When Belvedere called it a day in 2005, skaters all over the world got off their boards and wondered what the hell they were going to listen to now while nailing a McTwist. Luckily the band got back together for a reunion tour in 2011 and haven’t really stopped playing since. And now, 5 years later, there is even a new album called “Revenge Of The Fifth”. Here’s an interview we did with bassist Jason Sinclair.
PRT: When you got together again, you found out that much of the problems that led to you breaking up came from outside pressures to keep going. Did you talk about how to avoid the same pitfalls this time around?
Jason: Absolutely, I think we couldn't effectively even be a band in general if we kept the same status quo we had 10 years ago. I think youthful ego has a lot to do with what led to the disintegration of the relationships between us, for example, I used to do a bulk of the writing and Steve would do well, to be fair, EVERYTHING else, even including driving on long tours. When that happens each member thinks they are the most valuable in the group based on their contribution, and that combined with the pressure to keep the career path of the band moving forward, becomes very toxic. With this new album and phase of the group we really made and effort, especially Steve and I, to not only respect and admire what everyone's strengths are, but also allowing each-other to contribute in one another’s "realms", which has been really positive and made the band fun to be in again! Both Scott and Casey are actively involved in all aspects of the band as well as Steve and I.
PRT: With all of you having jobs or being parents, I can imagine it’s not as easy to get organized to go on tour as it used to be. Have you talked about how much you’re willing or able to spend on Belvedere or is it more of a ‘we’ll figure it out as we go along’ kind of approach?
Jason: We actually seem to be more organized now than ever before because of the limitations of our daily lives. Currently there is only the pressure we put on ourselves to move things forward, and when you are in the driver’s seat of your own path, it’s easier to put on the brakes when needed. We realize that we all have jobs and families now, and while music is the passion of our lives, we have respect for each-others commitment boundaries. When we were touring really heavily there was this constant desire to play very show, do every tour or we will be left behind somehow. No we have a "fuck it" button that can be pressed if it looks like it will cause too much strain on our responsibilities. That being said, we do feel an obligation to folks who have kept supporting us over the years, and have had to make some concessions, for example Scott and I have both had to sit out tours and hire guys to fill in due to work schedules and injuries, which sucks but also we understand it’s for the greater good of the band, but only for really specific occasions.
PRT: You first started playing shows again in 2012, but it took you until now to release “The Revenge Of The Fifth”. Was the idea of a new album floating around from the beginning or did it grow gradually?
Jason: I had 3 or 4 songs musically in the demo tank when we first reunited and Steve had a few as well, once we fleshed them out a bit and everyone got their ideas in, we realized we may have more than just an EP and maybe it was worth seeing where it led. When Casey joined a few years ago, it really lit a fire under our asses as he is a fairly pro-active person and does recording for a living, so once the ball was rolling I was able to write a couple more and Steve and Scott had great material to work off of too, and before we knew it we had an album!
PRT: Did you write all of the songs after you decided you wanted to release another album or have some of them been around for years in some shape, way or form?
Jason: Well, like I said before, I had written the music for "Hairline" probably 3 months after the band split in '05, so that one has been around for years. Steve did a great job with the vocals and lyrics, better than I could have ever done, so it took on some freshness when re-done this time around. The music for "Achilles" I had written for another band I was in (who hated it haha) but most of the material was written either post reunion or specifically for the album. And though a few tracks were fully written by individuals, most of the record was a full collaborative effort.
PRT: Possibly a dumb question… but both the title track and “Generation Debt” fade out instead of come to a stop. I always wondered why bands do that!
Jason: I have no idea, to create a sexy mood? haha! Sometimes the original ending ends up adding to much length to the song and we don't necessarily want to cut parts but also want it to end at a certain point. Some people love it, others not so much, and there are so many 70's and 80's songs that we love that have fade outs so that probably contributed haha!
PRT: One of the new songs is called “Achilles”… if Belvedere has an Achilles heel, what is it?
Jason: I re-worked the music for that right after I snapped my Achilles tendon on stage in Toronto in 2012. If you watch the video from the show you can see it happen, still makes me cringe! Our "achilles heel" so to speak would probably be drummers (we have 6 to date) but I think we have keeper now!
PRT: With the Star Wars reference in the title, I have to ask… what did you think of the new Star Wars movie?
Jason: Loved it, but hoping episodes 8 and 9 are not so derivative story-wise as The Force Awakens was. I mean you're telling me they built a planet sized weapon that still has a way to blow it up with some explosives and targeted strikes? Did they learn nothing?? hahaha
PRT: Now that the album is out, what’s up next for Belvedere?
Jason: Tour dates throughout the next 6 months in Europe and Canada, and hopefully making it out to the rest of the world in the next year!
There is also talk of an animated video, well it mostly just me talking about it, but how rad would that be? Any animators out there? Hit us up!