Billy Talent – A Good Rock Show Can Change The World
Written by Alexander Chisholm on 11th February, 2013
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Soundwave 2013 is a festival that is not to be missed. Ben Kowalewicz from Billy Talent could not agree more, as he talked about their latest release and their upcoming tour of Australia. Here is what he had to say.
Can you talk about the latest record Dead Silence?
Ben Kowalewicz: I think it is our best work to date. It is our twentieth year together this year, which is absolutely astounding for me. We worked really hard on this record, and we were very methodical and very particular about it and spent a lot of time on it. The most important thing about it is that our guitarist Ian D’Sa produced the record. That was probably the best decision we have made in a really long time. He managed to capture us in a really pure and honest way. It is something that we are all very proud of. We are just stoked that people seem to be enjoying it.
Why did you decide not to call it Billy Talent IV?
BK: To be honest with you, we thought it had run its course. It was literally the last thing we did when making the record. It just didn’t feel right to put another number on it. We just wanted a new leaf in life and to start fresh. It is funny because when we were numbering the records people were like, ‘Why are you numbering it? Are you lazy?’ Then we don’t number it and people are like, ‘Why wouldn’t you name it IV?’ We are not the smartest fellas in the world; we just thought that it was time for a change.”
What was the notion behind releasing Viking Death March as the first single?
BK: We decided to release Viking Death March because it was one of the first songs that we had finished. We just released it on our website, so it was not like a real single. It was amazing to see people’s gratitude towards it in this natural way; the song has definitely taken on a life of its own. We just decided that we were going to shoot a live video, and make it as honest and as pure as possible. As a musician, you never know what people are going to think, or if they are going to like it or whatever. We kind of threw that line into the water and people seem to really be stoked by it. It is definitely a huge motivator for us, because we still had a lot of work to do – we were still in the studio working away. It gave us that extra bit of courage to keep moving forward.
How is your next mission of taking on world domination going?
BK: We have discovered that the world is very big (laughs). We have been on the road for around seven months and are having a bit of a break right now. All the shows have been going great! When you get a chance to play new songs live and put them in conjunction with your past stuff, it seems to be really complementing it. The shows are quite possibly the best we have ever played. The people coming to the shows are having a lot of fun. That’s what it is all about – people coming and having a good time! It is something that we pride ourselves on. We are believers that a good rock show can change the world, as cliché as it sounds, but we have the best time we possibly can.
What is it that keeps you returning to Australia?
BK: There are a lot of similarities between Australians and Canadians. I know a lot of Australians here who I have met over the years. It is amazing that we can travel so far and be emerged in a culture that is so similar. I know that a lot of Canadians have this love affair and adoration for Australia, and that Australians have the same kind of love for our country, so it is pretty cool. When we get to play very far away from our doorsteps, everyone is really friendly and accommodating.
Can you tell me about your past experience of Soundwave in 2009?
BK: I thought it was great. I think another amazing part is that we get to see more of your beautiful country. We also get to meet the fans and a lot of cool bands. I mean, it is a bit of a whirlwind tour because we are on a stage on a plane type thing, but there is such an energy about it that is so beautiful. I remember sitting backstage and just taking in the moment, and being really appreciative of the fact that we were there. This year we are really looking forward to it because we like a lot of the bands as music fans. It is pretty mind-blowing, so we are just going to take the opportunity and run with it.
What are you looking forward to this time around?
BK: As a music fan, to be able to sit around and have a cold beer, and watch some of the best bands in the world. We are excited to see all of the bands; we love Blink, Metallica and Slayer. There are a lot of Canadian bands on the line-up that we are good friends with – The Cancer Bats, Sum 41 and F**ked Up. Overall, if you are a live rock music fan, there is no better festival. Honestly, I think it is probably one of the greatest line-ups I have ever seen in regard to festivals. For us to be able to play is really humbling and we are super stoked. I cannot tell you how excited I am to be part of this year and to add our little two cents. When you have that calibre of artists, I think it is really important, and hopefully everyone that goes has the best time of their lives!
(Photo by Dustin Rabin)