An Interview with Aaron Bedard of Bane

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So I’ve been sitting on this interview for about four or five months, but it’s finally transcribed and up for you to read. The interview took place on a whim back in October at the Bane/Comeback Kid show in Hamilton. Bane are playing tomorrow night at the Reverb (yeah, the flyer’s wrong). Tickets are $13.50 in advance and will be available at the door. Photos by Pat Moore, Canice Leung and Nathan Francoeur.

SITC: So you guys just finished… this is the Through the Noise tour you guys are on. Is this the end of the tour?
Aaron Bedard: Last show man. We part ways tonight, sadly.
SITC: And how did it go?

AB: It was incredible. Which sounds really cliché and sounds like something I would say at the end of almost any tour but this tour really was very, very special for a lot of reasons. It was a huge package. Way bigger than most bands would venture to throw together. You know, 6 bands and many of them able to headline on their own. It was a really big undertaking for Comeback Kid to try to throw this together, to make it work and they did. The thing went off without of a hitch. And it was really cool for us because most of the bands we’ve had a history with. We’ve been good friends with Comeback Kid for years so obviously, we’re always looking to get back on the road with them. Misery Signals we got to hang out with in Japan earlier this year for a two day festival we did and really liked those guys. Spent a lot of time hanging out with them in Osaka so we wanted to reconnect with them. And Outbreak… obviously we have a lot of history with. Those guys are from our neck of the woods. Great fuckin bunch of guys.

And Shai Hulud is a band that we’ve just been connected with for ten years now. In the summer of 98, on our first tour, they were out touring on their first LP and we’d played a show together in St. Louis and kinda hung out at the show and really made strong impressions on each other to the point where, throughout all of these years, we’ve always made attempts to go out and support each others bands. Zack is a huge Shai Hulud fan and I know Matt Fox is a pretty big Bane fan. I was lucky enough to do some vocals on a track they put out a few years ago so we’ve always kind of had this thread of connection between us but we’ve never been able to tour together before this. So, all of that coming into this is just exciting. You know, finally getting to reconnect with dudes that we wish we knew more and had a chance to roll with.

We’d never known the Gravemaker guys before. Earlier on in the tour they got in that van accident and it really just caused us all to wrap our arms around those guys and help them through this and in that they’ve become as good of friends with us as any band we’ve ever toured with. I would literally say I love those guys right now. They were my favourite band on the tour and just the raddest dudes to hang out with and every day has just been cool. It’s just been a bunch of friends traveling across Canada playing shows that are much much bigger than what  we would normally play to in Canada. I know Comeback Kid and Misery Signals can pull a lot of kids but Bane has never really been able to do it on our own.

So that was a very long-winded answer. That’s what you’re gonna get out of me but the tour really, honestly, has been amazing. You know, Gravemaker got into that accident, Comeback Kid got their van and trailer stolen. There were some pretty big hiccups along the way and in sort of a strange way it sort of made the tour better you know? Cause it forced us all to pull together and help each other through the hard times and focus on the real reason we’re here.

SITC: The events that build character.

AB: Thank you. Very well put. Exactly.

SITC: Okay, so, one of the things you mentioned when you were talking about Shai Hulud is that you guys… ten years ago you met those guys and they’ve since broken up, gotten back together…

AB: had Sixteen singers!

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SITC: Basically, Bane has a been around a long time. You guys did your 10 year anniversary… I guess I’m asking, what has changed about this scene. For you personally as far as your perspective goes or what’ve you seen change over the last 10 years and longer?

AB: It’s funny. I’ve been involved in hardcore since the late 80s and you just kind of see things go in cycles. They just kind of go in circles. There are dips and valleys and strong points and times where people seem to lose perspective a little bit along the way and you get caught up in a lot of bullshit whether it’s like, fashion or whether it’s band not having anything to say on stage anymore, bands not banding together to stand up for things that they know are right. And then there are times where… I feel like we’re in a very good time right now, where there are a lot of bands that are playing hardcore music because they are hardcore kids who fucking love this shit and aren’t too interested in their clothes or their image or their fucking hair and they’re getting on stage and have things to say between songs and they’re standing for something. I think some great examples are HAVE HEART, VERSE, BLACKLISTED and RIGHT IDEA. You know there are just a lot of exciting bands right now.I feel like this is a good phase. Maybe 5 years ago things weren’t quite as optimistic feeling as they are now.

