To be honest I admire Propagandhi more for their lyrics and the way they do things, than for their music. Still when the opportunity did arise to interview them on their new album 'Supporting Caste' I didn't hesitate. Bassman Todd Kowalski was kind enough to answer my not that great questions.
Why leave Fat and decide upon Smallman? Was it time for something different? So far how do things work out on a ‘smaller’ label well at least from a European perspective?
Yeah, we wanted to do something different. We are friends with everyone at Smallman and they are from our hometown of Winnipeg so we thought it would be a good idea. In Europe the record is on Hassle and Hotel Van Cleef which is run, in part, by our Friend Marcus who we've known for years and years. He's a great guy! It all seems to be working out well. Why ship our records all the way across the world and have them sold as imports? Now they are domestic releases. Our friend in china might even be releasing the cd.
As punkrock veterans do you keep up with new bands and if so which new and old bands do you like and are an inspiration?
I always keep up with a lot of new bands. I really love a lot of metal bands like Cynic, Immolation, Necrophagist, and Krisiun, I like some new punk bands but don't listen to them too much at home simply because some metal bands are scorching the earth right now! I Love old bands like Born Against, Manliftingbanner, Sticks and Stones, MDC, Voivod, Razor, Crucifucks, man I could list a million of them! I'm still into it all 100%.
First you released the news you would stop with the G7 label, now the new record is partly released by it. What happened? Why did you come back on that decision?
We flow like the mighty river! We never know which way it will turn. We just figured it would be another good G7 release. Why not? Ha ha.
Can you tell me where the song Supporting Caste is about. And if it is about the Indian caste system do you really think a song by a Canadian band will change anything about that?
The song is not specifically about the caste system in India although it includes that as well. there are tonnes of unwritten caste systems in every country and between many types of people. The song is really about all the people who through history will never have their story told or acknowledged even though they did profound or powerful things, or perhaps suffered immensely for Kings, generals, saviors, etc.. to have their place of esteem and glory in the history books. the supporting caste is the majority of people working hard and keeping the world afloat.
How do you avoid simply sloganeering punk rock criticism and also do something about the topics you discuss in your songs?
We avoid sloganeering by playing and writing from the heart. We just say what's truly on our minds. We don't try to be part of some made up "revolution" or something. We're just writing songs about our day to day experiences and things that move us the same as someone writing love songs or something. Our music is fast and heavy, when I hear these sounds it does not move me to write love lyrics in the typical sense. It is truly an outlet for our frustrations in the world. I know every metal band has said that since the dawn of time, but it's true. it's hard to live in and accept a world that seems so at odd with what we believe to be fair and just.
You’ve toured the US with Paint It Black recently. How was it to share the stage with a band that everyone sees as the best thing in hardcore since a while. How did the tour came about and did you guys have late night discussion with Dr.Dan?
We live in Canada and don't read music magazines or blogs so I was unaware that they were thought of like that by the masses before we went on tour. I can see why they are so highly regarded. They are a great band and great guys. Dan has great and thoughtful lyrics and always has something to say. I was trying not to talk to much on tour to save my voice but I did talk to Dan and he's a very, very nice and good guy. the tour came about by someone suggesting some bands. We checked them out and liked Paint It Black and thought they'd be good to have along. It was a good choice. I have only good things to say about them.
What excatlty has Bill Stevenson done in the studio that made you sound better than on previous records?
I think a lot of people don't know that Jason Livermore at the Blasting Room is the guy who also does a lot of tracking and almost all the mixing so he should get a lot of the credit. They are very meticulous with the playing and tuning down there . they work very very hard to make sure everything is on the right track. We were in there for hours. Then they work very, very hard on the mixing process. Jason was seriously in there for hours and hours, and hours at a time with no breaks. I couldn't believe it. I've never seen someone work so hard on a record in my whole life. He deserves a shitload of credit for his efforts.