First off, I want to thank you for taking the time to sit down and answer a few questions for our readers. Now, please state your name and position in The Flatliners.
I’m Chris Cresswell. I sing and play guitar in The Flatliners.
If you wouldn't mind, can you give our unfamiliar readers a quick history lesson on The Flatliners?
We started playing music together when we were 14 years old, and we have been doing so ever since.
You re-released your album, Destroy To Create, via Stomp Records last year. How has the response been to the record thus far?
We’ve gotten an astonishing response. We’ve been able to tour the continent, and we have been having the greatest time. I think if one kid went out and picked up the album, we’d be astonished, but it’s been fucking great.
Was the re-release an idea the band fully supported, or was it Stomp's decision to do so?
The re-release of the album was an idea we all loved, and were excited to do it with Stomp Records. It just kind of happened, I suppose.
Now, that the record has seen the light of day for quite some time, is there anything you wish you had done differently with the release?
Oh, of course, but that will happen with everything. You can think of something you’ve done as perfect, but eventually you’ll see it’s flaws. I do wish we could have thrown an extra song on the re-released version, but there wasn’t much time to lay it down. We pushed it out pretty quickly, but it had all been recorded already, so the process was fast and easy. It feels like we cheated a bit. [Laughs]
"Fred's Got Slacks", the first single from Destroy To Create, allowed the band to obtain a significant amount of success. How did you go about selecting it as the lead offering?
I don’t know if it was a conscious decision, or if we just thought we’d see what songs people would like, but I think a certain aspect of it did stand out to a lot of people, though.
How did the band end up signing with Stomp Records?
We had known Matt Collyer from The Planet Smashers for a while, at that point, and we had played with them again after we had originally released the album independently. We gave him a copy to check out, and we kept in touch with eachother. Once we had finished school, things started to happen with Stomp Records, and that summer the album hit stores. Looking back, I definitely don’t blame them for waiting until we were done with school. [Laughs] Everyone at the Union Label Group works very hard for their bands.
You're preparing to embark on a Canadian run, entitled the Sleep Is For Bitches tour, alongisde the Nitro Records act Much The Same. How has life on the road been treating you, thus far?
Touring is something we love, and something every band should love. We’ve definitely come back with stories to tell, as well, so we’re having a good time.
Do you have any interesting experiences you've encountered on tour you'd be willing to share with us?
I can say that we’ve met some of the most amazing people out on tour. You also tend to run into sketchy people everywhere you go, but that could be everywhere. Its hard to tell sometimes.
There is a story I can tell you about Scott on tour. We had parked our van across the street, in an eye doctor’s parking lot, from our friend’s house in Kalamazoo (MI). We had parked our van there, in the past, but we had never noticed it was always on the weekend, and that is when the eye doctor is closed. This time, it was in the middle of the week, and Scott decided to sleep in the van, so Paul gets a call the next morning from Scott, asking where we were. Scott had no idea that our van and trailer had been towed onto a flatbed tow-truck and brought to an impound lot. Once he looked outside, and realized where he was, we all pieced it together. We had to pay $200 to get our van, trailer and Scott back.
Although you've hit the road with some phenomenal acts in the past, are there any bands you're itching to tour alongside?
There are a million fucking bands we’d love to tour with. I’ll say ‘every band’ for now, just because the list is far too long.
What's next for The Flatliners, whether it be in terms of releases, tour plans, etc.?
We’re touring all of this fall. We're going to do a small Canadian tour in October (the Sleep Is For Bitches tour) with our friends Much The Same, and then we'll do about a month in the United States with Against All Authority, which we’re extremely excited about. Then, we come home for the holidays.
Has the band been writing any new material, and if so, what can listeners expect from your next release?
We’ve been at home writing our new record for the last couple months. I can say that we’ve never been more stoked about anything we’ve written, in the past. It’s not another Destroy to Create. If it were, it would be called Destroy and Regress, because there’s not much point in repeating something. We’ve definitely grown into a comfort level as far as writing and playing together goes, and as lame as it sounds, things just flow. Lyrically, its definitely the most in-depth and personal material I’ve written yet, which I love. But, like I said before, where the last record was very politically oriented, there was a chance with the new stuff to try something different. We’ve definitely tried something different.
