Interview w/Brian Robinson of A Wilhelm Scream


You're no stranger to Montreal and this isn't your first Pouzza Fest; so what's your favourite thing about the city, and what are you looking forward doing with your downtime this weekend in Montreal? 

In all honesty, we’ve actually had some of our best shows, and best times at Foufoune’s in the past. Aside from that, touring Canada for (who knows how many) years – It’s great to come to Montreal and see how “different” and “old” a city Montreal is. Personally, being Canadian – and going to Europe on tour for the first time, I had the backwards experience of seeing old cities overseas and saying “Oh! This looks just like Montreal”. The band loves coming up here – and I’ve managed to relocate myself to MTL twice now. I’ll spend downtime at home in the West Island – the guys will probably be at the closest Belle-Pro – unless I coax them into dropping some serious cash at Lafleur’s. 


Some of you guys are from Massachusetts or grew up close to the Quebec border – Did you guys cross into the province as minors to party? If so, any stories?

Well, I grew up in Southern Ontario – but, having spent so much time in Mass – I found out that heading to Montreal to drink was just a “thing to do” to go and party. I’m sure you can imagine a fresh-faced Trevor Reilly (our guitarist) Tom-Cruisin’ his way across the border to pound back Molson Goldens and get into some “le trouble” – Hopefully someone reading this will laugh at that, other than myself.  


Favourite Quebec band?

Definitely not Mute. (Take THAT Etienne, hahaha). Seriously though - Dig It Up puts on one of the best shows. We played at Fouf’s and Rokos stage-dove, split his head open, went to the hospital, and came back to have beers with us. I remember the first time our singer, Nuno, saw Andrea play drums – his immediate reaction was “I feel so bad for her cymbals”. (Mute is actually pretty good).


It's been about 5 years since the release of Partycrasher, and word is you guys have been working on a new record. Anything you can tell me about what might be in the works?

We have a dropbox full of “skeletons” of songs that Trevor and I are throwing in there. There’s almost too much, actually. New stuff, re-worked songs that never quite “got there” – we even have a folder of riffs written by our old guitarist Chris Levesque… Overall, it’s going to be loud, fast, and “thrashy”


What's your outlook on the future of the record business (labels, record sales and touring)?

I think everything (at least in the realm of punk rock or any genre of music that may not get played on the radio) is that exposure will rely heavily on outlets that are provided for artists now. Social media is now the springboard to get anyone to listen to your music. I put out an EP with my other band (The Fullblast – shameless plug)… Our singer runs a label but explained to me that we could surpass all the ins/outs of dealing with a label, throw music up on sites like Spotify and just plug the shit out of it… We ended up funding our tour to South America on playing local shows and Spotify returns. In terms of selling records? It’s digital-downloads for the kids, and pressing vinyl for the fans who HAVE kids.

3 artists that get heavy play in the A Wilhelm Scream van?

Prince / Dinosaur Jr. / Rocket From The Crypt (I force the guys to listen to a ton of Sloan when we’re in Canada).

What's in store for the remainder of 2018?

We have a month over in Europe coming up in June – We’re headlining most of it, playing with an insanely good band “Darko” from the UK. After we cross the channel we play with the (awful-smelling) Austrians, Astpai. We hook up with Pennywise/Sick Of It All/Iron Reagan for a few shows – then a week of supporting Descendents to close off the tour. It’s gonna be an adventure! That’s for sure.

 Merci! À bientôt!

Chad Price

The Appropriate Level of Outrage

 A Vulture Wake

A Vulture Wake


Congratulations on the upcoming record! It's great to see that the 4 of you have come together to make music. How did things unfold?

It started with Brandon (Dion Landelius), he had a ton of music and he's a killer musician. He had all this music written and didn't know what to do with it. Brandon and Sean (Sellers) were jamming together and Brandon asked me if I'd be interested in listening to the shit he'd recorded and written and if I'd want to write lyrics and melodies. I said yeah, cause I like Brandon and I like the way he plays. So, he sent me like 15 songs, a lot of pretty complicated music that was kinda overwhelming to hear. I was like, "you want me to write words and melodies for all this shit (laughs)?!" So ya, I heard it, and really liked it and I told him to give me a week or two. After I had one in the bag, I got the feel of how he writes, and it got more comfortable for me and inspired me; this cool music. A month later I sent him back the demos that he sent me and I just threw some scratch vocals on, just so he could hear what I had in mind. He liked it, and the they asked Joe (Raposo) if he wanted to play bass. He said yeah! I mean really, it's kinda Brandon's thing, it's his little baby. 


What attracted you to sign with Bird Attack Records?

The songs were recorded, and everybody was ready to get it out and tour. We were considering just doing it ourselves so it could happen, like now, but Brandon knew Garrett (Wadford) through Authority Zero, so he actually sent it to him. We sent it to a lot of people and everybody liked it, but it seemed like Garrett was the one that was really excited about the record. That's what we wanted - somebody who was excited and was gonna work for us and with us to make something. That's pretty much it. He was the first one that was fuckin' stoked, ya know? So we were like, this is the dude we want! 


What's your outlook on the future of the record business? Where do you think it'll be in 15-20 years from now? 

Hmmm...Shit, that's a good question. I think what will be the same as now, is that bands will absolutely have to tour. That's where the money is going to come from. If you're big, you're gonna sell records, and if you're small, nobody's gonna buy shit unless you're out there playing in front of them. I hope that vinyl will still be around. I imagine it will be. It's killer to have the big artwork that you can check out. 


Something tells me the new record is going to be somewhat protest song oriented. How would you describe it? 

