Musicians love controversy and unexpected melodies but they also appreciate supporting causes. Though they’re not political activists, CARPENTER aren’t afraid to shelve their raw indie sound to stand up for local groups in need of a push, a hand and a voice. The Vancouver outfit are fueled by a passion and as vocalist/guitarist Daniel Sioui explained to us, it’s one that’s clearly pictured in their attitude and their roots that assist in relaying the message of punk rock.
Aside from the MySpace URL, how much of an influence is John Cougar Mellencamp when it comes to your music and purpose as a group?
Mellencamp is definitely a big deal to this band. His songwriting is top drawer and his songs are practically anthems. Everyone can sing along to a Mellencamp tune. There’s meaning behind his work, it’s not fluff.
Are you influenced by artists that are more Canadian?
We definitely represent when it comes to the artists we listen to in the van. You’ll hear Neil Young, Constantines, Weakerthans, Run River, Aspirations, Living With Lions, Bison, Textbook Tragedy; we love them all.
Would you say your roots in this country is a reason you support sustainable farming practices and organizations like Canadian Organic Growers?
It’s more about the lifestyle and hardworking people to me. I’m talking independent farmers here not agribusiness corporations that are taking over. These are people struggling to feed us. Then there’s white collar pencil pushers who earn a thousand times more than they do per year. It doesn’t seem right.
Why is it that you support a cause that has nothing to do with music?
It’s just about finding a passion. I never considered myself a political person. I just saw an injustice when it came to small farmers and had to do something so I could to shine a light on the issue.
How much of an impact can a rural lifestyle have on the music one creates?
It just helped me focus really. Writing on acoustic guitar changes things. I think it forces you to write better songs. I normally hide behind distortion (laughs).
What was it like retreating to the farm in Ontario to write new material?
Being away from the hustle and bustle of the city is life changing. It literally changes the way you think about life. I spent four months in a trailer with no power last year and it was the best thing I have ever done, hands down.
Though you took the acoustic route, were you able to still incorporate your punk and hardcore roots into the tracks you wrote during that time?
I think so. A lot of people say they can hear more of our roots in this record. It’s less about the layers of instruments and more about the passion of the song. It’s all a little more intense. We wanted to achieve that from the beginning. We all grew up loving punk rock and the message that’s it is supposed to relay. It’s ok to be yourself, whether that’s showing it through a mohawk or a pair of Dockers. Just do what you do and be proud of it.
As Sea To The Sky also features a bit of classic Canadian rock, do you think the mixture of influences helps portray the stories you we’re trying to tell?
Definitely. We want the songs to have a timeless quality to them. Only time will tell if that’s actually the case (laughs).
Does it better represent your do-it-yourself attitude?
The new record is definitely more stripped down. It’s less polished, more raw. I was listening to a lot of 90s’ hardcore before we hit the studio. I wanted it to be different and a bit more punk.
Would a band get more recognition if they went down the DIY path?
Not really. Maybe in the scene. It is hard when you see some bands that have buses after their third show when you know you’ll be lucky enough to sleep on a hardwood floor the same night.
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