We had the pleasure of interviewing Wade MacNeil of Alexisonfire over Zoom video.
ALEXISONFIRE released Otherness, their long-anticipated and first full-length album in over 13 years.
Otherness is arguably the band's most cohesive and...
We had the pleasure of interviewing Wade MacNeil of Alexisonfire over Zoom video.
ALEXISONFIRE released Otherness, their long-anticipated and first full-length album in over 13 years.
Otherness is arguably the band's most cohesive and self-actualized record to date, featuring impassioned anthems with earnest and deeply heartfelt lyrics, and impeccable vocal and musical performances from the iconic 5-piece.
Up next is the visually stunning, dreamlike video for "Sans Soleil," which was shot in New Orleans and directed by longtime collaborator Michael Maxxis, who also directed "The Northern" and "Familiar Drugs."
Watch the video for "Sans Soleil"
Guitarist/vocalist Wade MacNeil has described the song as "hanging onto hope during the heaviest times, healing and letting go. Dreaming of a future where all this hurt is behind you."
"'Sans Soleil' is such a beautiful, haunting, mysterious, and uplifting song, and it immediately inspires a certain type of visual," explains Maxxis. "The idea was to make something that was opposite of that first flight of instinct that still possessed the same innate spirit. The process we undertook conceptualizing this video was one of the most unique and rewarding of my career."
Otherness features 10 fresh, original songs, including the explosive first single, "Sweet Dreams Of Otherness," previously released banger "Reverse The Curse," and the hauntingly beautiful "Sans Soleil." The album was produced by AOF and mixed by punk stalwart Jonah Falco (Fucked Up, Chubby and the Gang).
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What is going on?! It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to hang out with Wade McNeil of the band, Alexis on fire over zoom video. This is actually the second time Wade's been on the podcast, which is incredible. The first time my brother-in-law Shawn olds of the Eiffel's had a chance to chat with Wade. And the same I did, which is really cool. We kind of caught up on what Sean and Wade talked about in the first interview. I just had some follow-up questions to how he got into music born and raised his first band, starting Alexis on fire. 5 (2m 7s): And we learned about how the band became quite successful. I mean, had a record deal, a music video out on the Canadian version of MTV all prior to them graduating from high school, this is all happening. When they're seniors in high school, he tells us all about that. And about this brand new record, their first new album in 13 years, Wade goes into detail about how the idea for the record formed, just getting back together with the guys and writing an entire album. And they're also doing a 20 year reunion show where they're playing their very first self-titled record in its entirety, celebrating 20 years as a band and going back to kind of revisit those songs in the decisions that they made musically, since it's been, you know, 20 years of songwriting sense, it was really interesting to hear a way to talk about that. 5 (3m 1s): You can watch the interview with Wade on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It would be amazing if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and tick-tock at bringing back pod. And if you are listening to this on Spotify, apple music, Google podcasts, it would be incredible if you follow us there as well, and hook us up with a five star review. 6 (3m 24s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 5 (3m 30s): We're bringing it backwards with Alexis on fire. Hey, wait, how are you, man? I'm doing well. I appreciate you doing this. Thank you so much. 7 (3m 41s): No problem. Can you hear me all right? 5 (3m 43s): Yeah. Sounds good. 7 (3m 45s): Cool. 5 (3m 46s): Sweet. You actually have been on our podcast before, but my brother-in-law is on the interview. Yeah, this is about a year, maybe two years ago at this point it was when COVID has, was going full force. So yeah, I'm super excited to talk to you because obviously Alexis on fire has a new record coming out the first one in 13 years, I believe. Right. So cool. So cool. Well, this I'm Adam and this is about you and your journey in music. We kind of already heard your story in the first time we chatted, but I want to kind of recap a little bit. 5 (4m 28s): I have some followup questions, if that's cool. And then I want to talk to you about the new music and the new, the new record. 7 (4m 35s): Sounds good. 5 (4m 36s): Awesome. Awesome. So first off, born and raised, where were you born and raised? 7 (4m 41s): St. Catherine's Ontario. Canada. I'm here right now. 5 (4m 47s): Cool. What was it like growing up there? 