It's definitely angry and aggressive. Throwing politics in people's faces isn't necessarily how I wanted to go about this, but the nature of the music that Brandon sent me, coupled with all the bullshit going on in the world, especially in this country... Ya know, when I sat down to write, that's the shit that came to mind. It was like, "what is this music telling me to say?" When I was younger I didn't give a shit about fuckin' politics, and I didn't want to hear about it. I wanted to party (laughs). We're all older, and now I pay attention to what's going on in the world. So when I sat down to write, that's the kind of shit that came out. As far as protest... I'm not telling you what to do or say in the lyrics, but I'm throwing it out there about what's going on and how I feel about it. The only thing that I am ripping on directly, is probably religion. As far as the political aspect of it, I'm simply stating how I feel, but it's up to you to decide how you feel. 


Looking back to the 80's, it seems as though the Reagan years fuelled hardcore punk rock, and the like. Do you see similar parallels these days? Would you say that bad times make for good art?

I would absolutely say that bad times make for good art. As far as parallels, I'm not really the person to answer that because I didn't really like or listen to that kind of shit back then... and I still don't. All that political hardcore in the 80's, that wasn't my thing. In the 80's I was listening to Van Halen, Iron Maiden and Motley Crüe. That kinda goes back to my earlier statement; I was younger and I just wanted to party, and fuck these politics (laughs). With this dude that we have as president now, a lot of bands are gonna to be speaking out - and for good reason!


What bands influenced you most back in those days? 

My brother is 7 years older than me, so I grew up with AC/DC and Lynyrd Skynyrd - just rock. When I was a little older, like early teens, I liked Iron Maiden's shit! When I heard Metallica and especially Slayer, that kinda took me in a different direction. I fucking loved... I worshipped Slayer! That was my shit. Then I dove into that kind of music, and quickly found out that Slayer is truly the only excellent band in that genre of music. Van Halen and Iron Maiden were always my two favourite bands. I was definitely into the 80's hair metal. I was young and we all have guilty pleasures (laughs) and that's one of mine. Motley Crüe, Skid Row and Twisted Sister. I was a metal head and still am!


What do you have in store for 2018? 

It will definitely be focused on A Vulture Wake. The record comes out on January. 31. We're playing a couple Canadian shows at the end of February and we're all ready to start touring. If it's up to me, we'll tour a lot! 


Books you gotta read before you die?

1- Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor (or anything by Flannery O'Connor for that matter) 

2- Father and Son by Larry Brown

3- A Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews

It's funny because all three writers are very similar. People call it Grit Lit. It's kinda Southern gothic writing. Obviously that's the kind of shit I like (laughs).


Hey Ian, how are you today? 

Good! I'm actually just going out soon to record a band called Audio Visceral at my studio, Pro Gold.  


Ya, I know those guys. They work at Beau's Brewing Company, eh?



How did Pro Gold start?

Me and a buddy combined our gear. He had a space and then we took over another room. It's pretty low key, but it's a good space to work in because we're not on the clock with someone else. 


What are some of your most memorable sessions at Pro Gold Studios?

I love all the bands that I work with, but Hashed Out from Montreal I really love. I'm also working with a band called Sick Things from Montreal that I'm really enjoying. 


Public Animal is the band you are playing in now. How did that materialize? 

I've know Eric the bass player for a long time. He used to be in Tricky Woo and I was in a band called Bionic and we used to play shows together a lot. I had a band called Blurtonia for awhile and he was the bass player and I just always loved playing with him. I made a couple records and Caitlin played on one and Ryan played on the other. Caitlin sings and plays keys and Ryan is the drummer. I just thought it would be a really great combination of 4 people, musically. We just tried it and have been boogieing along ever since. Public Animal put a 7 inch out first, then a mixtape then dropped Habitat. 


Public Animal went through a pretty interesting writing process for their latest record, Palace Arms. You had a residency at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto? 

Ya, we wanted to work the songs out live in the same environment without touring. It's kinda like being in your rehearsal space. 


You recorded Palace Arms at Bathhouse Studios which is owned by the Tragically Hip? That's a legendary studio.

That's right. Ya, it's beautiful. They really helped us bring the record to life. 


Was that your first time recording there? 

That was my second time, actually. I produced an album for a band called Elliott Brood at Bathhouse. 


Getting back to your latest record, Palace Arms, you worked with Nyles Spencer on that release, right? 

Yes we did. We were in there for 4 days and just flailed out the songs as best we could. We recorded live off the floor, then overdub on top of that. Nyles really did a great job. Especially the drum sounds. 


You released a music video for 20th Century Strategies. Your drummer, Ryan, put that together.

He did, and he also did another video for, "It Don't Seem Right," which is the first song on the record. It's awesome having something kinda in-house, ya know? We all take care of different parts of the artistic process. I generally take care of the audio and Ryan does video. It's all live footage from our last tour. Ryan shot every show and cut it together. 


I saw there was a shot of you playing at House of Targ in Ottawa.

Oh Ya! I love House of Targ. Everyone who works there is wonderful and it's just a great place to play and I love pinball and I love perogies, so it's a no brainer for me. 


Plans for 2017?

We're (Public Animal) still touring on this record. We are playing Canadian Music Week on April. 22nd, here in Toronto. Playing Oshawa on the 21st, and we're playing the Dominion Tavern in Ottawa this weekend (April. 1). 


I'm also working on the FUBAR TV show. I'm making the record for Night Seeker, which is Deaner's band. Thos songs will be part of the show. 


Any last words?

I am so looking forward to playing Ottawa on Saturday. C'mon out, good show, great lineup!