Canadian band Liftoff have the world at their feet after catching the attention of music lovers and entrepreneurs alike at SXSW 2012. Meghan Player chatted to Carmon [vocals], Marc [bass] and Gord [guitar] about the SXSW experience, what it meant to the band, and what will be happening next.
By Meghan Player
– Who are the main influences on your sound? What bands inspired this band?
Marc: We have several influences – lyrically though, we draw influence from a lot of brit pop a la The Cure, Editors, Placebo, Interpol.
Musically, the same again. We’re very brit-pop orientated – but there aren’t any specific bands in that regard. Everyone in the band has their own influence that they bring into the rehearsals and our overall sound.
– How long has the band been together?
Marc: The current lineup has been together for a little over a year – but the core of the band has been playing music together for well over 12 years. We’re all friends. Carmon [vocals] was a friend of ours before he joined the band a year ago.
– Carmon, you’ve been in previous bands before settling with this band, did you bring any of your previous experience to this band?
Carmon: I definitely feel that my persona as a frontman – and that energy – was my number one thing I brought with me when I joined the band. It has been a great opportunity to start fresh, as I had stopped playing music and wanted to get back on stage. I missed the rush of playing live.
– You’ve released a great little 3-track EP called ‘Naked’, what can you tell us about it? What was the recording process like?
Marc: Gord and myself worked for 6 months putting together 18 demos. We then got the band together for a few jams to see if it would gel with everyone. After a few jams we all got very excited by the sound. We invited Carmon to sing one night to see how a good vocalist would do with the material – and he blew us all away. It seems he was sold on the material too after the first rehearsal.
We then started to rehearse enough songs to get a 30 minute live set together and test the songs on some friends. After the first show, we knew we had something special. Many of our friends had heard us in the past, but this time it was no longer the garage band from the past.
After a few gigs we knew we had to record some of these demos in a studio environment. We took a tape of the live show to a solid Vancouver studio and producer Jonathan Fluevog. Together we picked 3 songs which could help us promote our band the best at this very early stage. Knowing full well a full album is just around the corner.
We recorded it at Vogville Studios, where we came out after 4 full days with 2 solid singles – Falling Apart and a demo.
– Are you working on anything new at the moment?
Carmon: We always have new songs on the go – or are continuing to develop the songs we are playing.
Marc: On June 1st we are going back to Vogville Studio to record 3 new tracks. We will add these new tracks to the current ones and print a new EP called NAKED Part II – which will have 6 songs on it.
Though, if everything goes smoothly in July, we’ll be going back to the studio in September to record another 5 tracks – then release a full length album.
– What brought you to SXSW?
Carmon: The love our music and wanting to share it with the masses. Also, to see what is happening musically.
Marc: If you’re in the Film industry, you go to the Cannes Film Festival, if you’re in the music industry you go to SXSW – plain and simple.
– How was that experience for the band?
Carmon: Incredible! Great people, met many great connections. We’re also working on a few licensing deals with US television.
Marc: Our first tour was the US/Texas, which we timed so we could stop in Austin for SXSW – and we’re glad we did! Over 5 days in Austin we have exposed our music to a huge amount of people who would not have come across our songs normally. To be able to get instant feedback from this many new music lovers was worth every penny we’ve poured in.
– Had you been to SXSW previously?
Marc: We were virgins – but virgins we are no more!
– Has it opened up new doors for the band?
Carmon: Absolutely! The doors are opening day by day, since our tour to SXSW – there has been interest from press including radio, newspapers, agents and managers.
Marc: We have met so many people in the music business that we would have never come across this early in our project. So far just from our trip we have already booked new tour dates in the US via agents we met. Our music as now been picked up by several TV shows/licensing in the US thanks to one of the connections we’ve made in Austin.
– Would you recommend the experience to other bands?
Carmon: Absolutely, just make sure you having everything planned out day-to-day, minute to minute.
Marc: Highly recommend it! The motivation should be to further a band’s career, otherwise I recommend going as a tourist. Especially if a band isn’t exactly at the ‘conquer the world’ stage, yet. It is a lot of work for a band and I mean ALOT of work.
– Would you go to SXSW again?
Marc: Absolutely! And we will be there in 2013 after. I know some of us will be going for years to come – regardless of the bands agenda.
– Would you do anything differently?
Carmon: Be even more organised.
Marc: Preparation is the key. It’s a broad spectrum, but “have a plan” sums it up really well!
– Any advice that you learned at SXSW that you would share with other bands?
Carmon: Have fun and be well prepared.
Marc: For first timers, sorry you’re about to be blown away! Book everything 6 months ahead… no joke!
– You’ve got a little documentary coming out soon about your time at SXSW – what can you tell us about it? When will be released?
Marc: We shot the entire Texas tour and we’re already in the editing phase. We are shooting for a 30 minute documentary. It’s been very hard not to share some of our stories with our friends, but we really don’t want to spoil any of the story. There is plenty of “twists”, so it will be a good one!
Once we’re done editing, we will figure out if we want to release it over the internet sometime mid summer. But if it is beyond our expectations, we won’t be releasing it until after we have submitted to the Vancouver Short film festival – which is our goal!
– What is next for the band?
Carmon: We are in the process of setting up tours around Nashville, Knoxville, TN down to Texas, then the East Coast New York & LA.
Gord: We are just in the finishing stages of planning, and ready to announce a 2nd US Tour to Los Angeles in August. Everyone in the group is very excited to play shows on the Sun Set Strip. The band will be teaming up with one of LA’s top bands ”LA Velvet” – and playing at some of the cities most famous clubs the Roxy and the Viper Room. Should be a great time!
Many thanks to the band for taking the time to answer our questions. For more information about the band, including upcoming tour dates and their EP, ‘Naked’ – check out: http://www.liftoffband.com/