Have any of you played in other bands? Yes I led a band called Cryptik Howling from 2002 to 2012 and I played with a couple others bands in the meantime like Decrepity, Black Empire and Depths of Hatred.
How is it that you started playing music? It all started in high school thanks to my teacher Benoit Roy, I was playing trumpet & percussion with the school's orchestra. But Benoit was a special kind of teacher since he composed a couple songs for the orchestra which really drove me into music creation.
What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you?
Christian Mongrain Thériault (yours truly) (32) on Guitars & Vocals
Patrick Gagné (36) on Drums
Éric Séguin (36) on Bass
Marc Doyon (31) on Guitars
Have you had other previous members? We had Étienne Leclerc on Drums & Sébastien Jean on Bass for the year 2015 and the recording of the Revenge Demo.
Did you make music even when you were young? I play guitar since I'm 13 and started composing my own music around 17. Patrick was also playing with bands as a teenager.
Where are you from?
We are from Rouyn-Noranda in the Province of Québec, (Canada)
I emphasized on the Province of Québec because Québec is the only french territory in North America and really, just as Scotland or Catalonia, a country in itself even though it's part of a Federation.
Rouyn-Noranda is renowned to be Canada's Metal Capital in terms of attendance, We are a small town of 35K inhabitants and still a band can play in front of 400 die hard metalheads each and every time they come by
What year did the band form? I actually formed Backstabber in 2012 as a solo project after I left Cryptik Howling. Then Backstabber was kept on ice as I joined Depths for Hatred and it's in 2015, with the addition of Étienne and Sébastien that the band really started out as a Live act too.
What's your style of genre? I use to say that we play old school Death/Trash Metal but honestly I don't give much attention to labelling music and I do believe that it's a fan job to label a band into a certain genre and sound. I mean, we aren't really objective regarding our music you know.
What inspires you? Our influential palette is spanning from 80's trash to actual metal but we don't shackle ourselves within metal so we try to expand our influences beyond metal and beyond music too. There so much inspirational people and stuff happening around the world, everything can be a catalyst to create music.
How often and where do you reherse? Actually it's once a week with the full band and twice a week whenever we are preparing a show + homeworks. We usually rehearse at Patrick's place and we record at my place.
Do you have other interests of work outside the band? I don't know if we can call it interests hahaha but we're all fathers in our thirties so yeah, we have day jobs! Marc and Patrick are Carpenters, Éric is in the mining Industry and I am a stay at home dad (former carpenter).
Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? Having only a demo available for now, we are only playing some local shows in Quebec and Ontario but we are considering working with one for the upcoming album. I think that since the new millenium and the downfall that album sales have experience, booking agency have become more relevant than ever and bands have been more actively looking for them instead of labels in recent years.
Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? We are preparing press kits for a 2018 release. Even if album sales have gone down, a physical distribution results in visibility which is still an important aspect of a band's promotion plan.
What made you decide to make this music? We are all into metal since we're teenagers so it's pretty natural for us to play metal and even if we are not bound to a certain genre or sound, we'll probably be mainly considered a death metal band with certain elements coming from other genres.
What are your songs about? The Revenge Demo bathes in anger and frustrations, Let's say it's how I expelled all the negative energy I had surrounding my departure from my former band. The upcoming album is totally on another topic though, we are exploring conspiracy theories, new technologies and their philosophical implications on our lives, we are exploring our financial system as well as astronomy and mass media. We'll be covering a wide range of aspects surrounding our way of life and our beliefs.
Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? I did all music and lyrics on Revenge but you know even if there is only one composer, every musician playing on an album brings a part of himself to it so I couldn't take credit for the whole album even if I composed it all. Metal musicians in general tends to bond together and form a band so even if there is only one composer, the line up affects the essence of the band and any changes in the line up produce a change in the way the composer interact with his bandmates and creates music so I consider the line-up as an important part of a band. On the upcoming though, there are mainly songs that were composed together jamming and laying down our tracks for our respective instruments.
Do you start with the music or the lyrics?
I always start with the music, I'm basically a guitarist so everything can be traced down to a single riff which is the epicenter of the creation. I usually compose rhythm guitar, then we lay down bass and drum tracks then I do leads and solos and finally the vocals.
Usually I do give to the riff a title though, temporary or not, which gives a direction to the song's emotional environment.
Do you compose in a certain environment? I do compose mainly home or at the rehearsal place but more than a physical environment, I think it's our emotional or spiritual state that's more important. I usually need to let go of reality and totally plunge into the song. The best moment to compose a song for me is when I get a couple free hours ahead which makes me feel like there's no tomorrow.
Have you done any covers live?
I do believe a well selected cover can be a good component of a band's set and give a perspective of your sound through a song that the listener already know and can identify himself and to yourself to it.
With the former line-up, we played Sepultura's Territory, Cryptik Howling's Between and Tagada Jones Instinct Sauvage but with the actual line-up we aren't playing any of them. We might consider adding one to our live set eventually though.
What language do you sing in?
