Veteran Toronto Rockers Billy Talent Tell Sennheiser’s BLUESTAGE Magazine How They Keep Moving Forward After 22 Years
Sennheiser dives into both the music and the day-to-day lives of a band that has been carrying the punk rock torch for over two decades.While some may say punk rock is dead, Canadian band Billy Talent is evidence that it may simply be hiding in plain sight. In the latest issue of BLUESTAGE Magazine, audio specialist
On the heels of the release of their retrospective album Hits, the BLUESTAGE article reflects on Billy Talent’s past while looking ahead on the band’s plans for a busy 2015. BLUESTAGE is an online publication by Sennheiser that provides readers with an inside look on both well known and up-and-coming artists, while asking the question ‘Does every sound have its own unique story?’ In keeping with Sennheiser’s culture of innovation, BLUESTAGE documents the many ways artists around the world are breaking boundaries and exploring new ideas in music and technology.
The members of Billy Talent first met each other at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Secondary School in the town of Mississauga, west of Toronto, in 1993. They started out covering songs by bands like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Rage Against the Machine under the name Pezz, but soon began to write their own material, developing their own brand of high-energy punk rock informed by a strong pop sensibility.
Their skills were on full display for their breakout self-titled major-label debut Billy Talent — and on each of their subsequent full-length releases Billy Talent II, Billy Talent III, and the band’s most recent release, Dead Silence.
“It is unique that we are together for such a long time,” says vocalist Ben Kowalewicz. “We work really hard as a band and we’re dedicated and loyal people.” The band is focused on carving out their own sound rather than emulating the sounds of others. “I don’t think that we are still influenced by other bands,” notes bass guitarist Jon Gallant. “Inspired, maybe. But we are doing our own stuff.”
Despite touring internationally and releasing certified platinum records, the four members of Bill Talent live otherwise normal lives in their home city of Toronto. Shoveling the January snow pack and watching the morning weather report as they dress their kids for school, on the surface they betray their status as venerated punk rockers. But Billy Talent has spent the long winter busy readying their next move, using the release of their retrospective “Hits” album as a springboard for exciting new music.
For lead guitarist Ian D’Sa, the Canadian winter is good motivation to begin work on new material. “Winters are pretty brutal here sometimes, but it forces us to stay in and write,” he says. “That’s why I think there’s a lot of great artists from Canada – because they really hone their craft over the winter.” This past winter also followed the release of their best-of album, “Hits” in September, an occasion to take stock of their extraordinary journey and look ahead. “With the ‘Hits’ album, we wanted to link our 2004 and later work with upcoming new stuff”, explains drummer Aaron Solowoniuk. “That’s why we put two new songs — ‘Kingdom of Zod’ and ‘Chasing the Sun’ — onto ‘Hits’.”
The band is reaching new heights with their most recent efforts in the studio. “The dynamic’s great, the playing’s great, everyone’s getting along, and the songs are awesome, so right now is a really good time for us as a band,” says Kowalewicz. You can read more about Billy Talent and see a video clip of the band in the latest issue of BLUESTAGE magazine here: http://en-us.sennheiser.com/bluestage-off-the-record-billy-talent.