interview with Irradiation

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What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you?

Justin Bilodeau - 26 - Vocals, Bass Guitar

Kurtis Hoekstra – 24 - Drums

Matt Parson – 24 - Guitar

Have any of you played in other bands?

Justin Bilodeau - Just solo projects

Kurtis Hoekstra - I used to play in this other band called Azimuth for a couple years, nothing else really though.

Matt Parson - I played in a hardcore band back home in Saskatoon for 3 years. Started when I was 17.

How is it that you started playing music?

Justin Bilodeau - Picked up guitar at around 16

Kurtis Hoekstra – Started with violin at 5, but my teacher fell into a deep depression after going through a divorce and so he stopped teaching, later on my mom asked me if I wanted to pick up guitar and I said sure. I was 7 at the time and ive been playing since.

Matt Parson - I always enjoyed music with my dad growing up. He used to have CDs from his youth under the TV and I would go through them one by one. I began to get more curious about making music around the age of 12 and got my first guitar at 14.

Have you had other previous members? Yes, Sam Koch was originally on Lead Guitar, and Matt Parson was on Drums at first.

Did you make music even when you were young?

Justin Bilodeau - Wrote riffs almost 10 years ago, some of which became Irradiation songs

Kurtis Hoekstra – Not really, I would learn songs by bands I liked but I didnt really start writing anything until a few years  ago. I tend to be a perfectionist a lot of the time so a lot of stuff id write or come up with would end up in the trash, metaphorically speaking.

Matt Parson - Started making music @ age 16.

Where are you from?

Justin Bilodeau - Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Kurtis Hoekstra – Grand Forks, BC, Canada

Matt Parson - Saskatoon, SK, Canada

What year did the band form? 2014


What's your style of genre?

Thrash Metal, Speed metal, Crossover, Punk


What inspires you?

Justin - 80's thrash metal, and hardcore d-beat punk

Kurt – Motorhead as well!

Matt - any heavy genre

How often and where do you rehearse?

About once per week, at Justin's recording and jam space, "The Bomb Shelter".

How have you developed since you started with the music? We had more of a punk sound starting out, and gradually incorporated slightly more advanced riffs and song structures.

Do you have other interests of work outside the band?

Justin Bilodeau - Various computer related things

Kurtis Hoekstra –  I like hiking, camping, anything where im around nature. I also like to game a lot on my PC. I'm a fan of science fiction and fantasy based stuff like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Outside of the band I work as an apprentice construction electrician.

Matt Parson - Video games and fishing, also a full time plumber

Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that?

Justin - Not currently, maybe if we need to book a nation-wide tour in the future.

Kurt – I'm personally more concerned about getting signed to a label first, booking tours seems to become easier after that step cause people actually know who you are haha.

Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? Possibly, mostly for promotion and distribution needs.

What made you decide to make this music?

Justin - A need to be creative, and to make music in general.

Kurt – A lot of people give me flack over this but, growing up I wasnt really into the new music that was coming out, not just with more mainstream genres but with metal as well. When I was in highshool, the only stuff people knew that was metal were bands like Lamb of God and Pantera. Not hating on those bands, but I was always drawn to the more underground styles of music, I guess because it just sounds more natural and sincere to me, no glossy Pro Tools production or anything like that.

Matt - Was a change of pace compared to my younger musical tastes. I enjoy exploring specific genres and I found Justin an excellent writer to join musically. All I look for in a band is individuals willing to work hard on a project.

What are your songs about? Nuclear radiation, war, governmental corruption, society, drinking, marijuana

Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? Justin primarily; Matt and Kurt composed some songs for the album as well.

Do you start with the music or the lyrics? Usually start with the music.

Do you compose in a certain inviroment?

Justin - Wherever a guitar is handy, or something to write notes on.

Kurt –  A lot of our conversations we have about things going on in the world around us today definitely plays a part as well.

