Hailing from Canada the ferocious new rock band Excuses Excuses are set to light up the world of rock when they release their debut album. The band gave us a track by track of this much anticipated album.
The LISTEN UP! record was an absolute rollercoaster of experiences and emotions for everyone in the band, and a lot of that has to do with the worldly circumstances at the time. We started writing the songs right after we got back from our first major tour of about 25 stops across the vastness that is Canada, which we finished up in December 2019. Luckily we had also just received a federal grant to help us record and release our debut, which was huge for us because we were still unsigned at the time and still pretty broke from touring. When we finally got rested up and into the groove of writing the record, COVID-19 decided to make its swift entrance to the world; and, as we all experienced, everything changed extremely fast. To us, this time was initially a bit of a saving-grace because with nothing to do and nowhere to go we were able to really dive into writing this record in full-force and create something we are truly proud of. At first the songs came really quickly. With all the new emotions, time to reflect, and uncertainty that came along with the pandemic, I had no shortage of things to write about, and I knew I wanted to write songs that were honest, raw, and empowering. I also had just started trying out co-writing with other songwriters to help me expand my knowledge, and they greatly helped me find a lot of inspiration, even though we were forced to do a lot of writing over Skype and Zoom because of the lockdowns. One thing I knew from the start was that I wanted the record to capture a strong range of vibes and emotions, taking lots of sonic inspiration from 90’s and 2000’s rockers like Foo Fighters, Billy Talent, Nirvana, Weezer, Queens of the Stone Age, Rise Against, Green Day, etc while still being genuine to ourselves and our modern ideals. So we did just that, and made a whirlwind of eight songs with all our favourite flavours of Rock, Punk, Grunge, and Alternative. The hardest part of this experience for us was all the waiting for life to come back so we could properly release these songs and get out on the road to share them with people live. As relentless and hardworking as we are, we just kept pushing forward and we ended up getting signed in the process to our first label, Known Accomplice Records. All being said, it was quite the journey, and we are very glad to finally be unleashing the record to the world.
Track By Track
SAY is an energetic plea for individualism. Especially in this modern world full of expectations, we all feel pressure to constantly meet the mark and fit into the mold our society creates for us; and to us all that does is stifle the powerful creative potential that humans have. This is our track that says “forget what THEY all say, I am going to be ME.” With this song we really wanted to inspire listeners and encourage them to find happiness within their own skin, while pointing the middle finger to the world. Being such an up-beat tune, it definitely came across as our take on classic 3-piece punk rock, and turned out to be one of the most fun songs for us to play live.
Touching on topics of struggles with mental health and self-identity, Listen Up! is our empowering rock anthem of the record. With all the difficulties we have all faced throughout the last few years, I wrote this song to remind our listeners that, no matter how difficult times can be, there is always hope to overcome the obstacles we face when we find the strength to persevere. I wrote this song at the very beginning of the pandemic, entirely not knowing how much people were going to need this intense positivity and encouragement by the time it would actually be released. As the lockdowns continued, this song meant more to us with every month that passed, and took on a life of its own that helped us to stay strong and confident until we could return to what we love most (playing live).
Feeling Sorry is a commentary around the toxic influences and pressure we face as a society as the effects of modern media. When I wrote this song, I was really frustrated with social media and feeling sick of how fake and negative things can be in the online world, and I wanted to share these notions to help others who may feel this way to realize that they are not alone. Originally this song was actually two entirely different songs that I eventually realized were meant to be a unit. I ended up taking the parts of each song that resonated most heavily with me, finding a few cool ways to flow between them and turn them into a single powerful track. It turned out to be one of the most gratifying songwriting experiences as a writer, and remains one of my favourite songs for that reason.
My Nicotine takes the place of the “love song” on our record, though it is most definitely not a ballad of any sort with a driving rhythm like that. This song emulates the faults that we, humans, face when navigating unhealthy relationships in life, whether that be talking about between families, a partner, or even close platonic relationships. It is the unfortunate reality that many people tend to just put up with others in their life, even in an extremely unhealthy situation, simply based on external factors like others expectations, manipulation, and comfort. Our favourite part from recording this track was working with our producer to craft the ending into a massive climax that rounds out the emotions of the song.
With its vivid imagery and witty charm, Wasted Alone is our reminder that no matter how messed up times may seem, we are never alone in our struggles, and it is totally okay to not be okay. I wrote this song about our band taking inspiration from the feelings of isolation and loneliness we all went through over the last few years. In the end it was always very positive and encouraging to know that we always have each other there for support. One of the coolest parts of recording this track was the guitar solo. Though it happened accidentally at first, we ended up taking inspiration from Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi with his double solo technique. Initially I had just done two takes to make sure we got it, but they were so identical when they layered over top of each other, it gave it a really unique sound.
Break Down The Silence:
Break Down The Silence (BDTS) is about tearing down the excessively negative stigma that still revolves around mental illness. Though these illnesses can be difficult for many folks to understand, the reality is that they are simply part of who we are as human beings, and it is absolutely normal to suffer from them. The more open and honest people are allowed to be about these issues, the more they can be viewed through a positive lens and accepted. As someone who struggles with my own mental obstacles, it is important to me to try and do what I can in any way to help break down these negative barriers and encourage others to do the same.
I believe Meaning of Life was actually the very first song we wrote with this record in mind, which was right after we got back from our first big cross-country tour. Since it was by far the longest we had ever been on the road at a time, it was an eye-opening trip for us; and we all learned a lot, grew a lot, and went through a lot of different emotions. One of the hardest parts was being away from our families and friends for so long and going through the feelings of distance and loneliness that came with that. Honestly, these are sacrifices that anyone who is extremely driven to live their dreams often face, but the coolest part is how it makes you realize the true value of those people in your life. That’s the Meaning Of Life.
Hardship To Sail uses the imagery of being stuck drifting in the vastness of the ocean as a metaphor to describe the emotions associated with navigating the waves of modern society. Every person on this planet holds their own unique set of barriers that come with their individual experiences and circumstances; but as a species we all share many of the same universal feelings of anxiety, loneliness, perplexion, and sadness as we strive to conquer the things that hold us back. To us this song encapsulates the spirit of the entire record all in one final little burst, so we felt that it was always the perfect track to end the record. In the studio we stepped outside our box to find some new techniques to help build a soundscape to help really give the track a more ambient feel. We ended up getting to play with a lot of cool guitar pedals and accessories that really solidified the vibe we wanted to present.
Check out the track Listen Up, below:
Read our interview with the band here