Toronto’s noise punks, LIFE IN VACUUM, are just a couple of days away from the premiere of their new full length, All You Can Quit on New Damage Records, and we’ve managed to caught up with their guitarist / vocalist Sasha to ask about the new record, his take on Toronto alt punk scene, and a lot more!
LIFE IN VACUUM’s ‘All You Can Quit’ builds on the rowdy vibe of early REFUSED with a serious assault and thicker arrangements that embrace the earworm melody lines over the overwhelming guitar fuzz and infectious wall of sound. The record is out this Friday, April 27th, via New Damage Records!
Life In Vacuum is spearheaded by brothers Ross and Sasha Chornyy, who immigrated to Canada from the Ukraine in 2004. Their parents were seeking a better life for their children–who found it in the unexpected form of traveling the world playing their noise-driven brand of punk with Life In Vacuum. All You Can Quit is an album about trying to improve ones life, even if that means making hard choices about what parts of it need to be left behind, a sentiment that inadvertently ties into their parent’s story. Sonically the album finds the band refining their mix of abrasive guitars, reverb-drenched atmosphere, and surprisingly hooky vocals, while also exploring a new spectrum of dynamics.
LIFE IN VACUUM will be touring relentlessly in support of All You Can Quit, including their current tour of Mexico, and two lengthy runs across Europe and North America just announced. See full itinerary below the interview.
Answers by guitarist/vocalist Sasha Chornyy.
Hey there Sasha! Thanks for joining us here on IDIOTEQ. How are you? How’s Toronto?
Heeeyyy I’m doing well! Going in for my last shift before tour, getting excited! Toronto is excellent, Its been home for a little while and we all love it.
Ok, so we’re like one month away from the release of your new LP on New Damage Records. I love how your new stuff distills the legacy of angular post hardcore, post punk and various different influences. How was the writing process this time and how do you feel you guys have evolved musically?
Thanks! Writing process was pretty long overall. We didn’t just sit down and write all the songs at once, it’s more of a collection of tracks from about a four year period. A few were written even before the last EP came out, and one literally a month before we went into the studio. Josh Korody handled engineering and co-producing duties at Candle Recording in Toronto which was a pretty fun process overall. We kept switching between guitar overdubs and episodes of Gordon Ramsay freaking out at people! I think we did everything in about a week and a half and then handed the mixing/mastering duties to a dream team combo Mike Albanese and Joel Hatstat in Athens, GA. We were always huge fans of their band Cinemechanica and worked on our previous LP with them. I’d like to think that we’ve grown up as a band and people and it’s our best material to date.
How did you get onto New Damage Records?
Our friend introduced them to our LP 5 and they liked it. The rest is history!
Can you tell us a bit about the idea behind the cover art and how it related to the lyrical content of the record? What issues does ‘All You Can Quit ‘ tackle in its lyrics?
The cover art was created by our friend Artie Wasko who did the cover for “5” too! A slight reoccurring thing going on with the burgundy look here. Lyrically the album is about trying to move on, quit vices and certain people, but ultimately failing. The name All You Can Quit was really the only one me and my brother could both agree on. It’s kind of an ambiguous combination of “all you can eat” which is about consumerism and the “bigger the better” mentality, and “quitting” about trying to end a certain chapter but continuously going back for that last time. I think that’s where Artie got the dudes walking away from.
Alright, so here’s one for Ross and Sasha. It’s been 14 years since you immigrated to Canada from Ukraine. have you been watching closely the recent political situation in the country? What’s your relationship with your homeland these days?
We are proud of our heritage and thankful for the culture. But fuck nationalism and fuck borders and fuck the war. So many people have died aimlessly. At some point my cousin got drafted and we are happy he came back unharmed.
Do you still go back to your Ukrainian hometown and have a some family still there?
Yea last time we visited Ternopil was in the summer of 2016 during our last European tour. All the family is there besides my mom, dad, brother and sister, so we keep in touch. Same goes to old pals, some are still in Ternopil and some spread all over the map and it’s always nice to visit.
What was your impression of the music scene in Toronto when you were making your first steps there and how do you see it now?
When we first moved to Canada we settled in the city of Waterloo two hours west of Toronto where we had a small scene with a lot of amazing bands! Back then the big city seemed so unreachable and getting a first gig there was somewhat of a milestone. Now it’s home. The scene is so diverse with many different pockets of sub scenes, bands and friends who support each other and you can catch a show every night of the week.
What’s been your favourite live gig that you’ve attended in Canada?
Loaded question. How about the most recent favourite? UK band IDLES blew me away a couple of weeks ago!
Ha! Fair enough! Speaking of shows, you’ll be hitting Mexican and Canadian roads with LIFE IN VACUUM in April. Tell us about this trek and your relationship with JOLIETTE.
We met Joliette guys in Gainesville, FL where we both played THE FEST back in 2014. Totally random encounter that led into friendship, a split EP, and multiple tours together! They are great people!
What are some of the coolest local bands you’d like to share distant venues and stages with?
Will you be doing more shows in support of the record later this year?
Yes many more shows to be announced! Mexico in April, then the two LP release shows, then Europe in May and West Coast Canada and US in June. But I can not confirm or deny that there won’t be more shows added.
Ok Sasha, so let’s wrap it up with your favourite musical discoveries of the year so far. Who’d be your top bands to watch in 2018? Please drop us some recommendations to keep our creative juices flowing.
Thanks so much! Thanks for your time! Feel free to drop your final words and take care. Good luck on the road!
Thank you for interest in our band! Hope to see you on the road! Love you all, LIV
LIFE IN VACUUM tour dates:
04/12 Nuevo Laredo, MX @ LanVilla Cafe*
04/13 Saltillo, MX @ Pizza Rock*
04/14 Monterrey, MX @ Salon Morelos *
04/15 Matamoros, MX @ Espacio Vacio C.C. Independiente*
04/19 Torreon, MX @ El Armario*
04/20 Durango, MX @ Night Hawks*
04/21 Zacatecas, MX @ Destroy Bar*
04/22 Aguascaliebtes, MX @ Umagumma Pub*
04/27 Toronto ON @ Baby G w/ DIGEST, LILIM, Iris
04/28 Waterloo ON @ Chainsaw w/Romancer, Heart Attack Kids, Wayfarer
05/02 Paris, Fra @ Comedia In Montreuil
05/04 Strasbourg, Fra @ Kawati Studios
05/05 Zurich, Sz @ Obenuse Fest
05/06 Milano, Ita @ Coa t28
05/09 Cesena, Ita @ Magazzino Parallelo
05/10 Graz, Au @ SUB
05/11 Maribor, Slo @ Dvorana Gustaf Pekarna
05/12 Zupanja, Cro @ MKC Zupanja
05/13 Novi Sad, Ser @ Fabrika
05/14 Zagreb, Cro @ Akc Attack
05/16 Budapest, Hu @ DRRPNC
05/17 Bratislava, Sk @ Club Fuga
05/18 Cadca, Sk @ Acafe
05/19 Katowice, Pl @ FEST MOCNY SZLAG #5
05/20 Brno, Cz @ Bajkazil Brno
05/21 Olomouc, Cz @ Misto Cinu
05/24 Hamburg, De @ Rote Flora
05/25 Recklinghausen, De @ Akz
05/26 Koblenz, De @ Jam Club
05/27 Ghent, Be @ Aap
06/01 Detroit, MI @ Trixies
06/02 Kalamazoo, MI @ Rancho Unicorno
06/03 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
06/04 St Louis, MO @ Foam
06/06 Denver, CO @ Club Scum
06/07 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Underground
06/10 Los Angeles, CA @ THe Offbeat bar
06/12 Reno, NV @ Holland Project
06/15 Victoria, BC @ Subculture
06/16 Vancouver, BC @ 333
06/20 Edmonton, AB @ The Buckingham
06/21-06/23 Calgary, AB @ Sled Island
06/24 Saskatoon, SK @Vangellis
06/26 Minneapolis, MN @ Mortimer’s
06/27 Milwaukee, WI @ Quarters
* w/ Joliette
LIFE IN VACUUM’s biography:
The Toronto-based trio Life In Vacuum deliver undiluted urgency in audio form. The band laces merciless but musical melodies and passionate vocals together with rhythms seemingly spit out by an angry calculator. The result is many things — noisy, hypnotic, and menacing — but most of all undeniably compelling.
Brothers Ross and Sasha Chornyy never played music together in their native Ukraine, though that changed after immigrating to Canada in 2004. Their parents were seeking a better life for their children than post-soviet Ukraine had to offer, and they certainly succeeded, although their sons’ punk rock ambitions were perhaps not what they had in mind. As Sasha cheekily puts it: “they hoped we would become doctors and lawyers, yet here we are in a band, driving around the country selling t-shirts for two dollars more then we made them for!”
The pair formed a band – Ross on drums and Sasha on guitar/vocals – but it wasn’t until they were introduced to acts like At the Drive-In and Refused that Life In Vacuum’s perfectly calculated chaos began to take shape. “The idea was always kind of rooted in punk, but then we were set on experimenting with different sounds and styles and effects,” Sasha explains. Through multiple releases including 2010’s Commander Clark and 2014’s acclaimed LP, 5, the band honed an uncompromising sound that combined the riffs and intensity of their punk influences with the more unconventional stylings of bands like Drive Like Jehu or Hot Snakes — and cemented the band as one of the most unique and noteworthy acts playing Southern Ontario’s rock scene.
This chemistry is outright combustible on the band’s sophomore full length, All You Can Quit. Current bassist Geoff Albrecht stepped in prior to the album and made his presence apparent in the songwriting process. “We’re very rigid, my brother and I, so it was good to have a new voice in the fold,” Sasha explains. “It’s not so much a new sound as a new dynamic.” Looking to add even more fresh perspective, the band tapped producer/engineer Josh Korody (Fucked Up, Dilly Dally, Weaves) to helm the project at his Candle Recording studio. “Josh has worked with a number of bands we like and respect, though they may not sound exactly like us,” Sasha explains. “It made for a good foil that led to some new and interesting places.” The eleven tracks showcase Life in Vacuum’s evolving sound, shifting seamlessly from sheer aggression to delicate and etherial intricacies.
The band are also incredibly adept at ringing a surprising amount of memorably raw hooks out of the cacophony. Sasha’s vocals are weightier than ever before, anchoring the tracks in pure intensity, while his lyrics reflect an unending drive to progress in life–even if that means severing ties or leaving the past behind. “It’s about just moving on from things, and continually moving forward. Divorcing from vices and being open to new experiences,” Sasha offers. This expanded palette and emotional resonance only serves to increase the explosiveness of Life In Vacuum‘s sonic attack.
Already known for their raucous live show and relentless touring schedule, Life In Vacuum
are rearing to take All You Can Quit on the road. “I think that’s the most satisfying thing for us,” Sasha admits. “Just going somewhere new and playing your music for people that care.” The swarm of people that care is growing by the day, and All You Can Quit is sure to push the band to an entirely new plateau. Describe Life in Vacuum however you like; just don’t ignore the impactful and unparalleled aural experience so uniquely their own.