It just goes in dips and valleys. What you learn over the course of ten years is just how to concentrate on the things that get you through and not let the negative overwhelm you. Cause there’s always gonna be negative, there’s always gonna be bullshit. Things you wish could change and people you wish would be a little less petty. You just don’t let that become the overwhelming ingredient to the point where it starts to just beat you down and you don’t feel good about things anymore. And then you don’t want to go to shows, you don’t want to go on tour and you don’t feel good about hardcore. Right now I feel really excited about things. I feel like there are a lot of great young bands and a lot of young kids looking up to those bands and they’re gonna start bands. I hope things stay on this crest for a while, I really do.

SITC: So let’s go back a bit further, you said you got into hardcore in the 80s. What got you into it? What was the band? What was the show? What’s your story?

AB: My story is, I met a kid… I was getting into skateboarding and he lived in my neighborhood and we were just starting high school together. He was into skateboarding and he had an older brother who had punk rock records and he used to let us listen to them and they just blew our minds. You know, swear words and just this whole very, in your face, angry, middle finger in the air type attitude going on and it just really drew us to that. I guess the first band that I really connected with was BLACK FLAG. It was heavier than the SEX PISTOLS and it was heavier than the DEAD KENNEDYS and it just kind of made me know that there’s a world beyond just punk rock. There’s something a little darker, a little faster, a little heavier. But he wasn’t into those bands, my friend’s older brother, and we just had to search them out. We’d go downtown and skate and there’d be all these punk rock kids with buttons on their leather jackets and it was just such a big deal to us to read the names on the buttons and try and find those records and stuff like that. And then finally a kid turned me on to Minor Threat and that really… you know, the lyrics and the whole vibe of that band just made me feel unlike anything had ever done before. I was 15 or 16 and I just knew, alright, this is what I’d been looking for. I can’t even imagine what my life would’ve been like if I didn’t find this, right here, right now as a real impressionable 16 year old kid who’s trying to make his way through. I already knew that alcohol wasn’t really gonna cut it for me and I mean, I had been really stoned one time and I didn’t like that experience and then here’s a band telling you that not walking that path was okay. So that was huge for me. There was a small hall in the town that used to do punk rock shows and I just started going to those and that was it.

SITC: Now from there, you obviously in it for a few years before Bane started up.

AB: Many many years.

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SITC: Yeah, so, how did the band come about and what’s kept you together over the years?

AB: Okay, this is gonna be a little longwinded. I was into hardcore in the late 80s and into the early 90s. Going to a ton of shows. I was just completely into the youth crew movement right down until BURN and SUPERTOUCH broke up. And then I really lost track completely of what was going on. I started drumming in an indie rock band and just completely lost track of what was going on in hardcore except for QUICKSAND and like, INTO ANOTHER, which were bands that I would go out of my way to see and support.

SITC: And even at a point they became major label bands.

AB: Yeah. Right. Those were not bands that I would’ve considered hardcore bands. They weren’t really playing hardcore shows. I missed out on the New Age movement and the early Victory stuff. I was really out of the loop for a good three years. I was hangin out with older dudes, hanging out at bars, playing in this indie rock band that was listening like TEXAS IS THE REASON and SENSE FIELD and, you know, QUICKSAND was by far my favourite band.

SITC: What was the name of the indie rock band?

AB: It was called OVER UNDER… and we just had a demo. I don’t think you’ll find anything. We just played around Worcester… But really, I had lost track of what was going on in hardcore. I just knew that Krishna was really starting to take hold and hardline veganism… It just felt like a lot of stuff I just didn’t connect with anymore.

It went like that for about 3 years and then I was in a record store and I saw a STRIFE poster on the wall for the One Truth record. I was looking at it and there were some live shots on it that just brought me back to the era of hardcore that was closest to my heart. Kids with x’s on their hands, fingers in their air and… fuckin varsity jackets. So I bought the record. I didn’t love the record but I definitely thought it was cool to hear some JUDGE influenced hardcore and not long after that they played a show in Boston and I went to the show.

It was my first straight on hardcore show I’d been to in about 3 years and I was singing along and stage diving and kind of got that exciting feeling back you know? THREADBARE played and I think EARTH CRISIS played as well, so I picked up their records. It was just like re-opening my eyes to the scene a second time around. And I had been in a hardcore band in the 80s called BACKBONE and there had always been whispers of us maybe doing a reunion but, like I said, I was so far removed from the scene I just didn’t think that, you know… my heart wouldn’t have been in it and I didn’t want to do it. But after seeing the Strife show and having so much fun at the STRIFE show, I talked to the dudes in BACKBONE saying “Alright, let’s do the reunion”.

So this promoter in Boston put together a pretty big show that reunited a lot of the 80s hardcore bands and we did the show and it was really successful. I had a really good time and told our guitar player that I could actually see myself getting back into it, you know, doing that again. And I was kind of getting up there in age, in my mid twenties thinking, “if it’s gonna happen it’s gotta happen now.” And Aaron Dalbec, who was in CONVERGE at the time and starting this side project band, ran into Chris, the guitar player from BACKBONE at a record store in Worcester, and he gave Dalbec my number.

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Dalbec called me in the fall of 95 and asked if I wanted to do this straightedge band with him. I was like yeah, let me hear the songs, and the rest was history. BANE started. I was just suddenly thrown back into this world, not that I really rejected but I didn’t really expect to get back involved at the level that I have. But I came back into it forgiving of the shortcomings and not worrying so much about the things that drove me away. Just concentrating on the fact that this is a scene made up of young kids who are driven by passionate ideals in a search for some sort of greater truth and just… Coming back into Bane, I just said that I wasn’t gonna let a lot of the stuff that just drove a lot of kids away from hardcore break me down. I would just focus on the things that make sense. Because I had taken that three year hiatus where I was hanging around in bars and just seeing how depressing every other alternative was. Nothing else feels like this, you know? It’s advice that I give to a lot of young kids, like, “yo, if you’re starting to get burnt out, take a break. You don’t have to keep coming. Go see what else is out there and then you’ll come back and accept it for what it is.” It’s almost like you re-find the reasons you start coming here in the first place.

SITC: That’s a pretty good story. Now as another question I wanted to ask you… I Guess… going through your own revival, what was the most important record to you, personally in the 90s?

AB: I think it’d have to be “Life.Love.Regret” I think.

SITC: UNBROKEN.

AB: Yeah.

SITC: And why’s that?

AB: I dunno. It just connected with me on so many levels and just gave me a whole other side of hardcore that I had never really explored through a lot of the 80s bands. Just raw, raw passion. Stripping down your outer tough guy, you know, just the always gotta be hard, always gotta be in control and not be afraid to be a little more introspective and just a little more confused about life. They just had this honest, honest way about them as human beings that I hadn’t… Because bands like YOUTH OF TODAY and CHAIN OF STRENGTH… I love all those bands. Those bands changed my life but they all just had a sort of we can take on the world attitude. It was almost superhero like. And UNBROKEN brought in this whole sort of feeling that, sometimes you fall on your face, sometimes you wanna cry, sometimes you can’t climb the mountain you know? And that really connected with me at the time. Maybe because I was getting a little more mature or whatever, but that record and the two subsequent 7” EPs just meant so, so much to me. No band had touched me like that since BURN. So yeah, I would definitely say the UNBROKEN records were huge for me… in the second chapter of me being into hardcore.

SITC: Word.

AB: You like those records?

SITC: You know… I’ve never been huge into Life.Love.Regret. I dig it, but for me… and maybe this is more of a generational thing… I mean, I kind of got into hardcore in the late 90s so…

AB: So that had already happened…

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SITC: Like, even me, I was sort of introduced to a lot of these ideas, this sort of mentality through… I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto and it was weird because it was just before the internet was really affecting music. So I got to be exposed to this whole organic post-hardcore mentality where bands were more about playing with raw aggression and some bands were experimenting with melody and other bands weren’t. You know, it was more about… you’d have what people would call now, “whiny emo” bands playing with bands that are trying to do their best DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN impression. That’s the kind of shit I grew up with. So it was kind of like going in reverse. I was getting into these politics and it was a matter of trying to find out where it was coming from… and still, it’s like an endless quest. I feel like I’ve missed out on so much while I’m trying to keep up on everything that’s happening.

