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Always Outnumbered

Interview von: Eric FlexYourHead mit Matt/ Sean, am: 01.01.2001 ]

First of all - it's not easy being a young band from Canada. Given the distances separating scenes in Canada it's tough enough succeeding at home, nevermind abroad. Always Outnumbered are from Burlington, Ontario and they're busy turning heads at home and across the Atlantic. Now that they're hooked up with Berlin's Two Friends Records kids in Europe and Canada will have a chance to check out this "emo-core" powerhouse.


Musicscan:Just to get things started... the obligatory "who, what, when, and where".

Always Outnumbered:Ian: Matt Richmond - vocals, Tristan Britt - guitar/vocals, Greg Fisher - guitar, Sean Palmer - bass, Ian Blackwood - drums/vocals. "Emo/rock" band established in March of 1998 in our home town; Burlington, Ontario Canada.

Musicscan: Matt: Tristan, Greg, and myself had been the best of friends for about five years, then we met Ian and Sean through our local scene and their former bands. We knew what each other could do, so we all got together and really meshed well.

Always Outnumbered: Always Outnumbered are from Ontario. It's probably safe to say most kids in the US, and around the world for that matter, probably don't realize or understand the distances separating the scenes in Canada. Do you think these distances hinder your development as a band? Are there any plans to tour across Canada?

Musicscan: Ian: Well, as we speak three of our members remain in school for this year, and I believe one more semester next year, so touring is very minimal. We're trying to book our European tour for this summer so hopefully that will work out. We'd love to go overseas and just rock out. We're also planning to go across Canada, but Europe is our main goal as of now.

Always Outnumbered: Matt: Well... here in Burlington a lot of the bands are very tight so we've got a lot of great things going in the Burlington scene. As for other scenes, the only real exposure we have is the internet. We've received tons of emails from all over the country, but haven't had a chance to really get out. We've played Ottawa, Montreal, and a few smaller cities but with a very tiny response. The distances don't help, but I think that's just part of being in a band, you've gotta' just get your ass out there and play as many shows as you can no matter how shitty they are.

Musicscan: Another important issue to any Canadian band is heading south of the border to play. Difficult doesn't even come close to summing up what goes on every time a Canadian band tries to cross the border. Do you have any experiences, positive or negative, you'd like to share with us?

Always Outnumbered: Ian: What can I say? The American border is probably one of the worst experiences Always Outnumbered has ever had. We've played in the States an odd number of times, but we've never toured there. We've been pulled over and searched a few times, and one time it took us about five hours to get over the border. It was insane. Shout outs to the boys from Ypsilanti, Michigan and DropJaw.

Musicscan: Matt: We've got some friends in Michigan in a band called DropJaw. We've gone down twice by ourselves and once with Jersey. The first time we went to the border three times and finally realized that we had to lie our asses off to get across. It's really a pain in the ass, but we got there and ended up having the crowd chanting "Fuck the border!". That was a fun trip. We try to go back every once in a while. We love partying with our American buddies. It's worth the hassle once you get there, but we're sweatin' it every time.

Always Outnumbered: Does "Canadian Content" mean anything to you? Do you think the Canadian government's rules for Canadian content in broadcasting are enough to help Canadian artists, like yourselves, develop and grow?

Musicscan: Ian: That's funny that you mention that because I got a letter the other day from the government of Canada asking for a CD to place in the music history library of Canada in Ottawa. It's a library that holds all new and old recordings of Canadian bands, so they have basically a history of bands that have done their part, I guess. That's the only thing I've ever received from the government so I can't say honestly if they've helped us or not. Maybe in the future?

Always Outnumbered: How does a band from Burlington, Ontario hook up with a label based in Berlin, Germany (Two Friends Records)?

Musicscan: Ian: Grade passed on a tape of ours (an older demo) and Two Friends Records loved it. So, we recorded two songs that were more up-to-date, so to speak, and we sent it away. A couple compilations and a full-length CD later, here we are with Two Friends being nothing but cool guys. We'll be ready to release another emo/rock album come 2001, so keep your eyes open.

