By Harriet Kaplan
Heavy Static is an alt-pop trio from Toronto featuring frontman Christian Patrick on lead vocals and guitar, Dave Vassey on bass and backing vocals and James Young on drums and backing vocals. They are currently promoting their new track, Andromeda, from Heavy Static’s upcoming EP, Here Comes the Fear.” The songs center around themes of “heartbreak, anxiety and finding one’s place in the world.” Heavy Static takes their musical cues from “70s icons like The Cure, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie and The Clash, Swedish pop, horror movies and modern-day rockers.” Christian Patrick recently spoke to BOC about the band, the songwriting process, bemoaning the lack on guitars in today’s music and the complex band dynamic Christian described as “You fight like lovers and fuck like lovers” – (in the sense playing music is the sex.”)
How did the band come together? Are you all from Toronto?
Christian Patrick: We have all played in other bands and like all good musicians, you eventually work together because everyone kind of knows everyone through proxy. Even though Toronto is a metropolis, it’s still like a small town when it comes to the music scene. I’ve known Dave (bassist) for a few years and he bothered me for a long time to form a band with him and I always said no. One day, I finally said yes and that’s that. As for James (our drummer), we were holding auditions after our original drummer and us parted ways and I think he was like one of the first to try out and we knew right away he was our man. Just a killer drummer who really ties the songs together.
How does it feel to be named Artist of the Month and what comes to mind for you as a band? Does it go to your head?
CP: Not to diminish the honor, but I think if we got Band of the Month in Rolling Stone magazine or a publication of that caliber it may have felt like a huge weight off our shoulders. At this point nothing goes to my head, though I can’t speak for the other guys in the band. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into doing what we do and whatever accomplishment we achieve feels earned rather than someone just giving it to us. In many ways, whenever we reach a goal there’s more of a sense of relief than a feeling of accomplishment.
Can you tell me specifically what inspired your second EP Face The Night? When the band sat down to write the songs what were you thinking of as far lyrical concepts?
CP: Our FIRST EP was called Face The Night. Our second EP (out on July 18) is called Here Comes The Fear. I write all the songs. We’ve tried to write songs together but it just doesn’t work. I’ve always been open to the other guys bringing songs to the table, but I think they are content with the songwriting as it is. The two EPs though, were written with a different mindset for each but executed similarly. The first EP was all about rediscovering oneself after being lost. For me, I was coming out of a breakup from a long-term relationship and writing the songs was a sense of freedom and a sense of “I made it out alive!” The songs and the title itself are indicative of that. Face The Night is kind of like “bring it on! I’m ready for anything!” The new EP Here Comes The Fear is a lot less of a “concept,” and more open. In fact, all the songs are quite different and there’s a bit of everything in there for different people. Whereas the songs on Face The Night were written over a one-week period, the songs on Here Comes The Fear were written over a period of months. The first EP was just five songs we had at the time. In fact, we were just a month or so old when we went into the studio so we were very green. The songs on the new EP were hand selected from a group of songs I’d written over time. It was great because we actually had the time to go through the process and work out the songs to how we actually wanted them to be – because every time you are learning a new song different ideas come up for that song as a band and it rarely remains as it was initially written.
Why is the band so influenced by the 70s and 80s horror movies?
CP: My older brother was a metalhead when I was a kid and growing up listening to thinks like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and AC/DC really had an impact on me. As I got older I started going further back to listen to things like the Sex Pistols and The Clash. I’ve just always had a crazy affinity towards guitar and guitar solos and melodies and stuff like that. Guitars are what’s missing in today’s popular music and it really makes me annoyed to know that “guitar” music is underground. Like, Iron Maiden is one of the biggest bands on the planet today and they are considered underground. It’s as if liking guitar music is some sort of guilty pleasure. I’ll take the riff in Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” over any top 10 song on the Billboard chart right now.
Does the band look forward to touring?
CP: Yes and no. I love playing and being on stage, but there’s the other 95% of the day to think about and things always go wrong; van breaking down, gear breaking down, loading and unloading, soundcheck, arguing with club owner’s/promoters about getting paid, etc. etc. I think the other guys in the band have a different experience because they don’t deal with this stuff. They just deal with rocking hard and I deal with rolling heads. Though, it’s all worth it when I’m on stage even if it is a pain sometimes. I’m always really excited to play the new EP for people. Playing live is always much more fun when you have new material to work with.
What’s the most exciting part of being in a band?
CP: The camaraderie. It’s almost like being on a sports team. It’s all team work and being on the same page and trying to win every night. The crowd is our opponent and our goal is to win them over. Being in a band is a strange thing in many ways cuz it’s like being in a relationship as well. You fight like lovers and fuck like lovers (in the sense that playing music is the sex). It’s an interesting thing that always keeps you on your toes and whenever I’ve not played in a band I’ve missed it terribly. All that being said, if you love severe ups and downs then being in a band is perfect for you!
Platforms or spandex pants and why?
CP: Why not both? They both work exceptionally well – especially black platforms and leopard print spandex!