Interview | Career Suicide
Conducted by Joe Hastings of Hong Kong post-hardcore band Weeper
Obligatory first question: We understand you all made some sacrifices specifically to make this show happen but its an unusual location for a band to single out on an Asia Tour. Why Hong Kong?
Martin: I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a bit of time in Hong Kong over the last few years and it’s one of my favourite cities in the world. There was no way Career Suicide was going to do an Asian tour without at least a stop in HK to stuff our faces!
Jonah: There is a special kind of privilege which comes with being in a band that gets to tour internationally, so prioritizing one place over another can be a difficult thing to do. Considering the amount of playing outside of our hometown we get to do these days (not very much) sending ourselves to places very far afield get a lot of attention. As well, going to really urbane places lends itself perfectly to the kind of unassuming, in-the-cracks kind of vibe of where the band exists as is.
Jonah, you came to HK a few years back with Fucked Up. What did you make of it?
Jonah: My trip to HK with Fucked Up was one of the biggest highlights of my experience travelling in a band. There are few places in which layers upon layers of history, economics, trade, and culture get so wrecklessly smashed together. Istanbul was another one, but I just really enjoyed the entire pace and feeling of being in HK. From our initial stay in Kwun Tong, playing in Hidden Agenda, meeting great people, and then posting up in Causeway Bay and exploring the city with all of our senses and seeing things as tourists and gawkers .it was a great experience.
Touring S.E. Asia usually ends up with a shitloads of flights. How has this impacted your ability to play the shows you wanted to? Also, where do you stand on plane food?
Martin: This was logistically an extremely complicated tour the thought of catching flights every morning and hoping to make it in time to play a show, find a place to crash and then hunt down the next airport was pretty daunting. For this reason we had to simplify the Asian tour a bit and shorten it to 5 dates in 4 countries. The plan is to come back in a year and spend some more time in SE Asia and Australia. As for plane food, I was traveling around Asia a bit a few years ago and most of my flights were with Asiana out of Korea and I have never eaten better on a plane you can not argue with complimentary tubes hot sauce with every dish.
Jonah: I credit Martin with handling ALL the potential and continuing headaches of the logistics on this tour. he solely shouldered the load for this mania, and seemed to do it rather effortlessly as well. We all know what touring internationally means long flights and long regional drives. Basing this tour on a flight schedule hindered some aspects of this trip but expanded its reach at the same time.
Airline food best to worst:
How about the rest of the tour: any stops you are particularly looking forward to for any reason?
Jonah: I have never been to Korea, so I am particularly looking forward to being in Seoul. But to be honest, i’m incredibly excited at all the dates in East Asia. It’s a world apart from where we live, and it’s so luxurious to be able to immerse yourself in a place via performing etc.
Martin: We’re really looking forward to seeing what the crowds are like for Career Suicide outside of Japan. We’ve done 2 tours throughout Japan already, but never had a chance to play anywhere else. We’ve got a decent amount of time off in Shanghai and Seoul, so we look forward to eating ourselves silly in both cities.
You have a new album in the works. The first in 10 years no less! Why a new full length and can we expect any new directions for CS on this, or more pure old school hardcore? (Listening to the new track Cut and Run we suspect the later). Will it be ready for the tour?
Jonah: I wouldn’t say that we’ve tried to steet to clear from our tried teted and true sound, but it was written with the notion that it had to be good enough to be “new.” That is to say, there isn’t really a revolutionary or status related reason that a new CS record should exists, hell there are so many CS songs as there is, the thought of 11 more seems baffling so there was a lot resting on the shoulders of whether or not this record would wash. I think it does, it sees what we’ve done and puts it in to the context of the way punk music works and sounds in 2016, and the way we want to sound in 2016.
Martin: The recording is complete and we rushed it to have copies in time for the tour, however with the worldwide demand for records being what it is, the pressing plants are pretty overwhelmed. We’ve called in every favour and worked every connection that we have, but we’re still not sure if we’ll have copies in time. It’s going to be a classic-Career Suicide by the skin of our teeth sort of thing if we can pull it off. The records may actually meet us in Asia somewhere.
Any running theme through the record, or particular issues you are addressing 10 years down the line that might not have been on the radar circa 2004/5?
Martin: There was not a specific theme for me, more an over-arching desire to complete a new album. This record has been brewing with me since we put out our last LP (Attempted Suicide), I was just waiting for the day that Jonah would deliver the news that he’d written some new riffs and I could get cracking on lyrics. It was a really daunting task to be honest. We had set the bar really high with Attempted Suicide and to follow that up was no easy task, but I think we’ve pulled it off. Our new album is certainly a characteristically Career Suicide record, but I think listeners will immediately notice some musical evolutions.
The new Canadian Prime Minister seems to actually be a reasonable thinker and man-pretty to boot. Does this jeopardise Canadian Punk Rock?
Martin: It will be years before Canada recovers from the dark ages/Reaganomics-era of our former prime minister, so I’m not too worried for any shortage of political frustration to come.
Jonah: Even if we have a good or reasonable leader it doesn’t erase people’s problems and doesn’t stop people form being marginalized, discriminated against, vilified, or unfairly targeted. Punk rock isn’t the only protest music either, so people will find more and more creative ways to dissent no matter the context.
Why 82 Hardcore in 2016? Its rare to find bands steadily releasing such consistent purist punk for such a long time. What keeps the fire alive?
Jonah: It’s not ’82 Hardcore, it’s 2016 HC that’s the only reason to write a new record.
Martin: Career Suicide has always been a vehicle for us to write the music that we most want to hear. I think there’s a healthy dose of influences in Career Suicide’s music as far reaching as the 50’s/60’s, however we’ve chosen to cap our evolution in the early 80’s, which essentially encompasses 75% of the music I care to listen to. Being narrow-minded and puritanical somehow works in the instance of making music, I guess.
Pure personal curiosity here, but will you be covering Angry Samoans?
Jonah: I have to say that the ONLY cover we might have ever become sick of is that Samoans tune. To borrow a turn of phrase, we ate ice cream every day and lost. Bless the Samoans though.
Martin: It’s been a while, but maybe we can dig up an old VOM cover Electrocute Your Cock?