Another year, another album. Like clockwork, the Discarded are set to release their follow up to their 2017 debut with the garage rock gold Manifesto. A straight from the floor mix of Ramones style punk and garage rock, the Orangeville, Ontario band have no plans to slow down anytime soon. With the album release show around the corner, high profile shows opening for Lowest Of The Low and Rusty, the wheels are in motion for work on the next project.
Even with his foot on the gas, I managed to get J.P. (vocals/guitar) to slow down enough to answer a few questions.
PKA: Manifesto has an awesome live garage sound, and would translate great live. Was that an important aspect of the recording?
J.P. : Thanks- we think the record sounds awesome as well so a big tip of the hat to Ian Blurton and his Pro Gold Studio’s for capturing that. Besides the singing, the beds of all the songs are recorded live off the floor – all three of us in the room together. So yes, we wanted to capture a very live and very energetic feel of the band, like on stage- like down in the basement when we practice. We all live together so we practice a bunch and write a bunch. These songs were written right after the first album was recorded and we’ve been playing them live for six months before we went into the studio. So the idea was not a bunch of overdubs but to capture that live sound of the band. So yes it was an important aspect of the recording.
PKA: The debut record was done very quickly; did you follow the same path in recording Manifesto?
J.P. : Eerily, very similar- ha! All that really changed was that Caden on drums and Jared on bass really got a lot better on their instruments and we have gelled a lot more as a band. The first record was done in nine hours, everything. The second day, Ian mixed and we did pictures for the album with Rick McGinnis. And then listened and tweaked the final mixes a bit listening with Ian. That was all done August 26/27, 2016.
For this one Ian pushed the band a bit more. With the first one he knew Caden and Jared had only been playing for seven months and Caden was thirteen at the time, so if we got what we thought was a good take, he was good with it. He understood and had seen bands and drummers crumble under the pressure of the studios. Funny enough, the two of them didn’t know any different so it seemed a lot like just playing the tunes in our basement. On this latest album, Manifesto, we’d do a few takes and say that was great but Ian would be, no I think you guys can do better.
Before each recording we run the songs for a month without any vocals and I just give nods when words come in or when changes to the chorus or another part. So we are good at what the recording would be like. I guess this time we did a lot more takes until we got the one we used. But again all ten song beds were done in one day in just eight or nine hours.
We went in on August 5 and 6, 2017 to record. We started at 2pm the first day , by the time we’d set up and got everything miced and the sounds and finished the beds by 10 pm. I think Jared corrected one bass line he wanted to improve on at the end of the first day. Then the second day we got underway at 1:30 pm or so. The second day, I doubled the guitars and sang all the songs. There was a dinner break each day around 5 or 6pm for an hour. So I guess we doubled the time in the studio to two days for this record- ha! We were going to mix the third day but Ian had some other commitments so he did that over the next month. We did go down to Rick McGinnis house on that third day and shot the album cover photos. So a lot of what we’ve done with this album is déjà vu for us from the first album. We really enjoyed the process and outcome of the first one so we worked with the same people on the second one. Joao Carvalho mastered it again in October and Rachael Muir did the album graphics from our design and Rick’s photos. Finally here we are one year to the day doing the record release party for it.
PKA: March finds the band taking the show on the road, is it harder to book considering the ages in the band?
J.P. : Jared turned nineteen this past January so he is now legal in bars. Caden is still only fifteen. Last year we played a bunch and there are just rules around how that has to be handled. If it is 19+ he needs to stay back stage or in the dressing room and can’t wander around the club. We only had one club who the booker knew the situation but the manager pulled a bit of a power trip and made him go sit in the car. It’s December and minus 40 degrees and I’m thinking, “You don’t have kids do you, probably treats her dog better than this kid” So I tried to explain what we needed to do and how we have been doing this at many licenced club but we got the uptight, “I’m in charge here and what I say goes!” Sure sure, I’ll just be sitting out in the car with my drummer until we are needed to play. We rocked a bit angrier at that show- ha!
But the issue is more we are a new band not the age of the band members. Clubs don’t take chances unless there is a bit of hype or profile for a band. Otherwise they are reluctant to book you. So we get local support and are willing at this point to play shows just to get exposed in that city. We love playing live the most and have been also fortunate to be included on some nice shows by very kind bands and promoter who like the music and want to see it heard. That still happens and is very cool. Rusty and Lowest of the Low gave us gigs on this tour which is huge as we were not getting much response from the clubs in the cities we are playing with them. Then we can get seen and book our own show and return there in a month or so. Which sort of leads to your next question.
