We sat down and had a chat with Toronto’s Brutal Youth about their hometown scene, their favourite bands right now, and their upcoming touring plans.
Imagine a spotlight on your local scene: Where is it?
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, North America, Western Hemisphere, Earth, Milky Way (although we’re originally from St John’s Newfoundland where the scene is equally good if not a ton better)
Who is in it? What bands we should check out?
School Damage – the best band in Toronto currently.
!Attention! – pretty sure they are on a big hiatus right now but they rule the school all the same.
Hounds – for fans of: tough as shit piss your pants loud as garbage awesome punk rock.
Owen Wilson – not affiliated with the dude from Zoolander but the same name as that dude.
The Fallout – shameless self promo.
Jon Creeden – not technically from Toronto but he’s got lungs bigger than Jesus and a voice more powerful than god.
What venues are there?
The Smiling Buddha – a personal favourite.
Magpie Taproom – great place to play but they have a crap PA.
Hard Luck Bar – really rad staff, super helpful people.
The Horseshoe Tavern – probably the best sounding room in Toronto.
The Bovine Sex Club – complete with upstairs tiki bar.
Coalition – new venue that just popped up, runner-up for personal favourite.
Honestly there are an unbelievable number of excellent spaces to play in the city, it’s staggering how many great spaces are being run by incredible people in this city.
What would you expect to find there – particular genres, social niches?
The one thing I hate about this city is the divide between scenes, there’s so much going on that there are four or five different punk scenes altogether. It’s disjointed at the best of times and flat-out chaos at its worst. There’s always too much happening on any given night to the point where you have to decide which awesome show you’re going to have to miss in favour of a different equally awesome show you wish to attend. It can get sort of clique-y and can be ostracising and intimidating, but there’s so much excellent shit going on. I just wish we were a little more unified.
Is it worth an intrepid punk rock traveller stopping off if they were nearby on a musical pilgrimage?
You can throw a rock in this city and hit an incredible band, there’s too many great acts to name them all. Toronto and the surrounding area – I’m looking at you Hamilton & London – are chalk full of brilliant song-writers and performers. It’s the sort of place where you can just get spoiled living in because of the amount of talent you see on a daily basis.
What is your experience of DIY music? What’s great about it and what sucks?
Travelling to new places and meeting new people is the best part, the constant smell of unwashed taint and week old socks is the worst. Honestly, it’s been such an incredible experience doing this. I get to hang out with my best friends and do something I love with them in front of people who are willing to hand over their hard earned dollars to enable us to keep doing it.
How can scenes support DIY bands?
Provide food and lodging, those are the toughest part for every touring band. Stop complaining when a show is more than $5, and buy merch, because gas is expensive, and everyone is driving the only piece-of-shit van they could afford, so it’s going to break down and need repairs.
Discovering new bands that hit the spot is how I get my kicks – Who is in your top three “must hear” right now?
PEARS – Go to Prison
Angel Du$t – A.D.
School Damage – whatever they call their new album when it comes out. I’ve heard the raw files and it’s going to be really good.
Brutal Youth sounds… classic. It’s like putting that record on you fell in love with 15 years ago that you still love yet it’s shiny, fresh and – dare I say it? – original. How do you do that? What/who influences your sound or how you write?
I think Gorilla Biscuits, Dag Nasty, and 7Seconds are likely the strongest influence on what we do. When I started the band I laid down some ground rules for writing songs:
1. it had to have little to no repetition.
2. It had to come in under 120 seconds.
3. It had to be personal experiences, lyrically speaking.
Some of those rules got broken eventually but they were made to eventually be broken.
There’s a new album coming soon… Tell us all about it.
So far we have around twenty songs written, or at least half-written, so now it’s a matter of whittling it down to the best stuff. We’re headed into the studio sometime this fall and we’re planning on releasing it in early 2016 (hopefully to coincide with a tour or two).
Any tour plans? Europe? UK?
Europe for sure, we’re currently booking it for February 2016 (hit us up for bookings email@example.com). UK less sure. Sorry UK, you’re difficult and expensive to get in to, it’ll happen one day.