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Godstopper to depth-charge Piranha Bar this Thursday night.

Posted by Lorcan / February 20, 2013

GodStopTop-20130220.jpgToronto's Godstopper have pretty much cornered the local market for pounding heavy guitar mixed with gloriously melodic vocals. Think the heaviest of Seattle's grunge freaks mixed with underground miscreants like Sleep and Harvey Milk, and you'll be close to the mark. Lorcan Archer took time out with Mike Simpson to discuss the group's impressive What Matters debut, and what drives the group to make the racket they do.

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What was your motivation behind putting Godstopper together - was it simply a vehicle to play heavy music that you enjoy?

In short, definitely. I have a good amount of experience playing heavy music. Godstopper came about as a way of me channeling new interests and influences while also maintaining a fairly personal aspect. Thankfully, I've managed to find like-minded people to play with me and contribute in a full band setting.

You're based out of Toronto - are any band members currently involved with any other active groups around that city?

I also play in a powerviolence band called Column of Heaven (ex-Endless Blockade).

If I may be so bold, there are definite vibes of the likes of Harvey Milk and The Melvins in your sound, heavy as a bag of bricks as it is. Are those groups that you'd have any particular affinity for?

That's a totally fine observation. The Melvins, yes, to a certain degree, more in terms of their use of vocals and repetitive grooves. Harvey Milk never really caught with me, most of the stuff I've heard is a little too "out there" for my tastes. Still a great band though...I've seen them live a couple of times. In terms of some other stuff close to my heart that definitely has had an influence, those would include SWANS, YOB, Khanate, Deftones, maybe even a bit of Sunny Day Real Estate (that one just occurred to me). Gandharvas (Canadian content).

'What Matters' showcased a great sense of melody mixed in with all the pounding, particularly in the vocal department. It's one of the most distinctive things about the band. Was the varied vocal approach of Godstopper something that just naturally evolved?

Over the years I've played in bands with some very talented instrumentalists and songwriters, whose abilities spanned over a very broad spectrum, style-wise. As a result, acting as a singer (I've been an active singer since I was a teenager), I often felt it necessary to adapt my vocal style to different sections within a song. In that regard I really liked how Ben Falgoust handled things in Soilent Green.

Mike Scheidt in YOB is a really good current example as well. The other members of the band contribute vocals too. I'm really open to the idea of there being many singers; I'm a big Sly & the Family Stone fan, and I always liked how diverse having different vocalists made that band sound.

GodStop Middle - 20130220.jpg

What's next on the agenda for the group - any upcoming releases or tours we should know about?

What Matters is almost available on LP. For pre-orders/additional information you can check the following - Canada: Absurd Exposition, for the US: Anthems of the Undesirable, and for the UK and Europe: Milgram Records.

We will also be doing an east coast US tour April 19-27. Details are being finalized and further info will be posted soon on our site.

Spill the beans! What are any new bands or groups that you're really enjoying at the moment, in general?

Hammerhands, a Doom/Sludge group coming straight outta Mississauga, are great. We're playing our 3 shows with them this week (so you can catch them in Montreal on Thursday). Ehnahre, a band from Boston we've played with before, also released an excellent record called 'Old Earth' last year.

What sort of tunes will you likely have cranked on the drive up to MTL?

Ha, good question. Let me look at the playlist from our last visit to Montreal. Frank Ocean- Forrest Gump, Van Halen - Unchained, No Doubt - Spiderwebs, Stone Temple Pilots - Big Bang Baby, Mark Lanegan Band - The Gravedigger's Song, Patti Smith - Because the Night and CSNY- Deja Vu. Also in there was All-4-One, The Move, and Killer Mike (the last two probably being the only "cool" tracks on the list).

Finally, without lumping Godstopper into a "scene" per say, is it a good time for heavy, underground guitar-based music in this part of Canada? i.e. Did you find a short tour like the one you're currently doing (MTL - Sherbrooke - Toronto) difficult to organise or did it come together quite easily?

There were plenty of people to help us get shows booked, so I think that's a good sign. There are a lot of bands in our immediate area, and I'm into a lot them.

For me, what I look for more than anything, is effort. Even if a band isn't my favorite thing musically, you can't knock the hustle, so to speak. Bands that release recordings, make merchandise, play shows outside their home city, expand their network into other towns and other countries, are doing things that I respect; and the more they do those kind of things, the more people like me want to help out; that's how it seems to work.

Bands like KEN mode, the Great Sabatini and BIIPIIGWAN are inspirations to us all, likely taking big financial hits and other other hardships in stride in the interest of doing what they love and spreading the word, in the timeless, 'Get in the Van' fashion.

There is a sense of community and that things are "in motion", and I've definitely heard several "scene" folks here in Toronto say this is the best they've seen things in terms of quality and quantity of heavy music coming from here. Whether that's true or not, I'm just happy to be part of it.

Godstopper play the Piranha Bar, Montreal on Thursday Feb. 21st, along with Hammerhands, Luther Higgs and Rhino. Tickets are 6$ and doors are at 8pm. Check out the event page here.

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