The Burning Hell is one of the best and smartest pop, rock, folk bands in the world. Led by founder Mathias Kom and his partner Ariel Sharratt, the Burning Hell consist of people from Peterborough, Ontario, St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Their latest witty, outspoken, and reflective album is called Public Library, it’s out now via a wonderful Canadian label called Headless Owl and in Europe via BB*ISLAND, and has prompted the band to tour all over the place. On a recent Sunday, I caught up with Mathias and Ariel to discuss the board games café Snakes and Lattes in Toronto, union dues, coffee connections, knowing Mathias and seeing all of Canada with him and Wax Mannequin, straight edge, thinking about our time and childhood, the ’80s and the ’50s, how industries create their own markets, creating content for YouTube when they don’t pay artists anything for that content, how to make a living, selling t-shirts and Protomartyr, pity purchases, the failure of albums versus live shows and how live shows became an outlet for bands to play their whole albums in sequence, guilt-free movie downloading, hardcore Burning Hell fans, what playing Glastonbury was like, general audiences, too many music festivals and music’s economic landscape, experiential music hangs, things have changed, capitalism was right maybe, Girls Rock Camp and clarinets, the joy of playing music live, where Mathias comes from, where Ariel and Mathias came from, our age of empowerment, dealing with terrible people, a community band that almost seemed imaginary, Peterborough and the Silver Hearts, living down a ramshackle history, the Ariel and Mathias album Don’t Believe the Hyperreal, the new Burning Hell album Public Library and then Mathias makes me read a spiel I wrote for it, the Burning Hell are cool, Al Tuck again, the middle ages, advocacy and obscurity, coffee is fattening, “Fuck the Government, I Love You,’ David Berman likes this song, and then, board game over.
Related links: wearetheburninghell.com headlessowlrecords.bandcamp.com vishkhanna.com