One of our readers would like to know who the band's main influences are, and why?
When the band first started out, I think we wore our influences on our sleeve, and we may still with everything we do. Who knows? But, bands like The Suicide Machines, Operation Ivy, Rancid, the Misfits, and so many more were definitely some of our focal influences when we started playing together. These days, the four of us listen to everything. I think it's important to have an eclectic taste in music. It isn't essential, but it is important.
What have you been listening to, in terms of new music, these days?
I just heard The Bronx’s new record the other day, and I haven’t stopped listening to it, yet. It seems as if we’ve been listening to a lot of stuff like The Draft’s new album, The Lawrence Arms, The Sainte Catherines (who are easily one of the best bands in Canada, right now) and the RX Bandits’ new release, And the Battle Begun. We’re all over the map these days. I did just listen to the Curtis Mayfield: Superfly soundtrack, but, right now, I’ve got The Slackers playing.
Do you have any "guilty pleasures", whether it be artists you're ashamed of enjoying, or music your fans simply wouldn't expect you to take an interest in?
I am obsessed with The OC. Shitty, right? Not many people know that about me, and only some know the extent of it. I’ve definitely cracked jokes before about soap operas and whatnot, but its addictive like fucking crack. I have been embarrassed about this in the past, though, yes. [Laughs] I may have gotten past that whole thing now. My new show is Entourage.
What is the songwriting process like for The Flatliners? Does one band member take full control of the creative work, or is it a group effort?
The band kind of started out that way, but these days the four of us just write everything, all together. It's amazing how much more you can get out of writing that way, as everything just sounds better. We’ll get together and just jam, without anything like ten minute long solos and long, over-the-top intros, but things just work. It’s great.
Just out of pure curiosity, what are your favourite songs on Destroy To Create, and why?
I’ve been asked this question a million times, and I never really have an answer. Its weird. I’ll throw two, random songs out there, though, just so this question has technically been 'answered.' “Broken Bones” and “Public Service Announcement.”
What are your uncensored thoughts on Toronto's punk/ska scene? Do you feel lucky to be surrounded by these bands, or is it in any way a drawback?
Through my perception, it seemed as if the Toronto scene was dead, or dying, when we first started playing around. These days, however, it's great. We were lucky to come up playing while things were starting to happen, again. The kids are so passionate about music. It's amazing. There’s definitely an eclectic mix of styles as far as Toronto bands go, as well. You’ve got raging hardcore, indie/rock-n-roll, hip-hop, ska, dub and punk bands. There’s interesting stuff going on, and a shitload of great bands such as Hostage Life, The Secret Handsnakes, and Ill Scarlett. Fuck, there’s way more.
Where do you take your inspiration from when writing lyrics, and are you proud of your own material?
We’re all inspired by everything around us. I think that’s definitely true. The songs on Destroy to Create were lyrically drenched in politics and social-insight. They could mean jack-shit to some, but I can say, without a doubt, that I am proud of all the lyrics I’ve written. But, as we’ve been writing our new album, I’ve noticed that much of the lyrical content involves coming to a profound realization about different things all throughout life. In general, I can say it's less political, but there’s more heart to it.
Do you have any advice for young bands trying to find their mould?
Give it all the time in the world. As long as you don’t give up, you’ll be able to do it. Keep busy with it, and really just keep at it.
Well, that's all the questions I have for you today. Do you have any last words you'd like to leave our readers with before we part ways?
We’re on tour this fall in Canada and the United States. Please come out to the shows. We’ll party, and have a good time. Sleep is for bitches. Hal Johnson from Body Break (this may be just a Canadian thing, I'm not sure) smokes cigarettes. Snakes on a Plane wasn’t good or bad, it was just entertaining. Oh, and thanks for hanging out.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, and we wish you the very best of luck in the future.