Always Outnumbered: Matt: We've actually never met anyone at Two Friends... just talked to them over the phone and email. We're hoping to head over to Europe this coming July. We owe those guys a lot. Grade, as well as Jersey, have been great to us and we're eternally grateful.

Musicscan: Of course, being on a European label is great to be heard in Europe, perhaps not the easiest way though for a kid from the Canadian prairies or American mid-west to hear your band. Are there any plans for a North American release of Until Tomorrow?

Always Outnumbered: Ian: Distribution is so hard to find. I'm not too sure but I think a lot of labels reject us because some of the members are still in school, so it's harder to tour for releases and stuff. It's hard to back up your CD on the road because you have to be in school. But I think, and I know the guys think, that school is important. Sean got his schooling and so did I, so I think it's important that Greg, Matt, and Tristan get it too. Besides we're still really young so even if we have to wait a year or two we're having a blast playing local shows and out of town shows anyway. Touring will come when it's time. And you can expect to see a lot of us when school is out of the question.

Musicscan: Matt: We've been trying to talk to North American labels and have sent our CD to a ton of labels as well. As for right now we've got nothing, but hopefully someone will like what they hear and help us with some North American distro.

Always Outnumbered: Listening to Until Tomorrow you can hear a pretty strong Grade influence... would that be a regional thing, or have they been an influence for Always Outnumbered? What inspires you, musically and lyrically?

Musicscan: Ian: Until Tomorrow definitely has a Grade influence. I think as far as emo/core bands go, Grade is the only band that we can agree on as a band. I'm pretty sure they're one of Matt's favourite bands and if you look at any of our CD racks you're bound to find more then one Grade CD. Everyone in Always Outnumbered listens to them, so that's why our sound reflects that of a Grade sound. We just like the sound of Grade. Musically, and just as people, Grade are awesome. They've helped us out from the beginning. The same goes for Jersey. Their positive attitudes on music and life have helped us as a band. I've never been in a bad mood at a Jersey show, and if I was, right when they'd start playing, I'd smile and have a blast for their whole set.

Always Outnumbered: Matt: The Grade influence is definitely not a regional thing. We're just lucky to be able to be close to them. They are (to me) probably the biggest influence. I mean, I'm actually listening to them right now! They are great guys and a great band. Kyle Bishop actually sings on about four or five tracks on the album. And now we're buying their van off of them. Other than them though, musically we listen to everything from Grade, Hot Water Music, and Jimmy Eat World, to Metallica and Wu-Tang and Slick Rick. We're really open about that. Lyrically, it's mostly just about life experiences, with girls, and about growing up.

Musicscan: What sort of response have you had to Always Outnumbered? To Until Tomorrow?

Always Outnumbered: Ian: Locally, the fans have been pretty loyal to Always Outnumbered. I've seen some kids stick it out until the bitter end of the show, where it's 11:30 pm and we still haven't gone on. Lately we've been playing last at shows. I don't know why, but it hasn't been that bad at all. We went on the road in the summer with Ruins (a ska/hip-hop band from the 905) and we had a blast. As far as fan basis goes, I don't think we built up a huge base in each town, but I think we got out to some people and hopefully it was enough to start a small base of fans. We've been invited back to all the places we've played so that's a good sign I'd say. I've never had so much fun with a band. Ruins were just downright awesome guys to play, drink, and hang with. So far the album, Until Tomorrow, has had great reviews in European 'zines and different websites, so I'd say it's going well. We've had email asking for copies (of the CD), so we were pretty stoked when we were informed that it was available online at [http://www.interpunk.com/]. Now people all over the world can get it online.

Musicscan: Matt: Again, we haven't had much of a chance to really get out there and see, but locally people seem to like it, and we're told it's doing very well in Europe. We just hope for the best!

Always Outnumbered: Any bands, old or new, from your area you think kids should know about?

Musicscan: Ian: Well... I just hope the kids in the 905 scene realize how strong this scene is and that it's important to support new coming acts, always give people a chance. So many good bands have come and gone from Burlington. To name a few: Gym Class Joke, No Connection (Raw Energy Records), Trunk (Raw Energy Records). Then there are the bands that are still going like Jersey, Grade, and the Pettit Project. So many styles of music, but they all have Burlington roots.