PKA: Will this tour expand over the summer?
J.P. : The plan is to play as much as we can in different locations until we head back into the studio again in August. We are hoping that the release of the album and coverage like this will assist in people checking us out and liking what we are doing. That and the opening shows, hopefully a little college and on line radio play (the stations that still play music like this) will translate into more shows that will continue on through to September. That’s what sort of happened with the last album. We were pretty busy until September and we sort of took a little time at that point anyway to finish up this album. Hopefully we can even continue into the fall this time. We are extremely proud of the record we made here. We think the songs are heavy and well played and that the lyrics really represent what we believe in and in some cases what we don’t believe in. So we think it is a good indication of what we sound like and what you’ll see at our shows. The idea of an album is – hey look at what we made- listen to it- buy it, that’s not bullshit or commercial that’s real DIY. That money comes to us and so we make more music. Going into this recording we already have the songs for the next record. We want to play the songs off this album to people and add a few new ones each set so they are all tight and ready to record for the August.
PKA: With the family dynamic in the band, do you feel that gives the band an advantage and drives everyone even more?
P.J. : Any band is a group of individuals and a dynamic. With a family I’ve know them since they were born and they’ve known each other since they can remember. The advantage might be it’s a different angle- an intergenetational punk band? That’s different but that means nothing if the music isn’t there or the playing isn’t there. No one will care if Caden is 13 or 15 years old if he sucks and doesn’t deliver the goods. The novelty of it will wear off and he will grow to be an adult and that angle is not there as an interest. Are the songs good?- are they a good band? It makes it easier for us as we have traveled together before and we travel well together. There is a familiarity that helps when you’re all in closed quarters. It’s one thing if it’s your buddy who you hang out with in a band but when you’re on the road sharing a room or a bathroom- we’ve done that already. You can also be a bit nastier to family because of the familiarity and better behaved with strangers. Fortunately, so far-ha!, we do have a great love for each other and what we are doing. Before we would go on holiday or to hockey or lacrosse game that they were playing and we would be in hotel or at a rink or eating out and we have experienced that together, a family is a little commune collective so that part is easier as well. With a band it’s the same except we get to play in front of people and get a little cash for the trouble as well (hopefully-ha!). So I think that dynamic is a huge advantage for us. In a band some members are always more driven than others. But the ethic is good amongst us all. Caden likes to play drums, play live, travels well and likes to enjoy himself. Jared is more serious and involved in what goes on but he’s also older. I make sure everyone is aware of what goes on and why. Our expectations are realistic so we don’t have egos that way. As their dad, the band is me now relating to them more as peers and band mates then just as kids. At fifteen and nineteen I had a pretty developed world view and I don’t treat them like children as they are smart and articulate with their own ideas. So it’s not like I need to dumb things down for them or as if they can’t express what they think. We are all driven to make good music, put on a good show, develop our parts for a good song and overall put out an awesome punk rock sound. If we do that then it’s a fucking amazing feeling as a band and individuals. We think we’re a pretty damn good band that puts out a good sound and songs. But after the show we can keep the other person real- mostly dad- ha!
PKA: Is it a fight to control the stereo in the car?
P.J. : Well that’s nothing new to any band or family. Ultimately the driver gets final say and currently I’m the only driver in the band but that needs to change. We are very democratic about the music in the car. The idea is whoever has control has to play the crowd and not just their individual taste. If you want to do that just put your earbuds in and satisfy yourself. You have to be a DJ for the car with your play list – sure you can slip in your fave and the other person has to tolerate a song even if they don’t like it but three songs by the same artist in a row will get you bounced from the DJ role- ha! Jared is more fanatical about making us listen to the entire discography of an artist but we are fortunate that there is also a lot of overlap of music taste. And sometimes after a show we’re all good with just a little conversation and silence. Caden prefers to sleep or as he likes to call it- the ultimate time travel machine.
Thank you to J.P. for taking some time for me. All the best on the road!
So here is where you come in, check out the upcoming dates, grab Manifesto on cd/vinyl at the release show(available digitally now) and keep up to date with the Discarded with the following links: