THE SURVIVALISTS may describe themselves as “just another band from Canada,” but they’re really just being modest. Originally an international project between two friends, The Survivalists would originally e-mail and record ideas back and forth until an album was completed, with one member in China and the other back in Ontario. But even with the minimalist pen-pal approach they had to songwriting and recording, they still had more in common with Bad Religion than a band like the Postal Service that shared their predicament.
2018 saw the CD re-release of the band’s full-length “Everything Is Awful,” an introspective and melodic journey through self-doubt and depression through the filter of male/female harmonies, various acoustic instruments, and pop punk tempos. Additionally, each CD held the keys to playing the Survivalist’s RPG – of which none of their peers had done before. Truly this band is a once-in-a-lifetime experiment. Thankfully, they also have the songs to back it up. See our track by track feature below.
“For Fans Of: Folk punk without copious amounts of heroin usage”
Kristy: This track accidently happened, like most of my songs on the album. I wrote it and initially called it murder song, which I knew that I’d have to change, but oh well. I don’t really remember the inspiration for this song to be honest. I usually work with an album title then work my lyrics based off the title to fit an overarching theme, but this album got it’s name at the end of it being written. I think I was listening to a lot of pseudo early AJJ when I wrote this because it reminds me a bit of their song Bad Bad Things so subconsciously I ended up lyrically with something similar to their song. The name Cheese Lust is a bit of a reference to Mayonnaise by (The) Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan said in an interview that he got the name from opening his fridge and seeing mayo; similarly I opened my fridge and realized I had a mighty hankerin’ for cheese, then Zach asked me for a real song name instead of Murdery Song.
Into the Brew
Zach: Is kind of a “fuck you” to the bar scene. It’s also kind of a drunken love song. Too many sketchy nights in the local dive could suck the soul out of anyone, but it can be fun too.
Kristy: This song may or may not be directly stolen from a band I had been in a few years before The Survivalists, but the band never went anywhere. Zach’s a nightmare to work with for me personally (don’t worry he knows, or at least knows now) because I like to take a while to develop a song and he was bugging me for another few songs to finish off the album so I just repurposed this song. The title has no reason for existing, I honestly just had nothing to call it so I started throwing out random word combinations and Wil Wheaton had been a running inside joke between me and Zach even though I’m still not sure who Wil Wheaton is.
Zach: Is a weird song, lyric-wise. I’m not entirely sure what it’s about. It has more in common with poetry than lo-fi folk punk lyrics. Maybe you can figure it out and tell me?
Kristy: Bass song is another upcycled song that had been kicking around for a loooooooooong time. I wrote it back in maybe 2014? It originally was a song with just vocals and bass chords, now there’s a lot more to it (thus being called bass song). It’s actually about and for a friend of mine who died on a tour that I was supposed to be on. We basically fought non-stop but were always fine the next day. It’s probably the only semi-uplifting song on the album but it’s also a bummer once you know it’s about a dead friend.
Zach: Is about the paranoid Survivalist lifestyle. Not our band The Survivalists. The actual act of preparing to survive. It’s also about being fed up with the world and trying to get away from everything.
Kristy: This is probably my favourite song from the album because it was 100% written to spite Zach. Our goal was to split the album evenly and each write half the songs on it so I was a jerk and wrote a super short song. It’s another on the nose song just about gross jerk people in our city. I believe it was written, recorded and mastered within about 10 minutes. It was done in one take for sure.
Zach: Is about shitty people. The kind of person that’ll ask for a cigarette, then ask for a lighter, and then walk away with your lighter while smoking the cigarette you just gave them.
Spin the Wheel
Zach: Is more or less about staying true to your dumb ideas. It’s about following through with things even though it sucks sometimes. The chorus has kind of an occult-y vibe to it, but the message is the same. Stay true to yourself.
Everything is Awful
Kristy: I can’t remember if the song or album title came first, but I think this was the last song to be written on my part. I don’t think it was even supposed to be on the album originally. It’s basically about a night out where I was talking to a dude who took it as flirting even though I want nothing to do with people. This was another song that was written and recorded within a day or so, so I don’t actually remember how to play it because the recording was probably my 5th or 6th time I had ever played it.
Zach: Is a summation of the state of the world. Everything is in shambles, but chaos breeds beauty. This is the last track on the album and builds to a climax like our first album (we got pretty good at that.) It transitions into a part played on an out-of-tune electric chord organ. The lyrics here focus on the feeling of being alright with everything, even though it may not be ideal. Duality in a nutshell.