To end off 2020, Manitoba’s own Elder Abuse released a three-track teaser EP, Take It Easy, via Little Rocket Records. I had the fortunate pleasure of asking the band’s frontman Alex a handful of questions about the band’s collaboration with The Flatliners and Hot Water Music’s Chris Cresswell, the differences of their past releases to their new EP, and much more!
What is the meaning of the band’s name Elder Abuse? Oh yes, right, our name. Well to make a long story short, the name “Elder Abuse” came about because when we first started back around 2012 we had all done some moving around, and ultimately, we facilitated practicing by rotating our parent’s basements (those saints) -oh, and we sucked. So, in proper parent fashion (the actual credit has been lost over the years as to who actually made the quip) one of them commented that putting up with our noise was “elder abuse” -and it was funny, and it stuck. In truth, we were young and the fact that some could misinterpret it in a negative way didn’t really cross our minds. Especially when at the time you figure your band will last a few shows, not almost a decade. Oops… Sorry, everyone. We love and respect our elders, and in no way, shape, or form would we ever want to cause someone offense or upset -the name is not intended that way. We just sucked and our parents clowned us for it, and rightly so.
How would you describe your music to anybody who may have never heard of you guys before? This is a tough question. For the most part, I try not to, but if I had to, I would describe it as a “punk rock” band to those who are unfamiliar with the genre. For those who know, I would liken our influences and sound to older pop-punk with a tinge of skate punk sprinkled on top.
What are your musical influences that shape your sound? I think for all of us, it varies depending on which member you ask. All of us grew up on punk rock and hardcore, and a few of us are big metal fans as well. It all just sort of came together organically, but initially I’d say we were hoping to re-create the 90’s poppy skate punk sort of feel. Lifetime, Saves the Day, The Menzingers, and Lagwagon would be influences across the board. I don’t think it can be emphasized enough though how much of an influence the awesome bands in Winnipeg and our peers have had. From classics like Propagandhi, Comeback Kid, and Neil Young, to local favs like Dangercat, The Ripperz, and other peer bands like Youth Decay, Living With Lions, Audio/Rocketry, Fire Next Time -all these bands have made an impact. In terms of drums, it is Slayer and NOFX all day.
You guys released your new EP Take It Easy on November 27, 2020. How do you compare this EP to any of your previous releases? Did you do anything differently this time around? This is a great question, thanks for asking. I wouldn’t necessarily say that we did anything different, except get older. I believe these songs showcase a more matured and cohesive sound. We aren’t reinventing the wheel by any means, but I think these songs will show off the years we have all spent working together. The songs are absolutely a bit more matured in terms of structure and content. We hope you all enjoy them as much as we did creating them.
How did the collaboration with Chris Cresswell (The Flatliners, Hot Water Music) on the title track come to fruition? Well, some of us have previous connections with The Flatliners from past bands and acquaintances and from kicking around the Canadian punk rock scene in general. Fardoe’s metal band Waster toured with The Flatliners in the past, and my other band Daggermouth has had some connection in the past as well. It also turns out that Mr. Cresswell is a fantastically nice guy as well as a great Canadian musician, and he agreed to briefly put his voice to our music. Thanks again Chris, you made our prairie hearts proud.
So how was the overall experience working with Chris Cresswell then? It was fantastic! Chris is a true pro. Due to COVID-19, all the recording was basically done almost individually, so I wasn’t involved in the process myself.
Were these three new songs written/recorded before COVID-19 hit the world, or was this new set of tunes a product of the quarantine? I think a little bit of both. The songs were written and primarily completed pre COVID-19 hitting North America. The recording process was done with great care individually with each member tracking parts separately in a room. So, the ideas were already in the works, and quarantine sort of made it all come together -the overall influence of this experience can’t be denied, for any of us I don’t think. Always remember -safety first, then teamwork. Wash up and wear a mask everyone.
Could you walk me through what the new EP and the three songs are about? Oh dear, I can’t do this justice… My personal interpretation though is that the content revolves around growth and maturity. Taking the step from one developmental stage to the next. We’ve all been working and spending a significant amount of our time working in our varied professions, bought houses, finished and in some cases continued our education, furthered personal relationships, etc… I think this EP really reflects that process.
If you could book a dream tour with Elder Abuse in the lineup, what would it look like? Again, this would differ depending on who you ask, but since I got here first, here it is: Lagwagon, Bad Religion, Alkaline Trio, Elder Abuse.
As a fellow Winnipegger, if you could perform in the most unconventional place in Winnipeg at this current second, where would it be? The most unconventional place? Carlos and Murphy’s.
Are there any plans to celebrate the release of Take It Easy in any way? We will celebrate by sharing with friends and pushing things online! Otherwise, due to current public health orders, not much real celebrating will be taking place. Although, we are extremely happy to be sharing our work. Maybe in the future, we will be able to give this record the send-off it deserves.
Finally, I’m sure it’s stressful trying to release any sort of new music during these unprecedented times, has it impacted the process of releasing Take It Easy in any way, shape, or form? You know, besides having the playing live component taken out of the equation, it hasn’t changed much. We aren’t scheduling a record release or anything like that, so I guess there is a little less pressure. Working with Graeme and his crew from Little Rocket Records is always fantastic though. Another set of true pros, they make the process rather enjoyable! Check out Little Rocket Records if you haven’t -tons of awesome records there, old and new.
Thanks for the time! With the current state of Manitoba, I hope the band is staying safe! Is there anything else you want to add? We love music, and we love everyone who has ever taken a moment to check us out, even if it is out of novelty due to our dumb name. This is an important time to be taking care of ourselves. Please look out for one another, follow the public health orders, and if you find these times getting even darker for you than normal -reach out to your supports. We may not all be in the same boat, but we are weathering the same storm. Take care, be well, and be kind to each other.
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