Always Outnumbered: Matt: Wow, I could probably go on forever. If anyone hasn't heard Grade or Jersey yet, they don't know what they're missing. Finger 11 is from Burlington as well. Two amazing old bands people could find on mp3.com are Gym Class Joke, and Outspan. Big influences and great bands. We've got lots of great new bands too. Ones to check out: Ruins, the Pettit Project, the Fullblast, Two-Face, Moneen, Chapter One, Lucky Number Seven, and about a billion more. Check out [ http://twoface.net/bbp/ ] to view a list of all the local bands.

Musicscan: Sounds like you've got a "hardcore" background... would you consider Always Outnumbered a "hardcore" band?

Always Outnumbered: Ian: Actually, I think we're more of a punk rock band than a hardcore band. All of us were in punk rock bands prior to Always Outnumbered. Some of us more than others listen to a little hardcore, but punk rock is definitely the music that inspired us in the beginning. If you listen to our old demo tapes you'll notice the progression. We started as a pop/punk band and now I'd say we fall in more of an emo/rock genre.

Musicscan: Is the hardcore scene something important to you as a band or individuals?

Always Outnumbered: Ian: Definitely. Oakville, a town down the road from us, has a huge hardcore scene. I've been to a hardcore festival at this place called the Pine Room, where big acts like Walls of Jericho have played, and the always amazing live band the End. The kids have nothing but a good time at those shows, and I think that's definitely a good thing.

Musicscan: Matt: The hardcore, along with punk and emo scenes, are important to us as we want to be able to keep playing as long as we can. It's more important as a band I would say than individually. We're not really attending shows that often unless it's a bigger band or someone we haven't seen in a long time or are friends with.

Always Outnumbered: One of the incredible things about Always Outnumbered is your age... you're all really quite young. How long has the band been together, and how long have you all been playing? Has anyone been in other bands prior to Always Outnumbered?

Musicscan: Ian: The band has been together for roughly two and a half years. So we've progressed pretty fast I'd say. Some members in the band have been doing this longer then others, but we've all been a part of the scene for quite a while now. Greg, Matt, and Tristan were in a punk rock band before Always Outnumbered. Same for Sean and I, but we all ended up together and now here we are. It's been quite an experience.

Always Outnumbered: Matt: Well... Tristan, Greg, and I are 17. We've all been playing for about five years now. Ian is 18, and Sean is 19. They've been playing around the same amount of time. We've officially been Always Outnumbered since March of 1999. Before that Sean played in a band with the rip-off name, Catch-22. Ian played guitar and sang in Otherwise Known As. Greg, Tristan and I were in a bad punk band called the Urinal Mints.

Musicscan: Have your ages ever been a hindrance?

Always Outnumbered: Ian: Not really, I mean we're all old enough to drive and even when we couldn't we had my sister, Sarah, to drive us everywhere. She actually was, and is, part of this band. I think she worked just as hard as we do when she was home. Now some of us are creeping up on the drinking age, or have passed it, so our age hasn't been a big issue. Just maybe to labels??

Musicscan: Matt: You mean, a pain in the ass? Not really. The only real problem is we can't play shows that are 19 and over. Four of us can't even buy beer yet, but that's what Sean's for.

Always Outnumbered: Future plans for Always Outnumbered?

Musicscan: Ian: Future for Always Outnumbered... become a full-time band, tour, and work our bodies to the very end.

Always Outnumbered: Matt: More writing, touring, more albums, and hopefully the complete takeover of the entire world.

Musicscan: Anything else you'd like to add? Final words?

Always Outnumbered: Ian: Never forget where you're from, and don't be afraid of hard work because you've got yourself and you can do anything as long as you believe. Shout outs to Greg Taylor, Sean McNabb, Johnny, and Kevin. Kyle, and the rest of Grade. Two Friends. Also, anyone... be it fan, person or friend who is and always has been behind us, thanks. Sarah - you're the best sister I could ask for. I love you and I miss you. See you soon.

Musicscan: Matt: Thanks a lot for the interview. Check out our website and pick up Until Tomorrow...

  Always Outnumbered Online
  Two Friends Recordings
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