AB: Holy shit, that’s a really cool way to put it. It’s so true. There’s so much coming at you that’s happening now but you don’t wanna lose track of the things that started it. I bet that’s a quandary for a lot of young kids now, with this sort of new culture where information is just a press of a button away so, you can find out about things that are going on now or things that aren’t even going on, that aren’t happening until tomorrow and still have a thirst for like, “I wanna know about OUTSPOKEN”… wow.

SITC: Maybe you’ve seen it, for example, I just picked up a copy of Radio Silence. Have you seen it yet?

AB: Yeah yeah yeah, I liked that book.

SITC:
It’s one of those things where I tore through it. I just tore through it. Some of the stories I’d head, some of them were completely new to me. But to everybody in that book, it was just their personal experience. And, when you look at it that way, in this culture, where everything is so organic and everything is so personal… there’s just so much to it. There’s so much that you will never know. Like, you get a record and there’s so much… like the effort that went into the photos and the layout… you can never know.

AB: That book is a true valentine to those dudes era of hardcore. I think that book really really nailed it. I loved looking through that book.

SITC: But yeah, this is an interview for you, not me.

AB: Nah man, I love this. I love when interviews breakdown into conversations like this. It’s my favourite.

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SITC: But yeah, another thing I wanted to ask, was, up on stage today, before you guys did “My Therapy”, you said… and maybe, I guess, your answer might be Unbroken again. But you said, “this song is about that record that you can always depend on.” What is it?

AB:
I have a lot, man…. I mean, if you’re gonna put me on the spot. If I had to pick one, maybe it’d be Meat is Murder by THE SMITHS. That’s one thing I know that I can turn to at the lowest, lowest points. There’s a Joni Mitchell record called “Blue” that’s always been there for me. There’s a lot. I mean, I have a very, very personal relationship with music where there are certain records that get me through the hardest times and the longest drives and the days where I just feel so completely alone and misunderstood by everybody around me. One thing about being in Bane for as long as I have, is it’s the only steady relationship I’ve ever been involved in. You know, I’ve never been able to make a relationship with a girl work for more than a little while. And you know, I’m getting up there in age now and I start to just feel that I’ve never made that connection with somebody else that a lot of my peers have. So I have a lot of times when I need music to help me out. So I’ve got a lot of those records. Not to get all emo or stuff, but I do get pretty emotional in life. I’m really drawn to sad songs. I’m really drawn to listening to the same song over and over again 40 times just to make me feel less fucking alone and fucked up. But yeah, Meat is Murder is huge, huge for me.

SITC: I guess, related to your love to music, I’ve heard recently that you’ve gotten out and you’ve started doing some drum and bass DJing.

AB: Yeah! How’d you hear that?!

SITC: The internet. The internet. It’s the age of information man.

AB: It’s all out there. It’s true.

SITC: So what’s that about? How’d that start?

AB: This story might be longer than any of the others! Nah, I won’t tell you the whole story, I’ll just tell you the abridged version. Well, in 2000, I fell in love with Drum and Bass music. That’s a whole other story but there’s something about this one area of techno that has really connected with me on a different level than hardcore because it’s just music. It’s just rhythm. There’s no message to it. There’s no art of pretension and it’s just this music that’s built around this very infectious rhythm and fucking with the different ways you can make a room dance based on this rhythm. It’s very dark, it’s very heavy, it’s very fast. And I love it. I’ve loved it for years.

Maybe a year after discovering it, I bought turntables and started DJing just in my bedroom. You know, spending a lot of money on records and really having to teach myself… at this time, I didn’t have any friends in the drum and bass community at all. I was a hardcore kid, Bane was touring heavily. This was a very personal, quiet love affair that was going on. It kind of made me happy to find this music that I just couldn’t deny how much I loved. It didn’t have anything to do with any outside influence. It didn’t have to do with my friends. Everyone thought I was crazy. You can’t imagine how many glowstick jokes I had to fuckin go through. But I didn’t care, I loved this music and it made sense to me and I just DJed in my bedroom for years.

