NEW JACOBIN CLUB
Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
That could be a book length story – the band started as a three piece in the 90’s. When the original drummer and I formed the band I remember we were listening to Nick Cave and the Misfits and wanted to do something like that, but with a more aggressive edge and provocative live show. Our first proper release came out on a small American label in the late 90’s. We became a 5 piece band (2 guitars, bass, drums, keyboard) in 2003 when our second album “Retake the Throne” came out, then in 2006 we got a lot of attention with “Wicked City.” It did really well on Canadian college radio and I remember for the first time walking into a record store in another city while we were on tour and seeing our album on the rack.
In 2008 we started working with the Angry Teeth Freakshow to add to the theatrical element of our live show. It was then that the current version of the band began – RatKing eventually moved to Saskatoon from Edmonton to become the other significant songwriting part of the group. We also gained Luminous and Poison Candi at that time. We were a ridiculous group of 10 or 11 people and we had a blast for a couple years doing some pretty wild stage shows.
With some members retiring after we were done promoting “This Treason” in 2011, we became the much more compact group of 6 we are today. Up until then I only played passable rhythm guitar and focused on singing and songwriting. I brushed up on my playing skills and became the only guitarist in the band, along with Ruin (bass), Candi (theremin & vocals), Luminous (electric cello), RatKing (drums) and our theatrical head Mistress Nagini who also plays some keyboard and contributed a lead vocal track on the new album. The scope of backgrounds and experience within the band is really amazing – Nagini is a professional dance instructor, Candi is an art teacher, Luminous is a classically trained musician – and we have the unique bond of childhood friends between our drummer (RatKing) and bassist (Ruin).
How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
When we started we were really into the classic 70’s/80’s deathrock and gothic punk, we also incorporated a bit of that classic Germanic thrash metal from the time. I was a huge Kreator fan in particular but in those days we still had a real hard time being accepted by either the punk community or the metalheads. It was like nobody got what we were doing. Killing Joke, Sisters of Mercy and Samhain as pretty important bands to us. If anything I’d say our own style lies somewhere between that riffy gothic post-punk sound and the dark and powerful sound of those early Samhain and Danzig records with a good deal of power-metal songwriting quirks. We do have an obsession with harmonized guitar leads and anthematic vocal parts.
Why should a metalheads buy your demos/albums?
Do you mean why buy it instead of download it for free? Because our cd’s are packaged with the finest artwork from the finest Canadian underground artists. Because our 2010 album comes with a bonus DVD with a complete concert featuring the Angry Teeth Freakshow. Because riffs, guitar harmonies, electric cello, contrasting male and female lead vocals are all delivered in an epic concept album form.
What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
“A Lesson in Mortality” ep (1999) and our self titled debut full length (2001) were pretty horror-punky, but “Retake the Throne” (2003) was when we started to really come into our own sound. The title track is probably still one of our best known songs around our regular stomping grounds in Western Canada. The album got airtime on CBC and even got us onto the national top 100 college radio chart at the end of the year.
“Wicked City” is what really changed everything for us in 2006. It was a massive riffy bulldozer sounding album that won over a lot of new fans without alienating our traditional deathrock sound. It was also the first album that we shot a promo video for – “Creeping Flesh.” Our love of early European death metal and power metal is really evident on this album. Critics loved it, we got a ton of great press reactions and support from it.
We followed that up with an ep of cover songs – “The Final Entertainment Show” (2008), and the double disc set “This Treason” in 2010 is where we really got big into the orchestral accompaniment. We even started to get fans of prog metal and symphonic metal starting to check us out. It did better on the independent radio stations than anything we ever did before. It was weird though, we got a lot of reviews for that album that were either mixed feelings or jabs at us for being a little too eclectic. Going from punky stuff to very deathy and even progressive stuff on the same record really bothered the critics. Haha…I guess it’s just not possible to write a metal album full of diversity and dynamics anymore. Pick a sound and stick with it was the message we got.
We put out the “Left Behind” ep in 2012 and now we are about to release “Soldiers of the Mark,” which will be our 5th full-length, but probably our 8th or 9th release overall.
Do you play live as well? How's your live activity so far?
We usually play our Western Canadian circuit a couple times a year as the seasons allow. We always put together a special theatrical stage show that is unique to the tour, or supports the theme and concept of our current album. In our live show you’ll see everything from exploding cymbals and fire breathing to tricks with hammers, torches, machetes and swords. There were times when it felt more like a touring theatre group than a touring rock band, and we’d need a few months to recover from the amount of work it was to go on the road and do even a handful of shows. Sometimes there would even be a few injuries that needed to heal.
What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
Well, they should know that we’ve been doing this quietly and successfully for over 15 years. We’ve seen bigger bands come and go, rise and fall, and we’re still here. We are a self-sufficient group of artists who do better than many of our contemporaries who are still hanging on to the dream that their record label will pave their way to stardom and financial security. The music industry has changed, and for us it’s been for the better. We are old pros at running things ourselves, and we take the smallest of opportunities and mold them into huge things. We were awarded a Creative Arts Council Grant last year by the government of our province and instead of using it to save our band and label money, we used it to augment the plan we already had for our next album.
We also put on one damn fine live show – we’ve got fans that will drive a few hours to see us play in another city.
What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
We will be promoting our new album around Western Canada starting September and possibly venture into Central Canada during the Halloween season. We’ve been developing and tweaking our new live show that follows with some of the storyline of “Soldiers of The Mark” – you’ll see the disturbing ritual that summons the great horned, winged and tentacled Beast of The Sea.
Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
You can get 3 free songs by visiting our music giveaway page at www.newjacobinclubmusic.com! It’ll also give you access to personal blog articles by myself and Mistress Nagini. You can purchase our last 2 releases at most of the usual places, but directly from us you’ll get more bang for your buck and a better selection as some of our older stuff is not available on iTunes or distributed anywhere else: www.newjacobinclub.com/webstore