They’ve had hit singles upon hit singles and after a well-deserved break, the Ajax group are back with the same attitude that propelled them to stardom. As drummer Steve Jocz and bassist Jason “Cone” McCaslin assured us at Vans Warped Tour in Toronto, their career in music isn’t close to being over.
You’re on Warped Tour and you’ve hit the Canadian stretch of the festival. How does it feel to be back in Toronto yet again?
Steve Jocz: Well it’s nice to see my lovely mother over there and my dad is..
Jason McCaslin: Getting drunk.
Jocz: Yes he’s getting drunk on our bus and probably stealing our beer with his buddy.
McCaslin: He’s probably going to have a couple, don’t you think?
Jocz: Oh, he’ll have a couple. Mom, are you driving? Well, there you go, driving drunk! No, we do not condone that. Our bus driver drove drunk at the beginning of the tour and we fired his ass! True story.
Kevin Lyman said you guys have been re-connecting with fans on the tour. Do you agree?
Jocz: Well it has been an awesome tour. We’ve only been off for like a year but it is good to be back. This is a great tour for us to be on, especially since we’re about to start things again. The crowds have been big, the reaction has been awesome and its been fun.
McCaslin: The reason we are doing this tour is so we can re-connect with fans since we haven’t done a big tour in the U.S. for a long time.
Jocz: But we will be doing one soon. After this we’re headed to Europe in September and then after a break for the holidays, we’ll probably come back to Canada in January or February. It’s not in stone but it will be happening.
Does the smaller stage play a major role in helping the band re-establish that connection?
Jocz: No, not really. There’s over five thousand kids everyday.
McCaslin: It doesn’t feel like a side stage to us when we play. Like it isn’t an arena, but it doesn’t matter what stage you’re on when you’re strictly playing for the fans.
You guys recently unveiled news about your upcoming fifth album Screaming Bloody Murder. What was it like heading back into the studio?
Jocz: Well we had only thought about doing a demo or an EP when we went into the studio so we didn’t have any expectations. Then we realized we had more than five songs to work with so it turned into a record. It kind of happened by accident.
McCaslin: It was a different process though because we rented out this house and we all kind of lived there..
Jocz: I didn’t live there. I was done in five days. You guys had your fancy princess palace to yourselves.
McCaslin: We kind of lived in this house which also had a recording studio in it. It was kind of cool because you’d wake up in the morning, walk across the hall in your pajamas and go into the studio to record. It was definitely a cool experience even though it was different. I’d do it again.
Since the process was different, what side of you does the new album show?
Jocz: I don’t know really. I think it is a very personal record and it relates to the last one as it was very honest. Like how do I say this…there is going to be stuff about “the relationship” and really how we all perceive the world.
McCaslin: I think that every album we’ve ever done from the beginning of time has been about what’s happened at the time. A lot of people are going to think that this is the divorce album for Deryck, it’s not.
Jocz: There’s like two songs.
McCaslin: Yeah, there’s two songs that relate to the whole break-up and the rest are just about other stuff we’ve been through.
Do you think your followers will become fans of the new material?
McCaslin: I think if they like Does This Look Infected? and Chuck then they’re going to love this.
Jocz: It’s the same sort of stuff we’ve played. Everything’s sophisticated and the melodies are great and it’s almost better than those two albums as we’ve grown since then but have kept the same vibe.
How much creativity do you think you have left in you as a group?
Jocz: Plenty! Like it seems like we’re old but we’re not. I’m only 28 and he’s 29.
McCaslin: The thing is with all these new inventions like YouTube and Twitter it’s hard not to be creative. Like we put up tour videos every two days and we do other social things like that everyday.
Jocz: I don’t think we plan on stopping anytime soon. Will that change when I’m in my 40s’? I don’t think I’ll be alive at that age (laughs). If so, probably.
McCaslin: Yeah, you’ll just have arthritis (laughs).
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