7 (4m 52s): It's yeah, it's a pretty small city. Not a lot going on, which I feel like is probably why, you know, like everyone in the band kind of like got so into the things that we got into, you know, like, yeah. I kinda often wonder if I was like, if I grew up in Toronto or somewhere else, like if I, yeah, I dunno if I would have obsessed over the same things I did when I was younger. So yeah, I know it's a, it's a small city and like, so spent most of my time, like skateboarding and playing music and, and yeah, we I'd say all the guys in the band are kind of, you know, people that I've met, there were another local bands that kind of were the people that were as passionate about it as I was. 7 (5m 52s): And, and yeah, we've been, it's crazy. Yeah. This is like the 20th year us doing it. 5 (5m 59s): So cool though. So cool. I remember from the interview, I just watched it recently. So with, with my brother that you did, you said you had a guitar teacher that you named Dennis. I was kind of a big influence on you growing up that you had met her around 12 years old. 7 (6m 15s): Yeah, it was, it was a pretty huge thing. I mean, like he, he was pretty much the only person I think that was really positive about music for me. Like, I'd say everyone else kind of, you know, my music teachers in school and just to kind of like, you know, my, my folks and everyone just kind of like try to dissuade me from doing music, trying to be like, kind of quit fucking around and do your homework. And yeah, like the only person that actually was like, you can do this, you can do this for living. Like you can make music. Your life was like, you know, like 17 year old metal head guy. 7 (6m 59s): That was like my guitar teacher. And yeah. I mean, I think he probably had more profound effect on my music career than anybody else even just in, yeah. I don't know. Just like having one person tell you that it's possible is a really important thing. 5 (7m 18s): Yeah. I mean, that's a massive going, I will. I'm curious. Does you said that your family and parents were like, yeah. You know, get a real job kind of thing, do your homework, but like, what were you playing before that? Where was the guitar, the first instrument you had learned or were you, it sounds like you were in music classes prior to that. 7 (7m 35s): Yeah. I mean, I just, you know, like doing music class, like in school and stuff like that, but I played piano when I was younger. Like kind of just for a couple of years, didn't really take to it. But yeah, when I got a guitar, that's when I kinda like really just like zoned in on it kind of stopped doing everything else. But I dunno, I was gonna say, 5 (8m 6s): I was going to say, do you have any siblings or was there anyone else musical in your household or your parents at all? 7 (8m 11s): No. There's like, no one, my grandmother, my grandmother played piano and harmonica, but like no one else in my family plays music in any capacity. So I think it was, it was not something that yeah, that anybody really understood. 5 (8m 31s): Sure. Yeah. I was going to say, sounds like you're taking, not only is the music a huge risk, but it was something that no one else was pursuing her ad purse pursued in, in your, in your family. So like for me, I would think like my parents always wanted me to get a real job, you know, get a job. That's like, you know, something secure, you know, some job security. And I come from radio and I th and I love that. I saw that you did radio for a handful of years in Canada. Didn't you, 8 (8m 59s): You could save big when you bundle your home and auto with progressive, but when we just come out and say, it feels like it falls a bit flat. So instead we're going to hire a professional voice actor and pay him absurd amounts of money to say, 5 (9m 11s): I like this product. 8 (9m 14s): I'm not sure where that was better. I mean, I'm a professional too, but we didn't pay him to say the business parts. So back to me, save big when you bundle your home and auto with progressive, sorry. I know hearing me say it was a bit of a letdown, progressive casualty insurance company and affiliates discount, not available in all states or situations. Membership fees apply after free trial canceled. 9 (9m 32s): Can I be real for a second? That goal, you have to exercise and eat better. You really can do it, but nobody is going to do it for you. And nobody has to, because you can do it. If you have the right tools and a community that cares about helping you get results, and that's us beach body it's as convenient as your TV or laptop, but you need to decide that you're worth it. Let us help you succeed. Here's how go to beachbody.com to claim your free membership and start feeling great. 8 (9m 60s): Save big when you bundle your home and auto with progressive. But when we just come out and say it, it feels like it falls a bit flat, so we're going to sing. It we'll even sing the business cards. Yeah. That's the commercial. You'll remember. Even if you don't remember the bundle and save with progressive part, progressive casualty insurance company and affiliates discount not available in all states or situations. 10 (10m 25s): This is the end of the gym. 7 (10m 31s): Yeah. Yeah. It was, it was cool. I like, after I kind of like, you know, Alexis toured for, you know, 10 years, like pretty much nonstop. And then we kind of slowed things down. I toured for like five years really intense with gallows. And, and then I thought I need to get off the road. I'm like losing my goddamn mind. And so, yeah, I got like a, I got a radio show in Toronto and I did that for like about five years and it was cool. It was like, yeah, I enjoyed it. Like kind of just like being involved in music in another capacity. It's kind of funny though. 7 (11m 11s): I thought, you know, when I started, when I started doing it, but I'll be good, all like all like interview bands and, you know, I can just steer away from all those things that I just like, all that cringy shit in interviews over the years that I've been out. If I can avoid all that and like hands down the thing I seeded the most. So like interviewing bands, I don't know it was brutal, man. I was like, it's it was so funny to see the amount of bands who show up and just be like, yes, no, I like this is live radio motherfuckers punch out. 5 (11m 47s): I love that. You said that because I did alternative radio for 17 years before really just full on taking care over on this podcast. Really COVID kind of was the reason for that. I mean, everyone was home and artists, I was able to chat with that were trying to push records or doing things that they couldn't toward and support, but hearing this is, that's why I wanted to start a podcast like this. Cause I love the deep conversation and not the stupid questions. Like I grew up in San Diego and I remember just like the morning show questions, like, what's your favorite burrito in town? And like the morning show people like having these, you know, thinking that they needed to be the personality of the interview. And I'm like, just, no one's yeah, listen, let the, you know, talk to the artists. 5 (12m 29s): They're the one that, you know, has the information people want to hear. But anyway, that's so funny that you said that about the cringy random radio interviews that I'm sure you had to do a million times throughout your career, as well as hopefully this hasn't become that. 7 (12m 44s): No, I mean, well, first of all, you don't have the radio voice, so we're already off to a good start. What's up with that voice. That's crazy, man. Like, like you just like, you put someone in front of a microphone and they just start doing that voice. It's insane. 5 (12m 58s): No, it's funny. That's like one of the hardest things I had to learn and radio was like, everyone was like, be yourself. And that's the hardest thing to do. It's like, what do you mean be yourself? Cause I'm trying to mimic people that I listened to growing up. And then like at one, one day it just kind of clicked. I'm like, yeah, why don't I just talk and be me? But it's, it was such a hard thing to do in radio. 7 (13m 20s): Well, it's a very difficult thing. I think you can just, you know, even like, it's funny, you know, I, I, I think when I was doing the radio show, I tried to put, like, I tried to put a bunch of people on the hair. Like there were like in my life, you know what I mean? Like I was like, I was like, it'd be funny if I just, whatever. I was like talking about hockey, like I put my dad on the radio and just like, he's like such a funny, like charismatic. Like ballbuster like psycho, like old guy. And I try and talk to him on the radio. And he, he started behaving so peculiar. Like he couldn't be fit. You can't make people act normal when they do it. 7 (14m 0s): It's really strange. 5 (14m 2s): Really, really well not to go off and radio anymore, but I just thought that was so cool that you, you did it and well, actually real quick, last question. Were you able to program your own show or did you have to play with the program director I'd put together for you? 7 (14m 16s): No, I ain't going to program a fucking thing. 5 (14m 19s): So you had to play whatever records were already scheduled in there, 7 (14m 23s): But yeah, there was like a little bit of stuff that they let me do, but yeah, it's just not the way the radio works, unfortunately. 5 (14m 32s): No, totally, totally. I didn't know because you have obviously notoriety and you were, you were doing things that they may be good at throwing you a bone and be like, yeah, you got, wait, you can play, you know, an hour of whatever the hell you want to play. But sounds like, 7 (14m 49s): Like one of them, like before I stopped working there, like let me die. 5 (14m 58s): I ran 7 (14m 59s): Into, I ran into the program director when I was on my way into the building. And I was like, Hey, like, I'm going to like do a bunch of Motorhead stuff at the beginning of the show. And I was, I was covering for them like afternoon drive person that day. And then he was like, yeah, we didn't talk about that, but you can't play Motorhead. I was like, what do you mean? And he's like, I can't play like it's drive time. And I was just like, I walked into that radio station. I thought maybe I should, maybe today would be a really good day for me to just quit on the air. They asked you to just play all of overkill and then quit on the air. And I didn't end up doing that. 5 (15m 39s): I was gonna say, if you did that, that would've been so epic. You're like, okay, let me guide. I'm going to play this whole record. Hopefully it doesn't get stopped, but I'm going to play the whole album and I'm out. Oh, that's hilarious. Okay. So sorry, going back to you, guitar 12, and then you started band bef obviously before Alexis, but the band you started prior to that, like how old were you and when did you start writing songs? 7 (16m 9s): I guess the first band would have been a, it would've been with Chris, the bass player from Alexis, the first week of high school, we went to go see the misfits play. And that was like the first weekend. And now it's kinda like we were, we went to the show together. We like knew each other. We'd see each other, like went to different high schools, each other at the bus stop and like take the same bus downtown to go to high school. And we both realized we're going to the show. So we went together and then I think that show really had like an eyeopening effect on like, I've been to a few shows, but I had never been to like a larger punk show. I know kind of concept of like, you know, that, that kind of world existed that much. 7 (16m 53s): And so we went to that show and then like the next after that show, that was Saturday night, the Sunday we have like a band practice. And that was our first band plan nine said, yeah, it was just like our first punk band, like kind of three core punk stuff, us figuring out how to play with other people. I was supposed to play bass and Chris was supposed to play guitar, but I couldn't play bass and sing same time. I can kind of play guitar and sing. So he switched to the bass and I played guitar, which is funny that he's like his he's been a bass player, his whole life. But like, that's the reason he's a bass player now. Like when we were 14, we made that decision really quick. 7 (17m 39s): And we did that for like a few years. And then, you know, I'd met all the other guys in Alexis from like, you know, there are other bands, the city and, and I was PA I was booking punk shows and St Catherine's and, and, and then yeah, put this band together, like with kind of like everybody that was yeah. Kind of really trying to do it around here. And then, yeah, the rest is history 5 (18m 9s): And you guys, you are what like 17, were you still in high school? And the band started? 7 (18m 13s): Yeah, we are. We're 17. We've just turned 17. So I guess Dow would have like, he's the oldest. So he would have just graduated high school, but the rest of us was still in high school. Yeah. 5 (18m 26s): And you were touring and doing, cause 7 (18m 29s): We were just like, we're playing as much as possible. And then, but like we were starting to tour like in my last year of high school and it was like borderline, like how much fat you are without dropping out. And then I, luckily I had a really good principal that like took me aside the first day is like my last year and was like, Hey, I understand this is like happening for you. Like, I'm gonna talk to your teachers, we're going to like, we're going to get you through the year. Just like work with me and just like don't drop out. And yeah, it was a really pretty incredible that he like took the time to do that. And, and yeah, like got me through the year and was like, you know, said something like you can miss like 33 days and have you missed more than I have to. 7 (19m 18s): I have to like legally have to like kick you out. So like, don't do that. And, and yeah, he was, he was great about it. And 32 days, yeah. 5 (19m 33s): You're like, oh my God, I got one more. I only got one more left 7 (19m 37s): Pretty much. 5 (19m 39s): Oh, that's funny. So the, well with that, the, the band was already, you know, it sounds like you guys were already doing things and it was moving. How did your family feel about that? I mean, to say, you know what I'm going to do this is it like, I'm not going to college. I'm just going to play music and see where this goes. 11 (19m 57s): Membership fees apply after free trial, cancel anytime. 9 (19m 59s): Can I be real for a second? That goal, you have to exercise and eat better. You really can do it, but nobody is going to do it for you. And nobody has to, because you can do it. If you have the right tools and a community that cares about helping you get results and that's us beach body it's as convenient as your TV or laptop, but you need to decide that you're worth it. Let us help you succeed. Here's how go to beachbody.com to claim your free membership and start feeling great. 12 (20m 27s): Can't see tomorrow, but we can hear it. And it sounds like a wind farm powering homes across the country. We're bridging to a sustainable energy future. Working today to ensure tomorrow is on and bridge. Life takes energy. 11 (20m 42s): Membership fees apply after trial cancel anytime. 9 (20m 44s): Can I be real for a second? That goal, you have to exercise and eat better. You really can do it, but nobody is going to do it for you. And nobody has to because you can do it. If you have the right tools and a community that cares about helping you get results and that's us beach body it's as convenient as your TV or laptop, but you need to decide that you're worth it. Let us help you succeed. Here's how go to beachbody.com to claim your free membership and start feeling great. 