Not content with crafting an engaging punk meets rock sound that they describe as “passionate, explosive and empowering,” Canada’s Excuses Excuses are also on a mission to make the modern society we find ourselves lumbered with a better place for everyone to live in.
The Toronto-based trio’s story began way back when Kyle Wilton (vocals and guitars) and Trevor (bass) met at elementary school aged just 3 years old. Growing up together they found inspiration to express their creativity, then picked up guitars as they both discovered a love for the likes of fellow Canadian legends Billy Talent, as well as The Hives and Black Sabbath. After moving away from their hometown to continue their education, the anxiety of not being able to play shows and write music got to them – to the extent that they dropped out of college to focus on their music. They soon reunited with the addition of Jason Nicoll on drums, and Excuses Excuses was born.
Musically, the trio have crafted a powerful, explosive punk rock and alternative rock sound that takes a nod from stadium rock bands like the aforementioned Billy Talent, Foo Fighters and Green Day while taking heavy inspiration from fellow Canadian punks like PUP, The Dirty Nil, and The Flatliners. But underneath the surface, there’s a deeper message around facing up to the issues affecting us all in modern day society.
When asked what us UK rock fans should expect from the band, Kyle told us: “Expect passion, energy, and a dash of pure Canadian grit. Although we are just a couple of small-town Canadian dudes, we are on a mission to empower the younger generations of the world. We feel that essential traits, like self-identification, uniqueness, creativity, and freedom, are not encouraged as much as they should be in today’s uncertain society; but we will change that.
“Our music mainly speaks on problems that are commonly faced by young people in the current social climate of the world, touching on topics of mental illness, drug use, freedom, and the uncertainty of the future. It is driven by our passion to empower young people to find strength in this uncertainty instead of fear it.”
Excuses Excuses finished their second EP, Catch Me If You Can, at the end of last year, and, ahead of the EP launch later this year, released its first single Pizza and Cigarettes earlier this month.
Pizza and Cigarettes opens up with a cool darting guitar riff then a little bassline leads into a laid-back opening verse that opens up “Pizza and cigarettes and the grass to keep me warm, I write out my sorrow, I don’t want it anymore.” The pace picks up with guitars kicking in under a cry of “Do you even need your balance when you’re turning 20?” then flies into a fast-paced chorus of “I’ve waited for the distance to never let it go, I never want it to stop, I never want it to go.”
Another cool guitar riff builds up to another laid-back verse, which ends on the line “You can laugh, yeah you’re going to laugh, but I’ll never find it funny” then gives way to another energetic chorus. A drawn-out ascending guitar riff follows the second chorus then launches into a blitz of punky vocals “Well I’m alive and I’m not afraid, I’m going to keep on coming, It’s my time get to it but I’m always running, It’s all your fault, Well the devil may care but I don’t give a…” then flies into a big final chorus.
It’s a really high-energy, punky track that bodes well for the new EP, building on the band’s debut record that includes some really fun tracks like the gradually building Rewind and the heavier, very Billy Talent-esque The Outsider and Frame of Mind. Check out The Outsider below:
As mentioned the lyrical side of Excuses Excuses is very much focused on issues in society. Kyle tells us: “We are all heavily influenced by experiences in our lives, the people who surround us, social issues, and all of the amazing music that is around us in the Canadian music scene. Our lives give us the stories that we share and are what helped us to find our strength and passion in what we do as a band.
“The people around us inspire us to think beyond face value and to work hard to help make a change, along with global social and political discrepancies. Lastly, the bands we play with and the bands we look up to inspire us every day to keep working to achieve our goals and not take no for an answer. As the total mix, these influences helped us develop our mission to empower people, and that is what our music is all about.”
As a former Canadian resident, for a year at least, I know there’s a wealth of great bands across the country, so asked Kyle for his take on its music scene. He told us: “Not to seem biased, as we love so many UK, USA and European groups too, but we truly think that the current rock scene in Canada is one of the strongest in the world. The real problem is that most people outside of Canada don’t get to hear them without looking for them.
“Bands like The Arkells, The Glorious Sons, Mother Mother, PUP, The Dirty Nil, Billy Talent, Bleeker and Partner have been such a large inspiration to so many Canadians. They deliver albums that have the power to speak to people on a personal level, and not just Canadian people. We have a feeling that there’s something really big going on here, and we are very excited to be a part of it.”
2018 looks set to be a big year for Excuses Excuses. They’ll be releasing one more single ahead of launching the EP itself on 1 June, followed by their first cross-Canada tour, with hopes of making it to the UK by early next year. They’re on the lookout for similar UK bands, so if they sound like your cup of tea and you fancy welcoming them on tour with you, hit them up. As Kyle tells us: “They may be big hopes and dreams for a few young Canadians to take on by themselves, but we will find a way as we always do!”