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So many years, went by where that it was almost becoming… ha… It was almost becoming too late for me to really DJ. I was just so afraid to do it in front of people. There were so many invariables that exist with playing live shows cause you’re dealing with equipment, and you’re dealing with needles and monitors and like… I was just petrified to do it. I had opportunities to do it and I would just skirt them. Suddenly, you realize, “wow, I’ve been DJing for seven years now and I’ve never spun in front of anybody except three friends and a dog.” But then this year I moved back to Boston and I had this really nice kind of office area where I could set up my turntables and I started getting really back into DJing after a couple years of not really doing it all that much because I was moving around a lot. Kind of getting back into it and going to clubs to hang out with my friends in Boston. And then, the dude who books Bane in Boston also books a couple 18+ dance party nights that take place during the week and he got wind of the fact that I was a DJ. He just cornered me one night and was like, “you’re spinning this party in two weeks. You can’t say no. You’re on the flyer. You’re doing it.” It was really the kick in the ass I needed to be like, “alright, I’ll do it.”

SITC: And how was it?

AB: It was one of the coolest experiences of my life, the first night. It was just awesome. The place went crazy. They liked the music. I felt comfortable. I didn’t make too many mistakes. It was totally addictive and at the end of the night the dude who booked me asked if I could come back in two weeks. That was the night before leaving for this tour so I’ve only got to do it twice. It felt like kids were really excited that I was back.

So yeah, I got it out of the way. I finally DJed in front of… and it’s a pretty big crowd. I’m pretty lucky that he let me into this night. It’s a very popular night in Boston. It sells out… like 600 kids.  It was rammed. So I really lucked out. I can’t wait to do it again. I’m jonesin’. The whole confidence thing is behind me. I feel like I could do it in front of anybody in any type of a setting. I think in 2009 I’m gonna be doing a lot of that when Bane’s not on the road. Maybe even when Bane is on the road. In Europe, there’s a lot of nights where we’ll play a show and then afterwards the club turns into an after party and those kids in Europe are way more open minded to dance music and stuff like that. I think I’m gonna tell the booking agent over there to get me some DJ gigs for after the shows. So we’ll see.

SITC: So, I guess… unfortunately, I’m gonna have to cut this short.

AB: Cut this short? Are you crazy? This is amazing! We’ve been talking for an hour.

SITC: Yeah but my ride is probably pissed at me at this point. So, I guess, one more thing is what’s… well you said Bane’s gonna do Europe but… What’s up with Bane? Where’s it headed? 10 years deep, what’s the future looking like?

AB: 12 years deep baby! 12 years!

SITC: Yeah, I guess that anniversary show was even a few years ago.

AB: Dude, we recorded the demo in December of 1995. That’s when we recorded the demo tape. Alright here’s what the future looks like right now. Tomorrow, we go to Detroit and start a full U.S. tour with H2O and CRUEL HAND. So we’re on the road for another month. We haven’t done a full U.S. tour in 2 years so we’re pretty excited to back out there, hitting the states. Then that ends, we have about a week and then we go to Costa Rica for the first time ever and play a festival over two days. Then it’s gonna be winter. We’re gonna be home through the winter.

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We don’t really like to tour in the winter and then we’re gonna start writing songs. We’re gonna see how many songs we come up with over the course of a month of two, which isn’t a very big amount of time in Bane time. The Note took us, like, a year. We demoed it a couple times. This, we’re not gonna afford ourselves that luxury this time around. We’re gonna write songs more like a young band would and see. If we come up with four songs then, you know what? We’re gonna put out a 7” ep in the spring and I think that’s fine. I’m kind of excited about the prospect of having to write four awesome songs as opposed to trying to write a whole LPs worth of material. But, that said, if we got home in December and just started banging them out and feel like we’re hitting our stride and we can write a record, I don’t want to rule that out. Putting out another LP with EVR or whatever. But something is gonna come out in the spring from Bane.

