Out of Edmonton, Canada I'd like to introduce to you Hard Pressed, a brand new brand featuring Karl of the mighty, but short lived Last Crusade! Back in Canada he hooked up with Nick (drums) and Andrea (bass) to form this crunching new outfit! Their demo is literally just released a day ago when I write this, so time to get a first impression!
Hi Karl, thanks for doing an interview with me... again! How are things going for you, particularly since you moved back to Canada?
Hey man, good to to hear from you again! Life's been good since I been back, I lived in Montreal for 3 months and then relocated to Edmonton at the turn of the new year to live with my girlfriend. I really like it here if I'm honest, the skinhead scene is relatively small but most people around are great folks. There's a pretty good punk scene as well and plenty of venues/bars for gigs to happen at.
We got in touch little under two years ago when you released the four track demo of your previous outfit Last Crusade, who unfortunately split up after you moved back from the UK to Canada. Now I don’t want to get too much in your personal space with asking how come, why, etc... But how gutted were you that it meant the end of Last Crusade?
Well if I'm perfectly honest, a few weeks before I moved back the only thing keeping me in the UK at that point was Last Crusade. Then when I came back to work after a week off (we played our second to last gig in Sweden and what turned out to be our final gig in Darlington the weekend after) they fired me. So at that point the only logical thing to do from a personal and financial standpoint was to move back. It's a shame that it was cut short, I would have liked to gig more especially as we already had a lot of offers for shows etc. but "real life" got in the way of that. I was on a two year visa so I would have had to move back in March (and coincidentally Mike the guitar player moved back to Canada in March as well), which means we knew the band had an expiry date on it. I feel like we left on a high note though, and it made the dozen or so gigs all the more special for those who were there. A time I will fondly remember for sure!
It really felt like you were about to breakthrough with the band, in the underground sense of it all of course. So moving back, forming a new band, writing new songs, practicing... you basically had to start from scratch again back in Edmonton. Would you consider this as a pro or a con, how does this fresh start feel?
In a way it is definitely a good thing in my opinion. I really like the excitement of doing a new band, as corny as it may sound. Sitting down and writing songs is probably one of my favourite things to do.
The fresh start has a name as well of course, Hard Pressed, and you guys just released your first four-track demo yesterday (23 June, 2016). But before I get into the recordings, please introduce us to the rest of the gang! Are there any bands we might know them from already?
So there's Nick on drums, Andrea on the bass and I'm on vocal and guitar duties. Nick also plays guitar in The Strap and Strangled, two great HC/punk bands from here. Andrea played bass and sang in a powerpop band called the Pez Headz a few years back as well. Actually Nick and Andrea were the ones who came up with the idea of starting an Oi! band months before I moved, so it just worked out well that I ended up moving and it ended up happening.
As said, you just released your first demo with Hard Pressed and once again it sounds fuckin’ killer! Are you happy with how the demo came out, and what are your expectations of it?
I appreciate the kind words man thank you. we're definitely super happy with how it came out, Graeme (Wednesday Night Heroes) did a great job with it. He knew exactly what we were going for in terms of style and how we wanted it to sound. Couldn't be happier really! As for expectations we didn't have any really, we just wanted to get a demo out there and see what people thought. Every bit of feedback we heard so far has been positive, which obviously makes us stoked.
Knowing you are into all these different kind of genres, musically the demo shows a lot of resemblances with the sound of Last Crusade. Was this your intention, something that just happened or do you disagree?
I guess it does sound a bit similar, I wanted to go for something a little more raw than Last Crusade which I think those songs are, mind you I'm the only person playing guitar so I have to keep it simple hahaha. In fact the first song I wrote (Gotta Get Out) was written nearly a year ago when LC was still active, and I knew it would be for a different band, whether it was a side project or a new band I wasn't sure at the time.
Unfortunately the lyrics aren’t available through your Bandcamp page yet, so could you tell in short with the four songs are about?
On The Streets: it's about police brutality. Montreal especially is known for that unfortunately.
Gotta Get Out: getting fed up with the routine of working 9-5. pretty sure anyone reading this can relate
Bleak Reality: as the name says, a general ascertainment of the sad state of affairs the world is in currently.
Crook In Disguise: about politicians. fuck all of them, it's not like any of them look out for us.
There’s also some cool shows coming up, so I reckon you have some other material up your sleeve as well. What can we expect from Hard Pressed live?
Yeah we're playing with some sweet bands in the next few months. It'll be cool to play with the Rixe lads again. I think live is gonna be pretty similar to on record, our songs are pretty simple so it's easy to get into it and give a good "energy" when we play (that sounds so corny hahahahaha). As for new material, I've already got a handful of songs for another EP to follow this one up. We don't really know when or how it will be released, all in good time I suppose.
Alright I am almost done here! Now I don’t want to get into political shit, but since you lived in the UK and it’s the topic of the day (24 June, 2016)... Was the Brexit a smart idea?
I'll be honest I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to UK politics. I know it was a very close vote which obviously means there is a deep divide in the country. I think we can expect another referendum for Scottish independence for sure which will lead to an even more divided country. Ultimately it's not really my place to say though.
Alright, that’s it! Thanks again for your time! If there’s anything you would like to add, feel free to do so!
Thanks for the support, it's very much appreciated. Salutations to my friends all over and in England, France and Sweden especially.