We sing mostly in english but also in french. Given the geographical position of Québec, It's a little harder for a french band/singer to perform in the rest of Canada and the U.S. so singing in english is more often that not the only way to expend your impact on the local scene.
But we're experiencing a lot of bands singing only in their home langage lately without having a negative impact in Quebec and Europe and I'm glad we are going in this direction.
What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs?
I think our smallest show was in La Sarre which is a small town around here, we played in front of something like 20 people.
We haven't played any big shows/festival yet so our biggest show was probably in Rouyn-Noranda with around 150 attendees.
What ages are most of your concert attendants? I use to say that Backstabber is 30+ hahaha! Hence why the ''old school'' attribute. Of course we got some younger fans but mainly we seem to appeal to an older generation of metalheads.
Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? I think every show has to be considered as an individual representation of yourselves and your music, a show is a live beast that needs to live with the attendees. We usually adapt our shows depending on set times, set order and songs played are selected according to the city we're playing in and the way we want the beast to live. Sometimes you better play a brutal show quickly and then get off the stage and some other times you better take your time and give your audience a little more than a quick blast.
Do you have a regular place you play live often? There are a couple venues here in Rouyn but at the moment we tend to play at the Scène Évolu-Son which is a good venue downtown.
What was your first gig like? Remember that show in La Sarre I talked about? We had a lot of fun anyways, we shared the stage with some friends and had a good time.
What was your latest gig? We played Ottawa with Projekt Göthenburg, Whispers in the Maze and Misshapen last February. That was a good show, we played at the renowned Cafe Deckuf with Topon Das from Fuck the Facts at the board; Epic moments!
Have you had to cancel a gig? Only once with a side project that I wasn't leading; they didn't asked if I wasn't booked with my main band before accepting the shows. I think reliability is one of the most important part of the business aspect of a band.
We don't cancel is our mojo hehe
Where do you plan to gig the comming year? We have a hometown show booked in Rouyn and we might consider playing some major cities like Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto this fall.
When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? As we say in french: 'L'argent est le nerf de la guerre' so we've been printing some T-Shirts since the beginning. Actually we have T-Shirts and Pins available and we are considering building a merch arsenal for the upcoming album, T-Shirts, Girlies, Patches, Hoodies, etc..
Where can people buy your merchandise? Our music is available on most platforms like iTunes Store, Google Play etc.. But If you truly want the money to get to us or buy merch, it's on bandcamp at: https://backstabbermetal.bandcamp.com
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? Music, as any form of art, is meant to be shared, not sold. From this perspective, a fan's appreciation of your music is truly more important than the way he gets to listen to it.
How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? Of course it has an immediate impact on record sales, so bands that lives off music needs to tour more and sell more merch to absorb the loss. That's why I said booking agency were more relevant now than ever.
What do you think of my work?
I haven't heard of your blog before we got in touch so I'll be discovering your others interview it in the coming weeks!
But about the interview itself I think you've got some really good questions, I had to go through an introspection of our musical career as well as our personal life.
Questions are precise and details the way we work together as a band and the way we project ourselves in the future.
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? Any interview or interaction with media has to be taken seriously, our music and the press surrounding it are gonna last a long time, especially now with internet so you never really know when, where and who is gonna read this and it might be their first impression of us so we have to be relevant in what we say.
Do you have any role models or idols? Of course we have role models, I can't talk for the rest of the band but I used to be a huge Marilyn Manson fan as a tennager, then I went into Megadeth and Sepultura. After I got into death metal, I discovered so many great bands and I am still looking for new music and inspirational people.
Why do you think that they exist? I believe in hard work and dedication, one needs to get surrounded with a great team. Sound Engineers, Producers, Bookers, Promoters, Publicist, etc.. every task that needs to be done is as important as the band itself if you truly want to be succesful.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? This is a good question and by listening to both I can say they bring different moods. Older bands are motivational and younger bands are inspirational. We bang our heads to the classics and listen with amazement to new bands pushing the limits.
What have been your biggest obstacles? I think an artist's biggest obstacle is himself, his self-confidence. We're always more prone to judge ourselves and sometimes it turns into a psychological barrier slowing our progress. I think obstacles comes from within, what's outside is just the path we follow so basically breaking down your own barriers let's you lead the way.
What advice would you give other bands or artists? Trust yourself, love what you do, dedicate yourself and keep going!
How do you get psyched for a gig? One must know the difference between stress and excitement to be truly excited and the difference is only the level of trust you have in the outcome of the event. So we tend to bond together, have a motivational speech and then get up stage and destroy everything!
Do you have any new material? We'll be releasing a single accompanied by a music video this fall then we're heading towards a full-lengh for 2018.
What are your web sites?
How can people reach you? I'd say your best bet for a quick response would be on facebook.
What are your plans for the future? With the upcoming release scheduled for 2018, we'll be touring as much as possible in support and then go on with another one, I'm aiming for a third release around 2021 but really our plans are to keep going, to keep having fun together.
Do you have something to add? I'd like to take a moment to thank you for this opportunity, we are truly grateful to share these moments with you and your readers. Thank you very much.