GO IT ALONE

This interview originally appeared in AMP Magazine (www.AmpMagazine.com) and was conducted by Kirby Unrest.

If you wouldn't mind, could you offer up a brief history of Go It Alone?

GIA began as a project with just Mark and I. We released a demo with plans to get a band together when Mark got home from tour (with his old band The Attack), but that never happened as Mark came into a large sum of money and used it to trek across the globe and almost died on several non-consecutive occasions. Upon his return we decided to start the band back up and since then have released a 7", done 4 west coast tours, one east coast tour and are releasing a full length this summer.

How has Rain City (Vancouver, B.C.) influenced Go It Alone as a band and individually?

Lucas: I grew up in Vancouver and like anybody else I'm a product of my environment, but in this case it's a particularly unique environment. A major city entirely isolated by the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. A beautiful place with one of the worst drug problems in North America. Awesome in the summer, but makes a lot of people want to die in the winter. These conditions influenced us personally, and influenced the local bands that influenced us growing up. The city produces a certain "Vancouver sound": Sad.

Mark: I was born and raised in this city so naturally it has played a major role in shaping me as an individual. I can walk through many neighborhoods in Vancouver and be just completely overwhelmed by memories that I associate with these places. I've got a lot of history here. As Luke touched on, there is a huge drug problem here, as well as homelessness, poverty, prostitution, and crime, which, of course, are all closely linked. The crippling destitution and hopelessness of certain areas of town juxtaposed against the natural beauty and lucrative commerce of others is one of the things that makes Vancouversuch an interesting city. I suppose this phenomenon exists in most big cities, but it is especially pronounced in Vancouver.

GIA shares members with the Shook Ones. Have there been any difficulties with tour/recording obligations of both bands?

Lucas: We no longer share members with Shook Ones.

You were in Rosary for awhile. Did you leave that band due to your time with GIA?

Lucas: That I did, and the drive to Seattle was getting old. I loved playing in that band but it just sort of fell apart. The distance didn't help.

When is the Rivalry full length set to drop? Have you already finished recording? How many songs will there be? All new or will there be re-recorded material?

Lucas: I think the actual "street date" is August 23rd but it should be available on our summer tours. We won't start recording till May. It looks to be 12 songs, 11 new with one re-recorded from the demo. Get stoked.

Is Straight On planning to repress "Vancouver Gold" and will you be doing any work with other labels?

Lucas: Straight On will not be repressing Vancouver Gold, but it will be repressed by another label.

I love the layout for Vancouver Gold. Who was responsible for it and were they also the photographer?

Lucas: Thanks, it was Scott McGrath who did the layout. He's good at it, really good at it. The photos were taken by our friend Sara Collis all around Vancouver.

Why did you choose to become part of the Rivalry roster?

Lucas: They offered us a deal that no other label could, and one of my best friends runs it. I trust him with anything, so I'll trust him with my record. They've proven to be the most together label I've ever worked with. Kyle has his shit DIALED and nothing slips through the cracks.

How would you describe Go It Alone to someone who had never heard you, and who are your influences?

Lucas: Our EP sounds like Battery and Count me out. The new stuff for the full length deviates from that quite a bit and is more of our own sound. Still fast, and still very much hardcore, though sometimes with a touch more melody, sometimes with a lot less. How's that for vague? Some of the new stuff is a lot darker as well. I can only speak for myself as far influences go and I'm going to haveto say that when it comes to drums I take a lot from: Pepijn from Mainstrike, Aaron O'Neil from Lights Out, and Pete Appleby from Count Me Out.

Mark: I take influence for Go It Alone from all sorts of different sources, not just other hardcore bands. I find influence in anything that moves me on an emotional level, whether, that's in the form of music, books, films, or simply personal experiences. Although I would consider myself a generally happy individual I have something of an obsession with sad and depressing music/books/movies/etc. I feel like existence can be pretty cold at times and I find inspiration for our music in art that reflects this bleakness. With that said, the fact is I enjoy a very privileged life and I really don't have much to be sad about compared to most people in this world. It's important to remember that.

What do you speak about with your lyrics?