7 (21m 13s): I don't know. I don't think I was really listening to anyone or really cared what anyone had to say at that point about anything. So I pretty just like sat on doing it. So, yeah, I don't know, but we really just hit the ground running. Like we, like, we signed a record deal and we were still in high school, like publishing deal. We like made, we like had music. We had like music videos, like playing on television, like before we graduated high school. 5 (21m 40s): Really. So that, cause you told my brother-in-law about the video you guys made for pulmonary article that was done by like a grant system, right? 7 (21m 50s): Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so, yeah, that was the first one we ever made. And like our, you know, I know our, our bass player had to like, he was supposed to work at blockbuster that night and they said, if you don't come in for your shift, you're fired. And so he, he went and made a music video, Alexis on fire went on to make five platinum records and blockbuster has now folded. He showed that bar. Yeah. So I'm like, yeah, that was the kind of crazy thing is at that time, Canada had this grant system for music videos. So we got to make like a very nice music video. 7 (22m 30s): We got something like, you know, we got like $30,000 to make a music video. And we Met this guy, we met this guy, mark crooked jelly. He was like a guy kind of like really involved in like, like Toronto is like kind of like skateboard, humanity. Who've been shooting scape. I've been shooting skate stuff like since the eighties. And so just like, as him being an actual like filmmaker, he just took all of that money and just like bought film. So we shot it like on film and like made it look gorgeous and, and, and yeah, send that video like, yeah. I ended up getting like a lot of play on like our kind of like music, video stations and, and really kind of like, yeah. 7 (23m 15s): Expose the band to a lot of different people. And so by the time I finally did graduate high school and were able to tour across the country for the first time, you know, there was, there was people there when we got to Vancouver. 5 (23m 27s): Wow. So like with pulmonary artery, did you know that song was going to be the one to do the video for, was it already a thing that was working or like, did you have 7 (23m 38s): We, I mean, that would have been from our, our first record. So we had the record done, but as far as making a music video or picking like a single, I think someone from the label suggests that we pick it because it was the shortest song. 5 (23m 53s): Like, 7 (23m 54s): Like, I dunno, I don't feel like we didn't feel like there was any like singles, like we're in a band that was like trying to write, I don't know, like, oh, this is going to be the one that does something we liked. We liked the song, but like the idea of us making a music video seemed absurd. The idea of it getting played on TV seemed ridiculous. Like, yeah. 5 (24m 18s): I mean, it's just wild out and everything, and this is all happening in you're still in high school. So I didn't realize that the record came out because you had a demo right before that, or a thing that you guys printed out or did it yourself. And then you did the first record and that had came out and this video were all within this time span of you haven't even graduated high school yet. 7 (24m 38s): Yeah. It all happens pretty quick, but yeah, I don't know. I think it was, I don't know. We were just like living and breathing the band at that point. And, but yeah, that early stuff did happen really quick. And we were just playing like nonstop, like playing like every single day. 5 (25m 0s): That's so crazy with that. I mean just to talk to move. Cause I, we, my brother did talk to my, brother-in-law talked to you quite a bit about it. You know, the first few records and you were doing a film score at the time. When, when last time you chatted, obviously you've done a book, big things with gallows and everything else. So I want to jump to this new record because 13 years between albums and 20 years of the band, I mean, that's so huge. Tell me about when did the decision to start, you know, putting together an album? Cause I know you had a couple singles between the, you know, 13 year records. 7 (25m 33s): Yeah. I mean a few years ago we, we, we put out a few tunes, but I think that kinda just came like cuddling naturally, like the way everything else from the time we started playing again, there was just these little things that we were doing. Like, you know, go do a few shows and like rehearse a little bit. And every single thing we did kind of, I think was a step, a little bit closer to us making this record. You know, we're taking things like pretty slow and, but everything we were doing, like, it felt really good. It felt like a little bit better. And it was just like a little bit more positive and then felt better. 