Interview with The New Outcasts!

I like to do ice breaker questions first off… mine to you is: How many farts would it take to power a light bulb?
Well I guess if you factor in the atomic weight of the gas and divide that by the air pressure surrounding the bulb (taking into account the wattage of the light and the stink factor of the fart)… Just ball-parking it here… 13,428. Give or take one or two… Of course if it’s Brian doing the farting, just one would be enough to power most of the GTA…

Tell me how you guys met and formed, but make it romantic.
We came together in September/October of 2012. Toogood (lead guitarist) and I were in a band together previously, but when that all fell apart we started up our own project, initially as just a punk cover song band, but after we started jamming with Brendan (drummer) and Brian (bassist) we decided to write some original songs and play those. Mainly because we had run out of cover songs that we all knew! We are just four guys who liked straight forward punk rock music and love to have some fun playing it together and sharing it with anyone who will listen. It was one of those starts where no one was sure how it would turn out. Hell, we didn’t even know each other! But in the end it’s really been great for all of us.

How’d you come up with the name?
We all came from a lot of different bands; some good, some not. We liked the name The Outcasts because we felt it fit our personalities and described where our band came from. Also, we thought it was just a cool sounding name… A little too cool maybe, as it had already been used by a late 70’s Irish punk band from Belfast. We decided to put a little spin on it and go with The New Outcasts. After contacting the guys in The Outcasts (Ireland) to make sure they were cool with us using this name (they are really cool guys by the way, check them out) we were 100% sold on it and have been Outcasts ever since!

Would you consider yourselves outcasts in real life?
I know I (James) consider myself one. I’ve never quite fit in with the greater group in the classic sense, but I mean, we all have friends and families. We have all been kicked out of previous bands, so it just sort of fit. Everyone is an outcast at one point or another in their lives, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Outcasts have been responsible for a pile of great things in the world and we just hope we can continue that legacy. I think we are all pretty proud to wear the title of Outcast.

Say Beethoven’s ghost started haunting your band because he really wanted to know what you sounded like but couldn’t tell from the vibrations… how would you describe yourselves in order to get him to fuck off?
It’s tough now with all the different subgenres floating around out there. I’ve always said we play punk rock, plain and simple. Our influences span across many sub genres of punk, and our sound draws on a lot of those. So we may have some songs that are more “pop-punk” and some that might be more “hardcore-punk”, but generally we just say we play punk rock. If you wanted to do the “band hybrid” model, we are like Bad Religion crossed with Teenage Bottlerocket/The Ramones. Maybe toss in some Bouncing Souls for good measure and that sums it up. We have a lot of influences, and we try not to pigeon hole ourselves too much.

Who the fuck is Toogood, and how’d you get in his basement to record your album?
What a great name eh? If only we could all be so lucky. Jeff Toogood is our esteemed lead guitarist. One of his many jobs is owner/operator of his own photo studio out in St Thomas Ontario. This studio has the creepiest basement you could imagine. Dark, dingy, dank, and all sorts of other D words associated with basements. Namely, a perfect place to record some punk rock demos!!

I thought punks didn’t want to go down in the basement?
Well you know, we’d heard Teenage Bottlerocket sing about it, but we never really paid it any mind. It was fine being down there with the band doing the recording, but you know, wouldn’t want to be locked down there in a thunderstorm at night during a power outage or anything like that…

How’d that process go?
We were just recording of our demo tracks, so the process was fairly straight forward. We all set up, and just did live takes right off the floor. We had considered doing some extra work to pretty it up, but then decided we’d be better to save our energy for the final recordings. We were able to get the songs done up and ready in just a few days, and if you listen to the quality of the recording, it’s really a testament to Jeff’s engineering ability more than anything. He made a rough jam session sound great.

Is Toogood realllly too good at recording?
I (James) use his name all the time to rib him, but he really does come by the name honestly. Jeff is sort of the strong silent type and he really has a knack for engineering our stuff, and getting the best performance out of the rest of us. And man, can he play guitar… It would have almost been a fitting name for the whole band, as I’ve never worked with a better bunch of guys. Brian is great to have around and Brendan is a phenomenal drummer. The recordings we’ve done so far for the new album have been sounding great. We’re currently done tracking the guitars and drums. Just bass and vocals to go now!

When can we expect some new music?
We are in the studio this month (May) to record our first full length album. It’ll be called “The New Outcasts - Go Smash Now…” and it’ll be ten tracks in length (about half an hour playing time). We are really lucky and feel very privileged to work with Producer/Engineer Simon Larochette at The Sugar Shack here in London. He just won a Jack Richardson Music Award for top engineer in town here, so basically if the album goes to shit we can’t blame him for it! He’s a great guy and we really enjoy working with him. We expect to have the new album released fully by the end of the summer (mid-August 2013), but I’d expect to see a couple singles come out before then. We’re currently running a crowd funding campaign on if anyone would like to contribute and help us out. Just search for The New Outcasts and you’ll find our page on there.

What are some good London punk bands that we Torontonifucks should check out?
Well currently, I’ve (James) been listening to Wasted Potential’s demos, which are great. Especially, “Here’s Your Exit Letter” which is a really great tune. They’ve been to Toronto a couple times and I think they’re playing your birthday party show! It’s too bad we can’t get down for it, but a Happy Birthday from us to you; it’ll be a great party! I’ve also been listening to Capt. Bringdown’s new LP that’s out. It’s a really fun record to listen to, especially when I go out skateboarding. Another song that’s been on my playlist a lot lately is Castles In The Air new tune “Zach Braff Mania Sweeps Over Zach Braff”. The title is a mouthful, but they have a really cool sound. In fact, we’ve played with and seen so many great local bands over the past few months that it gets hard to keep them all straight!

When’s your next show?
We have a couple shows coming up in London. One is on May 17th at The Blackshire Pub with our friends The Offensive Senses. They are playing their first show and we were really happy they asked us to be a part of it; they’re a great pop punk band. At that show will also be Mining the Sun and Dalliers. We also have another show coming up in London on June 2nd at APK Live with Castles In The Air. It’s a benefit show for Relay for Life and should be a fun time. We generally try to play shows with bands that have a similar sound, but sometimes it’s nice to have some variety at these shows. We’re currently working on booking some out of town shows.

Coming to Toronto any time soon?
We certainly hope so!!! We’ve been talking with The Bovine to try and set up a show there, but so far we don’t have anything firm in the GTA. We were recently in Oshawa, and had a blast playing with our pals Mad Murdocks, but we’d really love to get into downtown Toronto and have some fun. Any updates we have on shows, or any other band news, you can find on our page, or you can just follow us on Twitter ( @NewOutcasts ) or Facebook

What do you have planned for this summer?
Well we’ve got this album that we will be finishing up and releasing. Besides that, we are just going to play as many shows as we can, enjoy some nice weather and try to get our music into as many people’s ears as possible! You know that task is made a lot easier for us by folks like you Sarah, who help support local music scenes, and punk in particular. So thank you for that, and thanks for giving us your time for this interview! Maybe we’ll see you this summer! Everyone remember to keep checking back for more show dates!!! We want all of us to be Outcasts together!!!