Mark: I speak about whatever has been weighing on my mind at the time. Loss is a theme that comes up a lot. A lot of the lyrics reflect the various forms of loss that we all experience in our lives as we grow older. Nothing stays the same, no matter how much we want it to, and no matter how much we struggle to hold on to what inevitably slips through our fingers. Everything breaks down, rots away with time, and becomes nothing more than memories, and even those fade with the passage of time.Beyond that, I speak a lot about all the sickness that this diseased culture of ours breeds and infects us all with. Addiction, dependence on religion, false divisions between class, race, gender, sexual preference, etc., negative self-image, nationalism, complacency and acceptance of the status-quo. These are all topics that come up in the lyrics, and I would argue, are all products of the various forms of social conditioning that we are all exposed to.

What is the song writing process like in Go It Alone?

Lucas: Mark writes songs and we tell him if they suck or not. If they only suck in certain parts we isolate those parts and fix em. Then we jam on all the riffs, get very little accomplished for quite some time, figure out what each one of us wants to do for each part and mash it all together in a song.

You just did your second West Coast tour of '05. Any plans to do a full U.S. jaunt or overseas dates?

Lucas: Pending any untimely death, or detainment by the ever present "man", we will be out all summer in North America and next spring we hope to see Europe.

Mark: I'm really excited about the prospect of touring overseas. Traveling and experiencing different places and cultures is one of my passions, and to be able to combine that with playing hardcore is an opportunity I am fully looking forward to.¬ I'm also excited for Europe because we have loose plans to record a record at the legendary Bunt's Studio in Utrecht, Netherlands.

I remember you guys busting out a Battery cover @ Rival Records Showcase in '04. Do you still play it and are there any other covers in the GIA repertoire?

Lucas: We mostly do Battery covers, we did a Mouthpiece cover as well on the east coast tour. I don't think you'll be seeing anymore covers from us though. They tend to just kind of bomb.

Mark: It's always really hard for us to agree on a cover to play. There has been talk of doing a Swiz cover at some point. I really want to cover a song by Luke's old band, Reserve 34. As far as the Battery covers are concerned, they never seem to illicit much of a crowd reaction. I guess we forget that Battery was never really appreciated by that many people.

For those who may not know, could you give an overview of your accident last year, the injuries you sustained, how it's changed your life, and what kept you focused on recovery and getting back to GIA?

Lucas: I've grown tired of talking about it, and going over it again and again messes with my brain. Let's just leave it at: I was very badly hurt and to a lesser degree I'll continue to be very badly hurt for the rest of my days. Pain like you wouldn't believe.

From the last couple GIA shows I've caught, it seems as though you are playing the same amount of songs you did pre-accident. I'm sure it's got to be difficult to still play that long sometimes. Have you set a time limit on your playing and/or are you gradually increasing it?

Lucas: Yeah it sucks and it hurts like hell, but I gotta do it, this is what I love and that leaves me with no other option.

Favorite show you have played so far?

Lucas: I had a lot of fun at the recent Olympia show on our winter tour with Shook Ones.

Mark: Yeah, that show definitely stands out. Our comeback show in North Vancouver was also really memorable. It was touching to receive such an overwhelming response after not playing for the better part of a year. But to be honest, my favorite shows are the ones where I feel we have played our best, regardless of the crowd reaction. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to Go It Alone, and if at the end of the night I feel completely satisfied with our performance then it was a good show as far as I'm concerned. If the audience liked it too, even better.

Ok, here's the short response part of the interview, featuring questions somehow relating to Canada:

Burden or Strain?


Lucas: Pipebomb, best Vancouver hardcore band of the 90's hands down.
Mark: Reserve 34, best Vancouver hardcore band of the 90's, hands down.

Poutine: Canadian culinary masterpiece or most disgusting foodstuff ever to come out of the Great White North?

Lucas: As a vegan who's never tried it I'll say it's disgusting, but as a dude who loves fried fat I can't deny that it must actually be good though really wrong.
Mark: By the time I first visited Montreal I was already vegan so I can't say I've ever tried poutine. It includes deep fried potatoes though, so it must be good.

SCTV or Kids In The Hall?

Lucas: Kids In The Hall, I'm too young to properly appreciate SCTV.

Canucks vs. Lions?

