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SCENE SETTER: Cancer Bats ready to hang in Barrie

Playing live is 'the best part of the whole job for me. I just switch on auto-pilot and lose my mind for an hour,' says front-man Liam Cormier; Cancer Bats play The Queens Sept. 27
The Cancer Bats are, from left, Jaye Schwarzer, Liam Cormier and Mike Peters. The band will perform Sept. 27 at The Queens in downtown Barrie.

After more than two years since they were supposed to play in May 2020, hardcore heavyweights the Cancer Bats are returning to Barrie.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2006, Cancer Bats have carved their name into the foundation of hardcore music and have brought their supercharged blend of influences to stages all over the world.

When the Bats release new music and come screaming into a new city, it’s a challenge  not for the band to get the crowd moving, but for the crowd to keep up with the band!

I had the opportunity to ask Cancer Bats front-man Liam Cormier a few questions before they roll into Barrie next month.

RV: How did you find or create the sound and tone of Cancer Bats that people fell in love with and continue to pump into every release?

LC: I feel pretty lucky that people have been into what we’ve been making for this long. To be honest, we just always wanted to mix as many styles of heavy music together that we could. Now, 15 years later, it still feels natural to want to play heavy tunes that we can all come together and party to.

RV: Psychic Jailbreak was the band’s first release as a three-piece and is an absolute banger. How did you and the other Bats accomplish this?

LC: We had been writing remotely since we all live in different cities now. So the whole thing was just a constant collaboration via DropBox with everyone adding ideas and getting the songs to take shape. We would share clips of old '90s videos of BuzzOven, the Melvins, Sepultura, Biohazard and be like, "This is what the new Bats needs to be like!" (Laughs) So we had all the vibes going to get us all excited.

Once the three of us got in a room together, it was just like recording (our previous album) The Spark That Moves, so we just hit the ground running and played the shit out of these new songs, injecting the real live Bats energy that brings the songs to life.

RV: Is there anything in particular you try to accomplish when playing live?

LC: For myself, I feel like live is the easiest and best part of the whole thing. You spend so much time working on music and hoping it will translate and then live it’s people shouting the lyrics back at you and partying the whole time. It’s the best part of the whole job for me. I just switch on auto-pilot and lose my mind for an hour. (Laughs)

RV: As the front man for a band known for its hard-hitting and adrenaline-inducing sound, what do you do to chill?

LC: I don’t know if it’s that chill, but in my off time I really love riding motorcycles and dirt bikes. I guess street bikes are more the "chill" side of things, just riding around in my own thoughts, enjoying the scenery. Dirt bikes are pretty full-on, but are also relaxing since your mind isn't clouded with any other worries. You can only focus on not crashing the whole time. (Laughs) I find it pretty relaxing to be in those states.

RV: After nearly two decades since the formation of Cancer Bats, what is one of the most important lessons you’ve learned as an artist?

LC: I think to really not take your art too seriously. The reason why things work for us is because it’s fun and strange and weird. When we try to over-analyze things as to why they work, I feel like we miss the mark. We're at our best when we’re really serious about goofing off and having fun.

RV: What are the chances of Axe Wound dropping some new heat in the not too distant future?

LC: (Laughs) No idea for Axe Wound in the future. It was a really fun project, but everyone is busy with lots of other things, so I'm not sure if we'll ever do anything else again

RV: What three albums do you think are criminally underrated?

LC: All I listen to is stoner and psych rock, so here are three of my faves I think everyone should jam:
Tinariwen  Elwan (2017)
Flower Travelling Band  Satori (1971)
Kikagaku Moyo  Masana Temples (2018)

Cancer Bats will be joined by Comeback Kid, Chastity, Ship of Fools, and Tangents on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at The Queens, located at 94 Dunlop St. E., in downtown Barrie. This is a 19-plus event and tickets can be found by clicking here.