Have you done any covers live? Yes. Whiplash by Metallica, Argh F*ck Kill by Dayglo Abortions, Whip It by Devo (WiP).

What language do you sing in? English.

What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs?

Least: Just the other bands

Most: almost 150

What ages are most of your concert attendants? From 18-40

Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? We have many songs, so we mix up the setlist a bit. Some songs we play almost every time.

Do you have a regular place you play live often? Muninn's Post in Kelowna, Record City in Vernon.

What was your first gig like? Not very good. We have come a long way since then, everyone starts somewhere!

What was your latest gig? Irradiation, with openers Towanda and Meteor Tree

Where have you played live this year? Kelowna, Vernon. We have been focusing on recording and producing our debut album this year.

Where do you plan to gig the comming year? BC, and Alberta, Saskatchewan

When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? 2016, we started with shirts and canvas patches. We plan on making more shirts to go with the new album.

Where can people buy your merchandise? At shows, we are working on setting up an online store.

What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days?

Justin - Being able to enjoy a physical album and appreciate the art and look thru the book is always nice, but at least people have easy access to artists' material.

Kurt – I think its great for convenience but its nothing like having the real thing in your hands.

Matt - It sucks because now its harder to get paid.

How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? Kurt - I find really funny so many people give music piracy so much flak, because they consider it “stealing”. A recording contract with a major label back in the day was like selling your soul to the devil. Ive read so many stories from so many bands, big and small, who have had problems with their label, mainly over creative freedom, and getting screwed over. I think the internet has liberated many bands from having to endure that kind of hardship. So many underground cult bands have reunited in the past decade because the internet has allowed more people to discover them. How is that bad? I think its wonderful, if it wasnt for the internet I wouldnt be listening to the bands I know today.

What do you think of my work? Kurt - I think anyone who is willing to help give the underground bands any kind of exposure deserves praise.

How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? Justin - Any sort of exposure or promotion is helpful!

Do you have any role models or idols? Kurt – Jimmy Page will always be my favourite guitarist, hes such a sloppy player live but yet hes considered one of the greatest guitar players and I admire that because it shows that you dont have to be some kind of Yngwie Malmsteem to get recognition, just passion. Very inspiring in my eyes.

Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today?

Kurt – The older bands for me yeah, I find the younger bands around our age dont really get much inspiration as the previous generation did, mainly because music in general is so saturated. One downside of having everything at your fingertips. Back in the 80s for example, if you were a kid and were bored, youd pick up a guitar and form a band because there was nothing else to do. I do come across the odd newer band that I like though.

Matt - I find more inspiration from current bands closer to home because it's easier to learn what the next step for our project would be. its also easier to pick their brains and find what works and what doesnt in a live show or recording because theyve only recently experienced it. 

What have been your biggest obstacles?

Kurt – As a band? Im not sure, we all get along fairly well but if I had to pick anything, itd be stage presence, we are all pretty quiet guys and we usually keep to ourselves so we have this habit of just going up on stage, doing our thing and thats it. Its been getting better though and im happy about that.

Matt - Lift off was hard - we had some hard times getting gigs at first.

What advice would you give other bands or artists?

Kurt – Make sure you know who the good promoters are and who aren't, the ones who are honest and the ones who think they can be promoter overnight but really arent. That plays a big role with turnout to shows I find.

Matt - Seperate everyones jobs in the band to best suit their strengths.

How do you get psyched for a gig?

Kurt – Run around in circles til I pass out (just kidding). Usually drink some beers to loosen up, nothing special.

Matt - 30 minute warm up and a few drinks or a coffee to loosen the ole noggin

Do you have any new material? We are currently finishing up our debut full-length album.

What are your web sites?

How can people reach you? Facebook or email.

What are your plans for the future? Keep playing shows, writing, expanding our social network, and growing as a band.

Do you have something to add? Kurt – Be sure to check us out online and pick up the album once its out, hopefully we'll have a release date by late August/early September


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