Musicscan: Can you perhaps tell us something about the intention and the spirit of Cancer Bats when the band came to be at first, please. Has the intention / the spirit changed in any way until today? What kind of philosophy / attitude is the basis for what you are doing?
Cancer Bats: When Scott (our guitar player) and I started the band we wanted to play a more rock n roll, riff heavy, style of hardcore and our only plans we're to tour as much as possible. We never had specific goals and have always tried to maintain that attitude. If our only goal is to tour and have fun then its pretty easy to meet and keep that up. I find when business ideas out weigh the love of making music, playing shows and touring then that's when you get bummed out and realize you're doing it for the wrong reasons.
Musicscan: What moments in the bands history for you sum up the whole experience of Cancer Bats so far? What fuels your fire to continue?
Cancer Bats: Its easy for us to keep things going and to be touring hard when we keep playing awesome shows and meeting really rad people every where we go. For us when we started touring early on and seeing how excited people were getting by what were doing that it just fueled us to keep going further and harder. So far we haven't been let down and are still having an amazing time.
Musicscan: How big can a band like Cancer Bats grow “commercial-wise”, what do you think? What are the limits for an aggressive, heavy outfit in between hardcore, heavy rock’n’roll and metal?
Cancer Bats: For us we've grown up in the hardcore DIY scene where the only was to make a band work was to tour and play as many shows as possible. For us those ideas have always made sense and can be practical at any level. I even think its more important today when bands who normally didn't tour as much are realizing they have to get out on tour and to actually make an impact live instead of just relying on CD sales. I think if anything its those heavy bands who know how to tour efficiently that are going to make it through this change in times.
Musicscan: What lessons have you learned from being involved with the heavy underground for a couple of years now? What has it done for you? Which scene - if any - you feel connected with or being part of? Or which group of listeners gets the point of what Cancer Bats are all about?
Cancer Bats: We've all grown up within the hardcore scene and that's still the place that we feel closely connected to. That's where we learned out to put on shows, put out our own records, print our own shirts etc. Where we all grew up doing everything ourselves where that was the only option, and that still applies to how we run Cancer Bats now.
Musicscan: And with the direction of Cancer Bats heading a certain way and listeners / fans growing with you over years and releases, do you feel the fans can now relate to what you are feeling or at least understand what you are trying to tell them with your music?
Cancer Bats: We've been really fortunate to have as many amazing fans that have grown up and followed the band through different records and who really allow us to explore those different styles within the band. When we released Hail Destroyer that had a lot of different ideas on it and we realized that our fans were into all those different ideas, it really gave us the freedom and confidence to push all those styles and ideas as far as we could.
Musicscan: Do you feel that Cancer Bats has found its “own” sound already, or is it still evolving?
Cancer Bats: With this album we realized that whatever we try and do, as long as its the 4 of us playing together its going to sound like Cancer Bats. The combination of all 4 of our playing styles is really what makes the band sound the way it does and is now best represented in this album.
Musicscan: And being around as a band with an own identity and vision does it bother you when you see or meet kids who ignore you or have a different understanding of what your music and your style means to you?
Cancer Bats: I'm not bothered at all if we play a show and there's people who aren't vibeing on what we're doing. I fully realize that Cancer Bats isn't for everyone and that there are going to be people out there that hate what we're doing. I think of it in the same way that I don't love every band that's out there, even though that band might be huge. Just different tastes and I am fine to agree to disagree.
Musicscan: The style Cancer Bats is playing finds separation through aggression, passion and honesty. What is your attitude towards what you are doing musically and lyrically on “Dead Set On Living”?
Cancer Bats: I think those three words are a great way to describe what we do and strive for as a band. For us we just play the music that we love and that gets us excited and I try to write lyrics that are as honest and as personal as possible. I feel very lucky that we've been able to evolve and grow as band to this point where we can really make the record Scott and I have been trying to since we started 6 years ago.
Musicscan: As for your band: how important are compromises to Cancer Bats? Should they play a major role at all? To me it seems that you're not willing to take compromises into consideration at all...
Cancer Bats: When I think of any compromises we would make, it would be for any sort of commercial sacrifice or choice in order to "market" our band a certain way, which I would agree with you that No we don't make any compromises in terms of song writing or musical direction.
Even when it comes down to us working with other bands or brands, it is very important for all of us to agree as a band with that choice and to make sure that band or group represents us in the same way we would represent them. I feel like things like that are very important and you can lose control of those things quickly if you're not careful.
Musicscan: What are you looking for in a song in general? Have you ever achieved something like a “perfect” song in your opinion? How would you define such a perfect song for Cancer Bats?
Cancer Bats: I don't know if I'd say any Bats songs are perfect haha I think any artist will always look at what they could do better and improve themselves and their art. Its that hunger that keeps us wanting to create better songs and crush live shows. That being said there are so many Bats songs that I love and am very proud of.
Musicscan: What makes this new album “Dead Set On Living” special to you?
Cancer Bats: I really love this record because I feel like it really captures all of our progressions as a band. From our more party punk beginnings to the real grimey hardcore vibes of Hail Destroyer and the real heavy sludge dark side we explored on Bears. I feel like this record draws from all of those influences and pushes those ideas as hard as we can. I'm very proud of what we've done.
Musicscan: Last one: Would you agree to say Cancer Bats is still an underrated band over here in Europe? Any plans to change this situation? What are your plans for 2012 to change the situation for the better?
Cancer Bats: I don't know if I would say underrated, europe has been really awesome for us and shows keep getting better and better everytime we come back. That's always been our way of building things up is just touring as much as we can, playing hard at every show and making tons of amazing friends along the way. 2012 is going to be a crazy year for us with a huge EveryTime I Die tour in May followed by loads of european festivals. Just keep doing our thing and slowly growing the Bats army!