With ex-members of Despised Icon, Blind Witness and Darkness Rites in their ranks, Canadian metalcore lads Obey The Brave have a wealth of experience under their belt and are firing on all cylinders with the release of their scorching debut album `Young Blood’. Taking some time out from a tour of their homeland, bassist Miguel Lepage recently caught up with Killyourstereo for a chat about all things hardcore, signing to Epitaph and the fucked up things they see on tour.
Can we start with your name and role in Obey the Brave?
My name is Miguel Lepage and I slap the bass in Obey the Brave.
Can you step us through how Obey the Brave got started?
John Campbell and I used to play in Blind Witness. We quit the band at the same time and asked Alex Erian – whose band was ending up at the same time as well back then – if he wanted to start a new band. Everyone was on the same page and we felt like this would be a good, fresh start to something new. Later on, we’ve added Stevie Morotti and Greg Wood, who used to play in a band called Darkness Rites. John and I also played with their band multiple times.
You dropped your debut album `Young Blood’ fairly recently. What’s the reception to the album been like?
So far so good. We’ve had a lot of good comments on it, some good reviews, so it feels great to have such an overwhelming reception. We’ve worked really hard to make this happen and we’re glad "Young Blood" has seen the light of day!
Is there a deeper meaning behind the name of the record? Or does it just sound cool?
You only have one life to live, so you have to do what you like. For us, it’s about playing music and travelling the world, meeting new people and also seeing familiar faces everywhere we go. "Young Blood" says it all.
With songs like `Self Made’ and `Live and Learn’, it seems you guys like mixing brutal heaviness with a positive message. Would this be accurate?
Definitely. Those songs talk about getting through the everyday bullshit and having a positive outlook on life. There’s so much negative stuff in this world right now. We just want to have a good time and it reflects in the lyrics on this record.
Having ex-members of Despised Icon and Blind Witness in your ranks, did you feel pressure to write in a way that would keep fans of these bands happy? Or do you simply do your own thing and not worry what others think?
When we started this band, we didn’t really know which direction we were going. Blind Witness and Despised Icon were totally different bands than the style we’re doing right now. When we started writing, we just told ourselves that we’d do music everyone would like and have everyone’s influences in it. In this band, we listen to everything from Smashing Pumpkins to Pantera to Alice In Chains.
`Lifestyle’ contains the lyrics, `not trying to reinvent the wheel – we keep it simple, we keep it real’. This sentiment seems to convey pretty well what you guys are all about. This being said, do you think other bands these days try to cram too many ideas into their music?
Of course. Nowadays it’s hard to create something new, and when you do, the critics are strong and you get a certain reaction. Doing this band, we knew we weren’t making something new, but we knew we were doing it the right way!
Did you play in hardcore bands growing up? If so, at what point did you decide to play music for a living?
I started playing in bands when I was 15-years-old and I remember this being the best time of my life. I was sitting in class all day, so fucking bored, and I was only looking forward to band practice that night! Since then, I knew this would be a big part of my life.
What advice would you offer young, upcoming hardcore bands?
Keep following your dreams, put a lot of effort in what you’re doing and never give up, even if you have people against what you’re doing. Eventually, you’ll see results, and dreams will come true.
How important was signing to Epitaph? You’ve mentioned they’ve been quite supportive of what you do. How so?
We’ve been listening to Epitaph bands since high school – The Offspring, Rancid, Pennywise, etc. – so signing to the label was a dream come true for us. We couldn’t be happier about how they’re treating us. Epitaph has one of the finest staff around and they’re really close to their bands.
You’re touring around Canada at the moment. When you’re done playing your home country, is there any chance you’ll nick over to Australia?
We want to go to Australia as soon as possible and anywhere else in the world! Right after this tour, we’re heading over to Europe and we just can’t wait. This is going to be an unbelievable run and we’re stoked to meet new friends!
You guys obviously spend a lot of time on the road. So what do you do for fun in your downtime when you’re not playing shows?
I personally work in a tattoo shop back at home, so I spend all of my time off there. I also try to catch up with my friends and spend as much time as I can with my little dog and my awesome girlfriend.
Are there any bands kicking around at the moment that you’d be keen to collaborate with in the future?
We were fortunate enough to have Keith from Ligeia, Kevin from Ion Dissonance and Liam from the Cancer Bats sing on our record. For the next record we would obviously want Phil Anselmo (Down/Pantera) to come do guest vocals on it. Like I said, dreams could come true!
Are there any bands out of Montreal or Ottawa you’re really digging that you think we should check out?
There’re plenty of good bands from the MTL and OTTAWA area. I think you should check out Harriers, Beheading Of A King, End Of Crisis. Those are some great bands from where we’re from and they’re all sweet dudes!
I’ve read you guys notched up 14,000 Facebook fans before even releasing a single song. This being said, do you think bands these days need to be both good musicians and in touch with social media? Do you ever feel like you’re sharing too much on social media?
We try to do as much as we can on our social networks. We have Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. We’re in 2012 now, and being connected to your fans and keeping them updated is a big part of what makes your band nowadays. We try to reply to everyone and let them know that they’re important for us. Without fans, we’re nothing! So thank you!
Just to mix things up and for something a little less serious, what are your top five most crazy/fucked up things you’ve seen on tour?
We don’t really have a top five… but man … we’ve played fucked up places that were over 110 degrees by the end of the show… we were literally cooking on stage. We’ve seen tons of car accidents on the road and weird people around venues. Going on tour is a dangerous lifestyle. Watch out kids!
Top five favourite party tunes?
Pantera – `Strength Beyond Strength’
Andrew WK – `Party Hard’
Black Flag – `TV Party’
Sak Noel – `Loca People (What The Fuck?)’
Carly Rae Jepsen – Any song
Any parting words of advice for KYS?
Never give up, never give in. Dedication lies within. Don’t wait another day. Follow me and I’ll guide the way!