Protest The Hero

Following a huge 2013, this year is shaping up to be just as significant for Canada’s Protest The Hero, with line-up changes, a win at the Juno Awards and non-stop touring. The band is headed back to Australia in September, and caught up with lead singer Rody Walker to discuss the tour, side projects, and Dennis Quaid movies.

You’re coming back to Australia soon. What are you looking forward to doing while you’re here?

I don’t know, I’d like to say trying surfing for the first time or something. I don’t really know how the seasons go in Australia, I think they’re like the exact opposite of North American. But I mean, it couldn’t be worse than Canada, right?

Yeah, it will be getting into spring when you’re here so it won’t be too bad. A while ago I saw you guys post something about your rider in which you request movies starring Dennis Quaid. Which one’s your favourite?

Probably The Day After Tomorrow, if not maybe Flight of the Phoenix, or the baseball one… I think it’s called The Rookie. There’s a scene in that that just kills me, it’s so funny. I mean, Dennis Quaid is the best worst actor on planet earth.

What about The Parent Trap?

I mean, that’s a good one, for sure. Wait, is that the one with Lindsay Lohan, and Lindsay Lohan?

Yeah, two Lindsay Lohans.

Double Lindsay Lohans – that alone is enough to warrant a serious affection for that movie. You throw a Quaid in there, it’s amazing.

Yeah, exactly. So which ones have you actually received?

We’ve got all the ones we’ve talked about, including The Parent Trap. Somewhere in Europe, I think it was in Switzerland, some guy gave us a USB stick with like four movies on it – all Dennis Quaid of course. There’s one called Horses or something like that that I’d never heard of. So we got that one. I never watched it, because I mean, Dennis Quaid movies are bad enough, but then to pick one that’s completely obscure to general knowledge, and who knows how fucking bad that’s going to be. But yeah, we’ve only received a handful of them. But we are always very excited to get them. And we don’t have anything else extravagant – the rest is standard par for the course, like some chips and hummus and pitas. And then one Dennis Quaid movie.

The band’s obviously had some line-up changes in the last year, which is a new experience for you guys. How’s that been to deal with?

It has been interesting. I mean, we’ve gone over ten years without a single line-up change, and then I felt like right when all the interviewers started asking me about how great it felt to be the same five guys for all those years, is right when it started to fall apart (laughs). But yeah, it’s weird. I mean, Arif is my best friend in the world, and to see him go is really quite sad for me, but at the end of the day, I’m not good at anything else, and to pack it in for me would mean horrible things. You know, like, I just bought a house… I can’t afford to go back to school. And even if I could afford to go back to school… I really don’t want to (laughs). So I’m going to do this band thing and make just enough money to scrape by until I’m fuckin’ dead. I think that’s the reality here (laughs).

Does the touring lifestyle suit you then?

I mean no, not really. Most of the time I don’t love touring. I like getting up and playing shows and meeting people. I like all those aspects of touring, but just always being away from home is really punishing. But I mean, like I said, I’m not good at anything else. I’m trying to build a table right now and it’s falling to pieces. I’m not good with my hands, I’m terrible at everything else I try (laughs). So this is what I have to do, so I’ll do it. I mean I’m not really even that good at this, so… fuck (laughs).

In terms of the other creative aspects, like videos and artwork and stuff, do you have an interest in that side or are you mainly just into the music?

Yeah, I like making the concepts for the music videos and I like the final product of the music videos. However, when it comes to actually making the music videos, I hate that. I know a lot of bands – a lot of American bands – that really love shooting music videos because they make like one or two in their careers and then they never do it again. But in Canada, the government gives us all these fucking grants so we can make these music videos that go directly to YouTube, so we’ve made so many music videos! It’s fun to look back at them and be like, “Oh, look at this stupid thing we did!”, but the actual process of doing it is very arduous, and it’s a lot of work, and I didn’t sign up to be in rock ‘n’ roll to fucking work. I signed up to be in rock ‘n’ roll to have a drink and have a laugh.

So did you come up with the concept for the Underbite video or was that somebody else?

