RELIEVER is a 3 piece hardcore band from Windsor, Canada. Their aggressive new EP 2020 Vision came out on Nov. 2, 2019. We spoke to them about their new EP, plans for the future, and the general state of hardcore in their neck of the woods.
How would you say “2020 Vision” is different from the eps and singles you’ve been releasing in the past few years?
This time around the process was more conceptual than anything we’ve released in the past. This was also the longest we had spent on writing and recording. we began writing in August of 2018. The constant refining of the material is what makes this our most concise release so far. Nate had an analogy that we had kept in mind, which was to treat the end of the writing process and the recording to be similar to a sauce that you add ingredients to and let it simmer and reduce and then add more and repeat that cycle. To come out with a finished product that has been worked through. We’d like to think that’s what happened at least.
The songs sounds great, the hard work really paid off. In the ‘simmering’ process, did you guys write a bunch of songs and boil it down to the five on the EP? Or did you keep tinkering with the five songs on it until they felt right?
In the beginning we had more ideas, but when push came to shove these were the most cohesive songs that fit well together. Morphine and DTTPA were written to flow from one to the other, while The Final Say and Panic Room were fit together during the recording process. We actually did have one track that was recorded but it didn’t make the cut so we’ll see where that song ends up, if anywhere. Davis Maxwell, a well known engineer in the underground Ontario scene, put in so much hard work to get this done. Hours spent driving the 3-4 hours to his studio, started to rack up as Nate would go back multiple times to get everything worked out and cleaned up.
Will you be pressing 2020 Vision on CD or vinyl? Do physical releases matter anymore in a digital world?
So at this point, we’ve made CDs and tapes are on their way. If the demand for vinyl is there (and if the money is right) than we’ll most likely press a 12”.
Every medium of releasing music in this digital age is still very much valuable. Any possible way to get your music heard is a win. A certain portion of the market will always want something tangible to hold and appreciate. From collecting records and tapes to the ease of use of CDs, we would hate to see physical releases go away but it seems like everything comes and goes in waves.
Do you see a full length album in the future? Or do you think you’ll stick to EPs and singles?
Our plans are looking most likely to a full length. As we had just wrapped this EP up, writing should begin sometime in the winter. For now, we are focusing on getting these songs out to people and putting ourselves in a good position for a LP in the future. We get “oh, another EP” often enough so it’s time to go for something more full.
You guys are 3 piece band that sounds huge, like a 6 piece, how do you do achieve that? Can you pull it off live?
First off, thank you. We’d like to think that our chemistry even from day one has been so locked in that we know each other’s abilities and how to play off of them. Because we’re tight knit, everyone’s role becomes amplified. Mat’s hard-hitting drum techniques and unique style, Doug’s ability to lock in the bass with Mat (probably because they are both drummers), matched by the energy that he exerts during a show, to Nate’s ability to pull off the double duty of vocals and guitar make our roles hold more responsibility. If one of us fucks up it’s going to be harder to cover that up as a 3 piece. In the end it’s all about energy and we giver at every show we play.
How have the shows around the release of this new EP been going?
So we had taken some time off of shows, more specifically Windsor shows, just to build the anticipation for our record release that just passed on the date we dropped the EP. Our release show included our boys in Powerbomb, a hardcore outfit hailing from the Toronto area, our locals friends in Territory, whose members have had a solid history in the Windsor scene for years, as well as our drummer Mat’s ska band, The Nefidovs, who are nothing short of impressive and is a guaranteed good time. With 100+ through the door at a new spot that’s hosting shows called The Green Bean Cafe, we considered it a success. This was the first hardcore show at this venue and it’s safe to say they are down for more.
We are also playing the “Toys for Tots” fundraiser in Toronto on November 29th, which is in support of a great cause that our friends in Cold Shoulder are putting on. That bill boasts some of Ontario’s finest including Rust, Gold Finch, and Cold Shoulder as well as Pittsburgh’s heavy hitters, Facewreck.
While other genres of rock seem to be dying out or only appealing to an older audiences, hardcore seems to be thriving, innovating, and bringing in new listeners of all ages. Why do you think that is?
People just want a release. Music provides that, but no genre in our opinion can match the mental, physical or emotional release that hardcore (and it’s adjacent branches) can bring out of you. We like to think that is sometimes what our name represents; something to relieve the pain or stress through positive aggression. Recordings should try to capture and represent the feeling of unease and excitement that a hardcore show can bring. A person getting into the genre may quickly appreciate those aspects if they are looking for that release.
Outside of hardcore, what music is inspiring you lately?
Outside influence will always be present even if it’s unintentional. I would say the majority of the time, some of us are usually pumping something different than hardcore anyways. Mat takes a ton of influence from gospel and hip-hop and bringing those drum elements in through his unique style. Doug is also usually listening to hip-hop, pop-punk and classic punk to add in those flavours. Nate is taking the song writing elements, as well as the ambience and feeling from indie/folk and electronic music to help aid in the writing process. Either way, hardcore or not, it’s having an influence.
And what hardcore bands have been inspiring you lately? Who do you think we should all be listening to?
Our hardcore tastes change but we do want to shout out some hardcore from Windsor because we feel like we have some of the best in the country. Acts like Minors, Psychic Void, Uncle Ray, Eternal Confinement are all masters at what they do and we take influence from the drive and sound they have. We live in a very abundant time in hardcore.
Whats next for Reliever? What’s on the roadmap for the rest of 2019 and beyond?
2019 is looking like it’s going to be a couple more shows, possibly a video but just planning for next year. In the future, hoping to bang out a full length, tour some parts of the world would be nice. Just take this vision as far as it will go and then some.