Toronto’s Biblical released their début LP Monsoon Season earlier this month to rave reviews. Nick Sewell, (Vocals/Bass), Jay Anderson (Drums), Matt Mclaren (Guitar/Vocals) and Andrew Scott (Guitar/Organ) have taken four short years to reach the point where a full-length record was possible. Explaining that the build-up was a natural progression, Sewell picked up my cross-country phone call to chat about the new record, the band’s growth, touring, and their release party this weekend in Toronto (March 29).
THEREGION: The new album Monsoon Season was released March 11. How has the response been?
NICKSEWELL: It’s pretty much been universally well received. No bad reviews. Fingers crossed, but we’ve been blown away. We’re just a weirdo rock band from Toronto and you make a record and you hope people will listen to it—let alone actually like it—so it’s been awesome. What else can I say?
REGION: You’ve been a band since 2010; at what point in that four-year span did you decide to buckle down and make this thing happen?
NICK: It’s funny because we started out as a very casual get together. We were a hang out with friends, drink some beer, have some fun band. It was really casual. As a result it was really organic coming together. It’s been sort of a step-by-step thing. We’ve done a little bit at a time since we started. We started just getting together practicing and in the spring we started working on tunes. All of the sudden we had a show. We recorded and made a ten inch EP then got invited to Sled Island in 2011. So it’s been a bit-by-bit thing. Now we’re at the point where we’ve released the full-length album and things are just continuing to build. It feels good. It’s a nice gradual progression.
REGION: What was the push to get the project on the go?
NICK: The record was made with very modest means. We recorded it pretty much ourselves but recorded the drums with a friend of ours. Everything else we did at practice spaces in our houses, or below a guitar store where Andy works called Paul’s Boutique. It was actually really cool because we would just go there after the shop closed, grab any combo of amps and guitars. Whatever would be the craziest combo you could think of and just use that to record. I have a feeling that when it’s time to do the next one, we might do the same thing.
REGION: That’s awesome!
NICK: It was very peaceful. We really wanted to make something cool but there wasn’t a hostile [environment] where [we said] ‘We’ve got to make a record and get a record deal and play shows.’ It was more, ‘Let’s just make things with the resources we have on hand and put our hearts into it.’ It was only once we’d finished that everything else starting coming together. We got a booking agent; we got a label and that kind of stuff. Like I said, it was just really organic.
REGION: When writing songs for this album, where did you turn for inspiration?
NICK: We look a lot to other genres that we can pull from. For me, when I was coming up with the ideas for the tunes, I was looking a lot to ’60s soundtrack stuff and weird German crime films that have crazy soundtracks.
REGION: What made you guys choose the six songs on the LP?
NICK: That’s a good question. We recorded ten tunes. One of the things was just running time. We hoped to put seven songs on it, but we got some news from the manufacturer. He said that it was too long, it won’t fit, and we won’t be able to make it loud. We were like, ‘No no no! We can’t do that!’ We held back so we still have a few songs in the can that I think we’ll continue to develop and release in the future. But the ones that are on there just seem like the best fit.
REGION: How stoked are you to hit the road in the months to come?
NICK: We’re super stoked. Tomorrow (March 26) we’re actually going to Montreal to play a show with Andrew WK that is going to be amazing. Saturday we have our release show for the record here in Toronto at the Horseshoe, which is awesome. Just lots of fun stuff coming up. Southern Ontario, and then we get to look way ahead to August where we’re doing Heavy MTL with an insane number of crazy bands: Slayer, Metallica, and just every band under the sun. We want more, give us more shows!
REGION: Have you played any of these songs live yet?
NICK: Oh yeah. We’ve been playing pretty much the whole record. Obviously we don’t always get the set time we like to be able to play everything, but we’ve pretty much done every song on the record in some form or another. Actually, for the release show we’re going to be playing the record in order.
REGION: Your release party is this weekend at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. How many guitar solos can we expect?
NICK: How high can you count? [Laughs] I don’t know what constitutes a guitar solo, but I know Matt just kind of goes all the time. So does Andy, they just kind of go wherever they feel like. I’m going to be conservative and say dozens. Dozens of guitar solos.
REGION: Do you have any surprises planned?
NICK: A few. I actually wasn’t entirely truthful when I said that we’ve played everything live. Because there’s one tune from the record called All Justice, No Peace that we haven’t actually played live yet. So that’s going to be featured heavily in the set. I can give you a little tip: on Thursday (March 27) the video for that tune is going to come out. But I can’t tell you where. It’s a surprise.
REGION: What is the number one thing you guys are excited about in the forthcoming months?
NICK: Mostly just getting a chance to play the tunes live for people. They’re not all the studio arrangements. They’re not all cut and dry. They’re living and breathing. We kind of go crazy with them. That’s the biggest thing we’re really looking forward to.
Be sure to catch them on tour this summer, or do yourself a favour and check out the guitar symphonies that encompass the entirety of Monsoon Season.
Feature image provided by Listen Harder.