Calling All Captains are an insanely talented pop-punk band who hail from Edmonton, Alberta. After announcing their signing to the seminal Equal Vision Records, the group released their label debut EP ‘Nothing Grows Here’ on February 8, 2019. To overwhelmingly positive reception which led to the band touring nationally in Canada and internationally in the UK & USA.
I recently caught up with Luc Gauthie (Vocals) to discuss 'Nothing Grows Here', their upcoming LP, 'Chasing Ghosts - Reimagined' and his top ten scene albums...
"we’ve all been staying safe and healthy so we decided to get back in the jam space and start finishing the latest demo tunes for the LP. As for right now, we’re recording five days a week"
Firstly, I have to ask this at the moment, how have you guys been coping in the lock-down, what kind of things have you been up to since the lock-down came into effect.
We had a bit of a quarantine period when it all first started. But we kept our distancing practices and we only went to the grocery store and home. Like, super holed-in. But we’ve all been staying safe and healthy so we decided to get back in the jam space and start finishing the latest demo tunes for the LP. As for right now, we’re recording five days a week with QuinnCMusic. Its been a great time and the studio itself has made precautions during the COVID Crisis.
How did you get into writing and creating music? Was there a decisive moment or event that you remember that made you stop and think, wow, THIS is what I want to do with my life?
I think it had a lot to do with growing up and listening to bands like Green Day/The Misfits and various metal bands. After watching music videos, I realized the parts I liked were all made with guitar. So, it kind of became a thing I wanted to do. And the Bullet In A Bible DVD Green Day put out. Seeing the effect music can have on people was purely awe inspiring. I would always draw pictures of me on stage singing when I was a kid aha. I guess I always knew in some way that I would do this!
Let’s be honest 2020 has been a weird year so far and things will probably be weird for a while. As an artist, one teasing a new re-imagined acoustic single out. How has this affected your rhythm? This is the time you would be promoting the track!
Definitely a strange year in terms of how bands/artists will be operating. The song was originally made to be part of a compilation by our label Equal Vision Records. Where all of their artists who are now stuck at home can put out content and use it as a musical outlet that we (right now) don’t have. With everything happening within the world we’ve been taking it easy with promoting as there are lots of other important things to focus on right now. Police brutality, racial prejudice, and the overarching division within society. We know our platform isn’t as big as some other acts. But we use it as best as we can to make sure people don’t forget what’s happening outside of the music scene.
"Our last record was pretty aggressive sounding, we loved that vibe. So we’ve definitely upped our game in the aggressiveness and have developed a more well-rounded sound throughout the upcoming songs."
Your latest release, ‘Chasing Ghosts – Reimagined’ was released on July 2nd. Can you go into the creation process of this track a little more? How did the acoustic reimaging of this track come about?
We actually had an acoustic performance on our last tour, and it had been cancelled! So, we had this tune prepared and never actually performed it or solidified it for a recording session. We started with the base structure of the tune and just took the chords that sounded nice on the electric guitar and moved them to the acoustic guitar. Tim Wilson our drummer is actually a very skilled piano player, so we had him record the song and have the piano act as lead guitar! It was super collaborative and it was done completely remotely because it was still the height of the pandemic. Connor and I recorded Vocals/Guitars and my place. Tim recorded at his home directly into Logic Pro to become MIDI files. After we had good takes of the vocals/guitars/piano. We sent it off to QuinnCMusic for mixing & mastering! We all didn’t even see each other face to face (minus Connor and I), it was all possible thanks to Logic Pro X and The Internet haha.
On social media you guy have been asking fans if they are ready for new music? Can you shed any more light on this?
Ooooh shit, I hope they’re ready! I think this is the most “Calling All Captains” we’ve ever been. Our track “Out Of My Head” had flavours of what’s to come. My vocal tone has always been aggressive sounding, but during this recording session I have way more control than the last EP sessions. We’ve been talking a lot about how pop punk has changed over the years. Our last record was pretty aggressive sounding, we loved that vibe. So we’ve definitely upped our game in the aggressiveness and have developed a more well-rounded sound throughout the upcoming songs. Bands always say that shit like “wE’Re hEAviEr aND liGHteR” but I can guarantee we are getting significantly heavier as well utilizing my lower range to really bring the energy down for some spots on the LP.