7 (26m 13s): And, but I don't think, you know, there wasn't a plan to like sit down and write a new record. There was just COVID happened and things were so shut down that we, you know, I just suggested, I was like, why don't we just get together? And like jam, like no one was like seeing each other. And this was at a point when everything was pretty locked the fuck down, you know? And so we just got together and played like not, didn't get together to like write new music, got together, just like play and just kind of had, and it was just really nice. And, and especially at that time, like when everything seems so like shut off from the world and it felt like the most normal thing I'd done in months to just like get together at the space and, and play some music with the dudes. 7 (27m 2s): Hence I don't know. Maybe it was like, because everyone's lives have been like ground to a halt with the way the world was, or, or maybe the fact that there was no like plan to do anything. I don't know. We just very, I don't know, songs just started pouring out of us and, you know, we had a few and then we had a few more. And then after about a month, I think we had like seven and we saw them. I was like, we should, when did the studio to record some demos? And were there Dallas was like, you know, I think we started making a record. 7 (27m 44s): Like, I think this is the record. And then it was just kind of the idea of focusing it a little bit and writing the last few over that next month. And so this whole thing came together in a couple months and, and yeah, just, yeah, I don't know. It was just, it didn't feel forced in any capacity and we're able to just like, have everyone be hyper-focused on it and, and yeah, I think it's, I think it's the best record we've ever made. 5 (28m 14s): I love the songs I've heard thus far. I mean, Sansa lay is the one you wrote the lyrics and everything for that song, didn't you? 7 (28m 21s): Yeah. I wonder. I mean, everything is a pretty collaborative process, but that one's more a song that I brought, brought to everyone, like totally finished and then like made it a little bit more Alexis. 5 (28m 34s): Sure. It was, is that, was that the first song or has that happened before where you presented the band with a song like that? 7 (28m 43s): I think it's the first time I've presented the band with something that's so finished. Usually like we kind of, we all have these ideas and we kind of formulate them together, but this was just kind of like something that I, yeah, I think we did a lot of things differently this time. We, we, I think like kind of throw out a lot of the old rules that we have first when we were making records and yeah, it really helps us push into some new territory. I think I saw a song like Sansa delay in the past wouldn't happen because would have felt like it's too personal. Like you're like, maybe that's like a song that's like for like, because I wrote in it's like very serious, like maybe it feel weird for George to sing something like that feels like something that's happened in the past, but we kind of abandoned those ideas. 7 (29m 33s): And I'm really glad we did because it's like, because I think by, you know, talking about what we do want the, to be and like myself, Dallas and George, like working through the lyrics together on everything. Yeah. It helps I can help to elevate everything and it, it helped help make all the songs stronger and, and yeah, just, and have it like a different result than what we've done in the past. For sure. 5 (30m 2s): I mean, having that much time kind of in, obviously in between albums, but like having the time of a pandemic where no one's doing really much of anything. Did you think that that had any effect on the album, the album at all or the outcome or the songs 7 (30m 20s): I'd say on the olive? For sure. Just in that, yeah. I dunno. It allowed us almost like, felt like we're starting the band again to a certain degree, like, and we'd have practice and then we'd just like, hang out with afterwards. Like no one would be rushing off to like go do whatever because because life had like slowed down so much. So yeah, I really felt it was like so much more casual and, and that definitely helped the writing for sure. I think that definitely helped to like the mood of recording too. It was like way less, yeah, way less stressful. 7 (31m 2s): And I think by kind of having that atmosphere, it allowed us to like play better. I think it allowed us to be more like open and vulnerable just in the way we were writing and like communicating too, which like allowed us to kind of like take some chances creative chances that maybe we wouldn't have stuck our necks out on 8 (31m 20s): Drivers who switch and save with progressive save over $700 on average and those savings add up, imagine what you could buy in the future. 13 (31m 28s): So yeah, I use the savings from switching to progressive 50 years ago to finally buy my dream car. It's a self-driving flying car, but we just say, self-flying now, you know, cause it's the future in cars flying in the future. 8 (31m 40s): So switch to progressive and save big because those savings can add up in the future as a casualty insurance company and affiliates national annual average insurance savings by new customer survey to save with progressive in 2020 potential savings called three. 12 (31m 50s): We can't see tomorrow, but we can hear it tomorrow. 