Yeah, that was our guitarist Luke who came up with that concept, and then he worked with the director Marc Ricciardelli, who really made it what it was. I had very little to do with it. I think maybe the inspiration for the thing came from a very small lyric I penned, and that is the only credit I can take. It was a lot of work. That was actually the hardest video to make; it was the least fun (laughs). It was one of the most fun to watch for me, but it was the least fun to make. I remember at one point doing this yoga squat with four fucking finger puppets on each hand, and doing it for five minutes in that position, and at the end of it just being like, “I’ll never be the same, my back is gone.”

But it turned out well so that’s all that matters.

Yeah, I guess so. Fuck general health (laughs).

Previously you’ve spoken about how much you dislike the metal scene. Are there any bands at the moment who kind of fit into that genre that you do like?

Yeah, I mean there are certain bands who I definitely like who fall into the heavy metal categories, like SikTh for instance… but it’s contemporary metal that’s really bumming me out, because it all sounds the same. Right now the one that’s bumming me out, because we get compared to it a lot, is djent, right? I know a lot of the fans of my band get upset when I say that I don’t like djent, but it all sounds exactly the fucking same. I don’t care how complicated the rhythmic patterns are. No one has an original thought anymore, and it really sucks, you know? It’s like this is what I’ve devoted my life to, I’ve been doing it for fifteen fucking years now, and you see these kids who just know how to record something and they just shit on my dreams. It’s really kind of insulting to me. But I don’t know, I think I might just be a little too easily offended (laughs).

Well you predominantly listen to country don’t you?

Yeah, I like country. And I like skate punk. That’s it really, for me.

Have you thought about a country side project?

I write a bit of country music, I put it up on one of those fuckin’ online things for people to view. But I don’t know that I’m very well suited to sing country music. I think I’m damned to be always singing aggressive music.

Yeah… speaking of side projects, what’s happening with Cheddar Cheese and the Mousetrap?

Oh, my true love, Cheddar Cheese and the Mousetrap (laughs). I don’t know, we tried to do a tour, as ridiculous as it sounds, we tried to do a small Canadian tour just around the province that we’re from, thinking like, “Oh this’ll be great, cos our real band is, y’know, pretty significant around here, we sell a couple tickets here and there.” We were like, “Oh man, people will show up just to hang out, it’ll be great.” Nobody showed up. To any of the shows. I mean, it was really really bad. But I keep saying that I’m going to write an EP or a full length – probably not, probably just an EP. But like a skate punk comedy record, I guess, and maybe someday I will actually get around to it. But I’m also very lazy (laughs).

You should try and do some shows while you’re down here…

Yeah, some guy suggested that to me yesterday in another interview I was doing, so I think we might have to. Nobody cares about Cheddar Cheese and the Mousetrap and now I’ve talked about it in two interviews, so I’m strongly considering it actually (laughs).

Also I noticed you put up a podcast a little while ago. How did that come about?

Yeah, this is another thing that I thought was a really good idea that I thought I could put together in two seconds, and I did, and then I got really lazy and I thought this podcast isn’t really funny, it isn’t really entertaining, it isn’t really interesting, in any way whatsoever, and so I became completely discouraged, and… never did it again (laughs).

Oh okay, I thought it was good.

Oh thanks, maybe I’ll do it again.

Yeah, you should. Everyone knows about the Indiegogo campaign and how successful that was. It’s probably too early to say, but for the next record, have you thought about how you might fund it?

Yeah, I mean, as you said, it is a little too early to really say what we would do. I mean, I know for a fact we’re not going back to sign a full record contract again. But whether we would do crowdfunding is a different story, because I think there’s a very limited shelf life to crowdfunding, and by the time we get around to write and record our next record, it really depends on the climate, you know what I mean? What’s happening inside of music. So, I know that if we get the chance to do it again, we’re going to do it much better. I mean we’re probably not going to make as much money, which is completely fine, but I know that we’ll be able to do it more successfully as far as the fans are considered. I mean, we’ll be able to get the product to them a lot quicker, we’ll be able to have a lot more realistic goals.

Just to wrap up, do you guys have anything else lined up for the rest of the year, or is it pretty much just touring non-stop?

Yeah, it’s just touring. We’re just trying to go to every place that we can, and really just satisfy everyone that needs to be satisfied (laughs).

Protest The Hero
tour this September. Dates and details here.

Volition‘ is out now via Spinefarm.


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