, music is non-formalized, Mike’s interesting instrumental ideas and multiple drum kits, alternate tempos and the half-time, spatial version of Glass Boys, many suggestions for special guest ‘back-up’ vocalists, J Mascis, Gord Downie is a good person, Mike likes songs, marijuana, Damian thinks Glass Boys is a concept record, being perfectly set up to fail, where we fit in and fulfilling our dreams, the song “Warm Change,” Sandy and Ben and I talk about her broadcasting experience, which includes doing the Mods and Rockers radio show on CIUT with Damian and Collective Concerts’ Jeff Cohen when she was a teenager, another show she did on CKLN, and working for Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting, driving all the way to New Jersey to play for 25 minutes, how Sandy joined Fucked Up in March 2001, Ben was a fan of Mods and Rockers, Smegheads, Toronto punk, Melanie Kaye, opening up for the Stooges on August 6, 2008, Ben’s first Fucked Up show was in Montreal after being their roadie, Ben thinks Mike had a crush on him, packing tea, Ben was the buffer, removing oneself from an emo, dysfunctional group, Fucked Up Zen, Sandy might be losing it, some people are getting along better, Ben goes off about stuff sometimes, Toronto people should be louder, recording chunks of Glass Boys with only certain members at places like Electrical Audio in Chicago, the songs are written together, Mike and Jonah took lead roles, other people played bass on this LP and Sandy’s not really ok with that, proper pairing, ill communication, bands are too much like families, Ben thinks Glass Boys is about Mike and Damian’s weird vibes about getting older and now they’re friends, Sandy thinks it’s about end times and the uncertainty that comes with growing older, Ben is surprisingly optimistic, Fucked Up has more gas but there might be a hole in the tank, the song “Sun Glass,” it’s not all cotton candy and unicorns, the song “DET,” drugs, I try to ask Josh and Mike about the song “DET” but it’s a Damian song and it’s very personal, I went to a bakery, New Jersey might be better than Japan, work is work, Mike begins to become a very difficult interview subject, Mike thinks that he’s 29 and I’m old, I try to take him seriously, Mike goes through the litany of philosophical questions that Glass Boys attempts to answer, Mike says he and Damian didn’t actually write this record together, tension vs. weirdness, Mike played piano when he was a kid, Josh was in a Toronto hardcore band called Youngblood when he was 12 years old, at one point Mike was an aimless drifter, I keep asking Mike about songs Damian wrote, Damian references historical and literary figures, I didn’t do my research, another question about Fucked Up’s “tensions,” Mike blames the media, I’m asking stock questions apparently, Mike and I have interview tension, Mike breaks down the FAQ he’s been getting about Glass Boys, Mike didn’t know Sandy was upset, Josh is “honest guy,” Mike doesn’t think administration talk is good podcast fodder, how the ideas (not “concepts”) for Glass Boys came to be, writing about the music industry, Mike seems into my question about his references to “echo” on this album, the hardcore punk continuum, embracing nostalgia and taking responsibility for one’s place in time, what Fucked Up talk about amongst themselves, Positive Force, the groovy rationale behind Glass Boys’ multiple tempos, where the album title comes from, Mike likes writing, pharmacists don’t have to have good origin stories, the Year of the Hare Zodiac single and my haircut, Mike wants to know how my podcast works, Mike works out and he beat me at an arm wrestle in Newfoundland and I didn’t like it, Josh wants this horror show to end, Mike thinks the slower Glass Boys songs might be longer than the regular ones, “Sun Glass [Slow version],” Nils Bernstein, and then the fiasco is over.

Related links: fuckedup.cc matadorrecords.com/fucked_up vishkhanna.com

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