Hopefully this will be the start of our last charge, ya know? This is obviously gonna be our last release…and just do the circuit. I want to go back to Australia, I want to go back to Japan, I wanna go back to South America, I wanna do more tours up here. This tour, for us, through Canada, was incredibly successful. We had no i-fucking-dea. So it feels like there’s still more to do. I still have more to say. I’m still having a blast. So, the future is bright. To be honest, the future is more bright now then if you asked me this question last year, or the year before that or the year before that.

SITC: I think I did ask you this question a few years ago.

AB: And was my answer a little more bleak? A little less optimistic?

SITC: I think, it was just one of those, “I don’t know.” I think I asked if you were going to write another record, cause it was just after the Note came out… cause the Note’s four years old now…

AB: Three years.

SITC: Three years? It was around when the Note came out and Swan Song definitely has that farewell feel. You know, last track, very epic, the message itself. And I asked, I think, “Is that it? Are you guys gonna do another tour, another record?” And the response was, “I don’t know.”

AB: You know for a long time, I honestly didn’t know and it was really discouraging. And I’ve gone through some… we’ve all gone… the band has just gone through some real low points with us not being able to all get on the same page as far as what we’re expecting from this band and how much we’re willing to give to it. And earlier this year we just sort of, clicked again and reconnected on the fact that we really want to do this and if we’re gonna do it we’ve gotta do it on some sort of a consistent level. This year’s been great. It’s been the best year we’ve had since 2005.

Now the focus really is on writing. We’ve had more discussions on this tour about new songs and getting together when we get home than… we haven’t had these talks in a long, long time. So I feel really really good. I feel really excited about the future. And… It feels… It feels like we’re still relevant. It feels like kids still care, which is unbelievable to me. It’s unbelievable that this many years in that we get to be a band where kids still give a fuck. I never wanted to be in one of those bands that overstayed their welcome and didn’t know when it was time to hang it up. And I hope I’m not sitting here saying that to you as one of those bands. That scares the hell out of me. But this tour felt great.

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SITC: I think that’s the thing about hardcore though is that, because it’s such a youth movement, especially with your band, at least in my impression. Like I said, I’m watching and kids aren’t going nuts to the songs I used to go crazy for but there’s these new songs that kids just seem to explode to. I think as long as somebody’s doing that to your music it’s still relevant.

AB: Yeah, it’s crazy that the Note did for us what it’s done. Cause I feel it’s a little bit of a disappointing record overall. Not that I don’t think the songs are strong, but the recording of it and some of my vocal performances are less than stellar. But to have it give us this re-burst of life as far as younger kids being super psyched on it. Like, Swan Song is a big deal. That song goes off every single night. To be able to have that, I’m really really thankful. But we’re not done yet baby! We’ve got more songs to write. We’re gonna make at least another EP. Minimum.

SITC: Okay so I’ve got a few more things… I’m gonna put you on the spot cause these have got to be short answers and I know you’re gonna feel on the spot but I’ve gotta do it.

AB:
Alright.

SITC: One album, best album of 2008?

AB:
In Rainbows came out in 07 I think. Alright, the BLACKLISTED record.

SITC: Okay, best current active hardcore band?

AB:
CEREMONY. I mean I could’ve went either way. I could’ve said CEREMONY was my favourite record and BLACKLISTED was the best band. Those are the two bands that are closest to my heart right now. I mean they really have me feeling optimistic about things. And it doesn’t hurt that I know them as people and just believe in them.

SITC: And… they may not be your favourite band right now, but the band you have the biggest hopes for in the future?

AB:
A band from Boston called FREE SPIRIT.

SITC:
Alright… I dig that demo.

AB:
You’ve heard the FREE SPIRIT demo? (tape runs out)

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2 Responses to “An Interview with Aaron Bedard of Bane”


  1. 1 Scott Wade March 18, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Total Sopranos ending.

  2. 2 Gordon Ball March 31, 2009 at 8:13 am

    I stopped reading the interview after whoever said they arent that big into life love regret. Thats like hating on puppies or not liking cookie dough.


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