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There's a casualty insurance company and affiliates national annual average insurance savings by new customer surveyed who save with progressive in 20, 20 potential savings. 7 (32m 52s): We weren't feeling like that. 5 (32m 53s): What was it like going, you know, going back and, and learning all those songs are playing all those songs again. Probably some that you haven't maybe played live in 20 years. I mean, I don't know. 7 (33m 6s): Yeah, for sure. Like some, I think there's even like one on the record that we never played live. So yeah. It's really interesting to go back and just, yeah, I don't know, just like get back into that head space of, you know, what we were thinking about music at that time, obviously, you know, feeling those influences coming back there's, you know, relearning some of the things that, you know, I can tell, I was just like, you know, playing a part in being like, oh man, I was listening to like a lot of Dillinger escape plan, calculating infinity at that point. You're like, man, we, yeah, we were really, we really love the apple seed cast at this point. 7 (33m 50s): And so it's cool to kind of like feel those, those like those influences and just kind of like as a window back into the songwriting at that point, and also just, you know, revisiting it when, when we're in a different like head space. And obviously my view of songwriting is changed a lot. It's just kind of really interesting to like look at the decision, like the creative decisions in those tunes. Like a lot of inches, a lot of it is that magic of people playing together for the first time, not having any basis of reference for anything and just like doing whatever they want. 7 (34m 31s): And it's a lot of like, you know, a lot of it seems like as someone that, you know, has been writing music for 20 years at this point, a lot of it seems like so bizarre to me that we would have made those choices, but that's, what's cool about a lot of it. And, and yeah, I think I may have mentioned before we got cut off that, you know, I was a little worried that it may, when we started rehearsing it, that it may have felt a little awkward to like revisit those old tunes. Like not exactly representative of where we're at these days, but it's been the opposite it's it's made me, made me like really proud of the fact that that's where the band started. 5 (35m 16s): Yeah. I mean, it's such an amazing record. I mean, obviously it holds up to this day, you know, 20 years later and a lot of the, your, your band, especially in bands that came out of that scene, you know, the Thursdays of the world and like those bands, like you go back and listen to a record that's 21 years or 20 years old, 21 years old. And it's like, wow, like this is such an incredible album. And especially what you guys were doing the time was so just so innovative and so cool. It's just like, 7 (35m 44s): I mean, it's just that for, for us, it just, I don't know. I guess it was just, there was not much thought into it. It's a tree, it's a trip to like, look back at it, like through a different lens and like, you know, like appreciate it for what it is. Cause at the time we were just like kids in my mom's basement. 5 (36m 13s): Yeah. With, with like going to revisit them. I know I told you I'd be quick here, but I just, I'm just curious real fast, like going back to revisit those songs, did they change that in any way or are you guys presenting them in any different way or is it just like, we're going to listen to the recording and then just do it, how we did it back 20 years ago 7 (36m 30s): Or doing it pretty much the way it's written, but there's some things I think that we're able to like smooth out the edges in terms of like, I, in this part, like I understand what we were trying to do, but we may not have understood how to do it yet because of like our ability. So I think like there's probably some parts of the record that we never probably executed properly just cause we didn't really know how to play. So yeah. It's, it's pretty much like what the record is and, and then yeah, it was a little bit of Polish. 5 (37m 10s): I love it. I love it. And I love your t-shirt. I didn't realize that that's the serenity prayer on your shirt. 7 (37m 16s): Yeah. Picked this up the other day when we were in Atlanta. 5 (37m 20s): Super cool, man. 7 (37m 22s): It's a real, it's a real, I just got out of jail, but I'm going to, I'm going to keep it together. This time type of shirt. 5 (37m 29s): It's good. It's like, yeah. I mean it's a total recovery age shirt. I love it. Very cool. My last question to you, Wayne, and I appreciate the time and coming back and jumping on here real quickly is if you have any advice for aspiring artists, 7 (37m 48s): I think my advice would be to just like, just do it, just make music, play shows, do it all on your own terms and enjoy it. Like zap, like that's there doesn't need to be this concept of like making it or doing it for someone else. Like if you do it for yourself, like it's already like a victory, you know, there's just like, just be creative and enjoy it because that's what ultimately is going to connect with people at the end of the day.
