Our Darkest Days is a skatepunk band out of Quebec, who have just released their new album, "A Common Agony", a couple of days ago via Bird Attack Records. Here's an interview we did with vocalist Vince Fournier and drummer Guillaume Fortin where they talk about the new album, their influences, working with 88 Fingers Louie’s Denis Buckley and sexual positions.
PRT: Can you sum up the band’s history in the form of a tweet?
Guillaume : This rollercoaster will keep on rollin' #Oldfucks
PRT: For the people out there who haven’t heard you guys yet… if Our Darkest Days was the lovechild of two other bands, which bands would have had sex and which position were you conceived in?
Guillaume: Well, a weird question demands a weird answer, right? So, I would say that somewhere in the early 80's, after a two weeks -long party, Warrant and Heart found themselves in a dirty hotel room with a bowl of acid. Position -wise, the choplifter would be a winner. (you know, the one where you're on top of your lady and you spin yourself by grabbing the mattress fast enough to levitate around the room ) (Second answer) Well, I would say that we would be a kind of Offspring between something old-school, straight-forward and fast like Adhesive and something more complex and modern like Adrenalized. But since each of them, are not in the same country it would have been a difficult relationship in which the child would always ask mom: “where is daddy? “. Mom, tears in her eyes, would reply “ I dunno ...I F*&?%$#@ dunno!!! “ and fall into a mental breakdown that would scar the young Our Darkest Days forever and therefore influence the sound and color of its content. What, you asked a weird question, right? That demanded a weird answer Ha!
PRT: Your sound seems to be inspired mostly by punk rock bands from the 90ies. What is it about that sound that still appeals to you now?
Vince: For sure 90's punk rock has influenced us musically and emotionally. By this I mean, that much of this influence comes back from nostalgia. It’s a movement we were part of , from the beginning to its peak and for us, it was an automatism to continue in this vein. The sound of the 90-2000 is heavy, with heavy guitars, extreme distortions, typical fast drum parts with the double kick on one foot, complex bass lines and emotional vocal lines, which come from the guts. That’s what we liked from the punk rock of those years and we reproduced as faithfully as possible in our songs. This is more difficult to create the same atmosphere of the albums of that time , because the recording method is no longer the same, considering the evolution towards electronic recording. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that we also love what is being done now, and we put a more current touch in our music. We also have a more technical touch compare to what was done before, and we love to work on our sound. We are old school punk rockers who mix our roots with what is done now in the punk rock, and in the skatepunk.
PRT: You all seem to be somewhere in your thirties now and have all been in other bands before Our Darkest Days. Is there a difference between starting a new band now compared to when you were younger? Do you approach things differently?
Vince: Well, that's a very good question, now we are being older and having several band experiences in the past, we become more selective. Previously, we started a group with our friends and we would practice to have fun more than to arrive with a serious result. I don’t mean that we do not care about what we did in the past, but rather that the time factor was not part of the equation in that period. Now we see the years passes, and we want to be more efficient, do not miss the train. Sure it was simpler than today, we didn’t have the same responsibilities, the same life. There is also the fact that everybody played punk rock in those years in Quebec City. I'm not saying that the scene is not healthy right now, but let's say it was easier to find members when we had to make a change.
PRT: I read that most of your lyrics for other bands were political, whereas the songs on “A Common Agony” are personal. Did you find them easier or more challenging to write?
Vince: Honestly yes! I have always been someone who liked to inform, to make people aware of what was happening, to give my point of view on situations that I consider insignificant, frustrating or touch me personally. But over the years, I decided to keep my convictions for myself, I thought the time had come to move on. I don’t say that I am jaded or that I do not like committed and political bands, not at all! But I chose to leave it to others. To write in relation to everyday life, what everybody lives in daily life has sometimes had to put it on paper, but I find it simpler now. But to be honest, there are two-way songs on the album where I talk about some political and sociological points that are close to my heart. I use a lot of '' I '', but our songs do not just talk about me. It's important for me to clarify this, because these pieces speak of a little bit of each ODD’s guy’s life.
PRT: You worked for two years on the album. Are you happy with the way it turned out or would you still tinker around with certain things if you were given an extra month in the studio?
Vince: We are really happy with the result. We had some changes in the group that slowed down the composition process in those two years. But we finally got there! We spent several weeks in the studio, evenings and weekends because we wanted to achieve this result. But to be honest with you, if we had to do it again, we would do it the same way. As for an extra month, we could flick our sound over and over again, and we would never be 100% satisfied. Nothing is perfect. We are already composing new ODD’S songs, the composition of A COMMON AGONY allowed us to establish our method of composition and to define the responsibilities of each one.
PRT: The song “Time Has Come” features guest vocals by 88 Fingers Louie’s Denis Buckley. How did you meet up with him? And why did he end up singing on that particular song?
Vince: I knew the guys from 88 FIngers Louis in the 90s, when I was a teenager! I saw the guys on their passages in Canada in different shows over the years. I kept contact with Denis Buckley and Dan Precision via facebook and when ODD put on board what we wanted for the album, TIME HAS COME is the first Song we wrote together and we wanted to record it again bringing a new breath. 88 Fingers Louie was one of our favorite bands and Denis, a singer who marked me, so I wrote a word to him and he joined the project. We can’t wait to share the stage with them, to make it live with Denis it would be rad.
PRT: What’s up next for you guys once the album is out?
Vince: We will promote the album properly, shows in Canada by mid 2017, fests, we will see what is available to us but we already have offers for Europe, USA and America South, we will look at what is best for us. We are already composing as I said earlier, we want to release something else quite quickly. We want to give as much as possible to people who love what we do, to always have something new for them. Besides, we have 2 vids coming out soon!