‘Chasing Ghosts’ is an absolute belter of a track. Is it always the ambition of the band to always push the limits of what the definitive Calling All Captains sound can be?
Hundo P, bud! This band is always getting better and the only reason we’ve been able to do that is to constantly challenge our abilities in and out of the studio. Chasing Ghosts’ recording session had me fucked up not gonna lie. I was just starting to sing for the band and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to sing, in fact it took me so many tries to pull that song off in the studio. After getting support from my band and our producer, I was finally able to have the confidence to finish the song and nail the parts I could. After hearing the song back, I immediately got an mp3 of it and started practising it because we were leaving for tour soon and I better be able to do it live night after night!
"It just seemed so fitting to interview each of the band members and see how we really came about to this place. And why it worked so well with us 5 dudes. Long story short it just seemed right!"
On May 30th you released the documentary ‘Made For You’ which goes really into depth into ups and downs of your band and its history, how did this come about? What was being filmed for a documentary like and going into some introspective issues?
We originally hired a film crew for our performance opening up for the offspring. But after seeing all of the footage the film crew THEMSELVES decided it might be a good idea to maybe have a bigger documentary of Calling All Captains’ journey to where it is now. We had footage of us playing to a crowd of legit 10k+ people. Along with all of our bar show pictures and pictures of shows with maaaybe 30 people at the show. It just seemed so fitting to interview each of the band members and see how we really came about to this place. And why it worked so well with us 5 dudes. Long story short it just seemed right!
With everything still up in the air, what do you think the rest of 2020 will look like for you as a band?
Recording tunes, writing tunes, making merch and filming music videos with not a single tour in sight! As long as we have music, we’ll stay patient until we can all get back to shows and concerts safely!
‘Nothing Grows Here’ shows new unheard depths in your sound and just how far your sound and musicianship has come, was this a conscious choice or a natural evolution of your sound?
As far as our original sound vs now, our music got much more aggressive. It was for sure a conscious decision because it is just way better to play live.
"Our signature sound is yet to be found, but I think as far as something we keep coming back to; it would be screaming and yelling over pop punk songs... I couldn’t imagine a clean classic pop punk vocalist on CAC songs. They wouldn’t hit right, you feel me?"
If you could choose any one person to do a guest spot on one of your tracks who would you choose and why?
Brendan Murphy from Counterparts/END. Because his vocals fuckin’ rip bud!
If you had to choose one song from the Calling All Captains catalogue that you feel encompasses the bands signature sound, which song would you choose and why?
I think I’d give it to Out Of My Head! Our signature sound is yet to be found, but I think as far as something we keep coming back to; it would be screaming and yelling over pop punk songs! I was never the best vocalist in terms of clean singing, but I can scream and use the grit in my voice to make a sound better fitting for our instrumentals. I couldn’t imagine a clean classic pop punk vocalist on CAC songs. They wouldn’t hit right, you feel me?
Finally, as we are called Not A Phase, were you a scene kid when you were growing up? If not, what kind of music were you rocking out back in your formative teenage years?
There was so much holy moly, I’ll give my top 10 records during my “phase” I never grew out of ahah.
Avenged Sevenfold - City Of Evil
Green Day - American Idiot
Atreyu - The Curse
Billy Talents - Billy Talent
AII All That Remains- Fall Of Ideals
Escape The Fate - Dying Is Your Latest Fashion
Killswitch Engage - As Daylight Dies
Bigwig - Reclamation
NOFX - Wolves In Wolves’ Clothing
NOFX - The War On Errorism
Thanks for having me! I enjoyed these questions a lot and having time to answer them gave me a bit more time to think about my answers. CAC WORLDWIDE BABY!
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