ABOUT ALEXISONFIRE + OTHERNESS:
A continuous thread through the fabric of Alexisonfire is the state of otherness. Otherness drew us all to spaces where a band like this could be formed. We attract the type of individuals that have all felt the sensation of being strange or unique. Perceived or otherwise, otherness has followed us through childhood, adolescence, and into our adult lives. It drives our tastes and proclivities. It bonds us with ourselves and others. And make no mistake, even at our most domestic and mundane moments, we are true outliers.
—Otherness mission statement
Otherness is the band's most cohesive and self-actualized record to date. For those who need a refresher, AOF released four hugely successful studio albums, all Music Canada Platinum-certified: Alexisonfire (2002); Watch Out (2004); Crisis (2006); and Old Crows/Young Cardinals (2009). Crisis debuted at #1 on the Top 200 Soundscan (Canada), and Old Crows/Young Cardinals debuted at #2, and charted at #9 on the US Billboard Independent Album chart. The number of albums made outside of Alexisonfire by different band members over the years — including City and Colour, Dead Tired, You+Me, Dooms Children, and Billy Talent — could fill several record store bins.
The mix of classic Alexisonfire and newfound textures of "Sweet Dreams of Otherness" became a roadmap for the rest of the record. Dallas Green's engaging croon; the urgent attitude of Wade MacNeil; the heavy bellow of George Pettit; all anchored by a mix of vulnerability, confidence, iconoclasm, and celebratory recklessness. As every Alexisonfire song persistently expands and contracts, bassist Chris Steele and drummer Jordan Hastings remain impossibly tight, locked into unrelenting swinging grooves.
Alexisonfire produced Otherness themselves in roughly a week. They kept it a "family affair," working closely with folks who've been with them for years. Writing took place at the Dine Alone Records clubhouse. The album includes organ, keys, and pedal steel from Green's longtime collaborator Matt Kelly. Jill Zimmerman and Darren "Jeter" Magierowski (who is also Steele's cousin) engineered, at Jukasa Recording Studios.
"The biggest difference is the space we are all in. We were all really thrilled to make a record, and it was such a respite from what was going on in the world. It felt like life could be beautiful," MacNeil says. "We were supportive of one another. Everyone was in such a good mood. It was such a treat to be able to do it again."
As Revolver noted in 2019, "It's hard to overstate the influence Alexisonfire had in post-hardcore through the mid-2000s, their combination of singing and screaming setting the blueprint for many artists to come." Five guys playing aggressive rock (with no less than three of them singing and screaming) grew to a hockey-arena headlining phenomenon while pushing and pulling between spirited guitar leads, melodic might, and emotional weight.
"As much as we love playing the old songs, we don't want to be a nostalgia act. The only reason to come back is if we feel we still have something to say," Pettit insists. "We spent so much time on the road thinking that if we stopped, people would lose interest. But when we went away, it only got bigger. We all carved new paths for ourselves, so coming back to Alexisonfire is a purely enjoyable creative venture. Something special happens when we get in a room together."