Interview: BelvedereWritten by David Marote
Belvedere have been paving the way for Canadian skatepunk for over two decades. In the middle of the 2000's they even called it quits and disbanded. Luckily for their legion of fans the band has risen from its ashes again and has returned with a killer new album Revenge Of The Fifth. With a new drummer amongst the ranks we found Jason from Belvedere backstage at Jera On Air festival and had a nice chat about the new album and their upcoming tours.
Congratulations with the new album, The Revenge Of The Fifth, it was released on May 5th.
How has the response been?
Actually really positive. We hadn't done an album in thirteen years or some ridicilous amount. When i started writing some songs for it and Steve started writing songs we didn't what it was going to turn in to. We really collaborated on this album more instead of each person writing their own song. It served the band better. We've been pretty stoked.
It's the first album in 12 years, Belvedere has been reunited since 2011 so 6 years break and 5 years in the make?
Some of the songs, like i had the music for Hairline written back when the band broke up in 2005. It's was pretty much the same as now. Kind of when the band got back together. We didn't start thinking about an album untill Casey joined the band. Casey has a recording studio and he was really pushing us to record. You know we've got some stuff here. So we got a studio we could record at. We probably could have done it in half the time we did it but we didn't want to go rushing into the studio.
For this release you worked with Bird Attack Records doing the US release and Funtime Records an Effervescence in Europe. How did you get together with those particular labels?
Bird Attack is sort of blowing up in North America right now. Our favorite bands like The Decline, Counterpunch, Darko, Adrenalized, Mute, friends from Canada. All saying beautifull things about this label. Like these guys are great. Garreth is awesome to work with. We met Garreth a few times over the years. When it camedown to we've talked to bunch of bigger labels in the States and it was just the same old politics and bullshit it was when we were younger. We were kind of looking at each other, do we really play this game again. Kind of trying to be in with the cool kids. Where Garreth is a really passionate person, a very focused and driven guy that really gets what all his bands are trying to do and understands them. And cares about them, what you don't find a lot in labels these days. He had a really good distro, so we said yes, let's do it. It just made sense.
You've also played the Funtime fest yesterday.
Funtime fest, it was great. We've played with Homer and a lot of Funtime bands many years, almost every year we toured. I love playing in Belgium.
You've played a four show mini European tour this week, Jera On Air today is the closing night. What may we expect?
It's the last day, it's party time. We're going to put up a show and check out some bands as we can, get in the crowd, talk to people.
You all have jobs and families at home, so Belvedere has become a one off band that must fit in your schedule of life?
Yeah, I don't have kids, Casey has kids. Steve has an eight month year old baby, Scott has two girls who are like four and six now. We've all got full time jobs, It's hard to get away as much as we would like to. We can go two or three weeks, that's the longest we can get out. When we do these tours it has to be in little chunks. We're still going to do three or four months of touring a year but it's going to be a week or two week tour, not like one month at a time like we used to do.
I've noticed a lot bands that started playing again on a more independent base, out of passion for the music, seen to be more content now with the way they operate than when they were a full time band. How do you feel about this new approach?
It's ten thousand times easier. Like i said. We're not invested into the ratrace of the politics of being in bands. The one thing i hated. Last night we talked to kids about Warped tour, we used to do it all the time , you do it year after year after year. It's like you're being a kid again in High school you walk into the cafetaria at Warped tour, you've got your lunch from catering and it's like who am i cool enought to sit with. It's like all these big bands. The rudest band you're going to run into are like the crew people that are not in the bands. But they are alway the ones that got that attitude. There's this urgency, like play sort of the game. We can't say anything bad even if their cocksuckers and fucking dickheads. Maybe there will be a tour with them, maybe they know somebody. We always try to make connections. And we fucking hated it. It's not why i joined a band. We all started playing in punk and hardcore bands when we were kids because we didn't want to do that shit. We wanted to put our own tours, do it ourselves. When every transitioned in the late '90's, when this music sort of got popular. Major labels started taking over the music. I miss talking to people, i miss the camaraderie. We don't give a fuck about that bullshit.
I think that's mostly American festivals that are like that.
European festivals are completely different than American festivals. American festivals will be like, here's a parking lot, concrete, here's some skateboard ramps and tons of merch, there's beer and water and overthing is overpriced. I find in Europe at least there's an intergration with the villages, the land, the community. There's a camaraderie you still feel. I remember the first time we played Groezrock back in 2004. You have the people passed out drunk in the field. They're safe, nobody's fucking with them, nobody's robbing them. Nobody's fucking with the girls. Maybe in Canada, but not in the States.
One of the songs that struck me most was Generation Debt, an open letter to your kids about how we screwed the world. Is it ever going to change?
That one, i wrote the music for that one and Steve, that was another one that he gave the song and run with it. He wrote it lyrically to his child. It's a letter to his kid. He did an amazing job on that song. Vocally and the passiong that comes through. It's funny when people review that song, they love it or they hate. There's no in between.
Any last words?
The new album just came out. We'll see how that one goes. There hasn't been planned to release anything else. We've been talking about it but not for now; And later on the year we'll be touring Europe again, spring time Japan and Canada too.