XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Rik: Hi there! We’ve literally just put our new 7 Track EP out called Asleep. It’s available on all Streaming sites or you can download and buy a sexy Digipak from our Bandcamp page. It’s six months of hard work we’ve been building towards with band. We recorded it pretty quickly with the bulk of the recording being over two days. It was produced by renowned producer Jason Sanderson who has worked with bands such as Rolo Tomassi, Brontide, Bodyhound, The Plight, etc.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?.
Rik: We haven’t been together too long, roughly about 2 years. A lot of that time was spent trying to get a sound was happy with as this band was formed from the ashes of our previous band which was more hard-core punk metal. With this band, we wanted to do something different from what we had done in the past. That’s why we bought a synth and learned how to integrate that into our sound. We want to keep it fresh and be more dynamic. We’re not a metal band but we can be louder and noisy than one at times.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
We’ve all been in bands for years, all of our adults lives really. We’ve been in touring bands and have put out lots of releases of labels between us. It’s all we know really. It’s the best cathartic experience you can get really. With Toronto Blessings, we want to keep it fun and interesting.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Rik: My music background is from getting into bands in my late teens really and never stopping. I’ve not really sat down and worked on techniques, I’ve learned along the way. You can be the best bedroom guitar player, but stick one in a band or live and it’s completely different. It’s stagecraft too that you have to learn by earning your stripes live.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Rik: I think that it’s music that is honest. We’re writing about the current state that we find ourselves in, with it being political or personal.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
We just want to be heard really. It would be great to get on some tours and keep building our name up. We’ve done this band completely DIY, Where’s in the past the label we were on dealt with everything. We also want to keep it fun and interesting, or what’s the point.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
I honestly love it all. I like building the song from the practice room and then hearing back once recorded. Also, live we’re really in our element we’re loud and in your face. We push the songs on to another level love really.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Rik: My lyrics cover a broadish section, I try and let the song write itself. Most of my songs are about being blinded by the society we’re in or very personal ones. The song ‘UvU’ is a documentation of one of the worst times of anxiety and depression I was feeling. I was scared of people hearing this song as I laid out what I was going through. A lot of people didn’t even realize. I’ve had so many people come up to me after we released that song as a single thanking me for speaking out and saying they felt the same and had never told anyone.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Just try and not follow any trends, write music that you want to hear. If you spend your time trying to sound like certain bands you’ll be left behind.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Haha. Not really with this band. In the past, it’s just the usual drunken debauchery.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
We’ve yet to receive a strange request but we encourage it, so let us know.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Rik: Yes they are and it really helps. I am sure I annoy the wife banging on about the band all the time. But she knows how much it means to me and totally supports it. I have my Mum and Dad to thank for buying me my first bass, I am sure they thought it was just a phase!
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Just have fun really. It can be a soul-draining experience but it also can be the best time of your life. Don’t be a dick too, you can make some of your best friends touring and meeting new people. Enjoy every minute of it.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
My favorite song at the moment to play live is a brand new one that we haven’t recorded yet (Teeth&Nails). It’s fast and noisy and is towards the end of the set so it really peaks up the intensity. A lot of our songs are quite mid-paced and this one comes out of the blocks fast with no letup! I can’t wait to record it.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Going back to being a young lad it would have been Guns n’ Roses. My mum bought me an Appetite for destruction when it first came out and it blew my mind and changed everything for me. I guess bands like Nirvana and Sick of it All made me realize that you didn’t have to be a virtuoso to write amazing songs. It made the thought of being in a band, not just a dream. These days it’s bands like Metz, Daughters, Idles who really put on an amazing live show that inspires us.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Ooh. Let’s see. I’d say Daughters, METZ, Tove Lo and us obviously.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
I reckon just doing all of this DIY. We’ve all been in bands that were on labels and got a leg up. This band we’ve done it all ourselves, from the releases to artwork, etc. We’ve been playing a few times on BBC6 and BBC Sheffield has played us loads of times which is amazing!
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Haha. I am doing it now, Rock n Roll don’t pay the bills these days, unfortunately. We all have day jobs and I don’t know too many bands who can afford not to work.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
It’s all pretty straight forward really. We’re a three-piece so it’s nice and easy. We have guitar, bass, drums, and synth. All cranked up nice and loud.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
It depends on which scene, but I think music, in general, is quite healthy. The post-punk scene, in particular, is booming.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Rik: I don’t like Jam. I never have.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Rik: Yes please check out our EP Asleep! If you like Noise Rock, Post Punk, Alt. Rock there’s something in there for everyone! It’s hooky and to the point so check it out!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!