Lucas: Vancouver Millionaires.
Mark: Vancouver Canadians, our AA baseball team. It is one of my long term dreams to one day own the franchise, or at least work security at the stadium on game nights.

Mike Myers or Norm McDonald?

Lucas: Tough one but my loyalties lie with Norm Macdonald. Dirty work is a stellar film.

Propagandhi or Weakerthans?

Lucas: Propagandhi, the Weakerthans are just really not good at all.
Mark: I never really got too into either of those bands. When it comes to punk bands from Winnipeg I've gotta go with I Spy.

John Candy or Dan Akroyd?

Lucas: John Candy was much less wholesome and nice so I'm going to have to go with him.

Better Canadian one hit wonder: Barenaked Ladies or Crash Test Dummies?

Lucas: These were only one hit wonders in the US. In Canada they had hit after hit. The Barenaked Ladies have been going consistently since about 1991, and in my opinion are worse. It must be noted that these are my opinions alone and that Smokestack (lead guitar) likes both of those bands.

Rush or Bryan Adams?

Lucas: Both are undeniably awful.
Mark: Bryan Adams, simply because the riff from his song 'Run To You' was stolen years later by Trial and used on their LP on Equal Vision Records.

Moose or geese?

Lucas: Growing up in a large city I've never actually laid eyes on a moose, and a large percentage of the geese that used to live in some of the parks were killed off when city hall decided that their poop was bothersome. The two types of animals that have played a prominent role in my life as a Vancouverite are cat eating coyotes and filthy rabid raccoons that no longer fear man. I'm going to have to go with the raccoons as my negative experiences with them number far less than with the coyotes. I with there were possums in Vancouver. Possums fascinate me.
Mark: Geese, because I don't live in fear of running into them on the highway going 80 miles an hour on all night drives. Hitting a moose on the highway is a death sentence.

Just to keep the Canadian theme going, favorite joke you've ever heard about Canada and its citizenry/culture?

Lucas: Canada is the linchpin of the English-speaking world. -Winston Churchill

What are your thoughts on violence at shows?

Lucas: Sometimes violence is necessary, and I accept that. Hardcore shows get violent sometimes, and I accept that, but I'd like it if kids would try to refrain from fighting unless the situation actually calls for it (which is very rare). Fighting threatens venues, ruins the vibe of shows, and shows little respect for the band on stage. In addition, a lot of the things that have caused the fights I've witnessed at shows don't actually warrant violent conflict. A little self control and rational thought would prevent much of the violence that occurs at shows.

Mark: Fortunately, here in Vancouver there has never been much violence at shows. Lately being "hard" has become something of a trend in the hardcore scene and it seems like the violence is escalating, which is pretty pathetic. With that said, I am not a pacifist. I will stand up for myself and my loved ones, to the point of violence, if necessary. However, most of the fighting that occurs at shows seems to stem from insecure little boys puffing their chests and trying to prove something.

Go It Alone: vegan, straight edge, pro/anti(fill in the blank)?

Mark: As a band we don't really have an agenda that we are pushing, but we all have our own personal beliefs that overlap here and there. Personally, I am vegan straight edge, though that doesn't encompass the entirety of my 'political' outlook. I just think it's really important to view everything we are taught with a critical eye because during our upbringing we are subjected to so much illusion, manipulation, and conditioning. To use veganism as an example, we are taught from a young age that animals are at our disposal, to be viewed as a product, and used as we see fit. However, it only takes a little Critical analysis to see that the way we exploit animals in the production of food is absolutely barbaric and that a vegan lifestyle is a necessary step in resisting this exploitation.

Lucas: Like Mark said, as a band we don't have an agenda due to the fact that we all believe in a variety of things, and don't always agree on any one point. Iím personally Straight Edge and Vegan and believe that these choices are necessary to resist control and conserve world food supply respectively. Smokey, however, likes Scotch and simply because Mark and I are Vegan straight edge doesn't mean we see eye to eye on everything, or anything for that matter. It makes things really interesting, and Smokestack has been known to buy beer simply because the container was hilarious.

I've never really gotten a straight answer on this question, so I'm just asking to have some closure with it. I've heard that you played on "A Life Less Plagued" but were never credited. True?

Lucas: This is true.

 

 

 

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