By: Sheena Lyonnais
November 01, 2007
There’s no denying the fact that a lot of punk/hardcore/emo bands sound pretty much the same. Genres have a way of blending bands with each other to the point it becomes hard to differentiate who is who in this sea of similarity. Winnipeg’s Sick City have a found a way to set themselves apart through dynamic performances and honest lyrics.
Their first full-length album Nightlife was released in October, and TMS caught up with frontman Josh Youngson at their Toronto show with the Reason and Boys Night Out to dish the dirt on the new album. In true rock star fashion Youngson was chain smoking, drunk off jack and hilarious as hell.
JY: Fourteen dollars at the record store isn’t that much to change your life.
TMS: How would it do that?
JY: I don’t know, I think you might start acting differently. I don’t know if you’re religious, but I mean you’re going to start based after Sick City-ism.
TMS: Is that like the new Scientology?
JY: It’s definitely not Scientology, it’s way better.
TMS: Are you god?
JY: Am I God? Technically yeah…no, don’t print any of this! You can’t put sarcasm in print. Put all the sarcasm in italics!
Nightlife was produced in Atlanta, Georgia by Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount (Jimmy Eat World, Cartel). Youngson, who is joined by guitarists Dorian Paszkowsi and Dave Grabowski, bassist T.J Stevenson and drummer Joel Neufield (brother of Comeback Kid’s singer Andrew Neufield), is signed to Trustkill records in the U.S. and Smallman records here in Canada. Their previous release, an EP entitled Where Do We Go From Here was self-released, making the experience of working with big name producers somewhat surreal for the band.
“I was outside having a cigarette and little Bow Wow came out and I was like ‘where am I?,’” Youngson said. “We were recording down the hallway from Juvenile. We shared a lounge for a couple days with Collective Soul. When we were doing preproduction, I grabbed a guitar and cranked it up, I was playing Shine. I didn’t see them again after that I don’t think.”
Though they’ve been signed for less than a year, the band has already toured across Canada and the U.S., a departure from their hometown recognition and comfort zone in Winnipeg.
JY: Winnipeg has always put out lots of awesome stuff. I love Winnipeg, it has a great music scene I think it beats out a lot of major cities in Canada and a lot of major cities all over the place. The Weakerthans are amazing, Comeback Kid is amazing, I mean Guess Who have some amazing songs. Neil Young is from Winnipeg. Harlequin, like nobody will get that one. It’s like a really decent 80s band that has one single.
TMS: You should cover it!
JY: We did actually. I don’t know why we did. At the end of our set, there was a bunch of guys from Harlequin, it was like Harlequin’s anniversary and we played the end of that song at the very end of our set.
TMS: How do people see your band in Winnipeg?
JY: We do really well in Winnipeg. Whenever we go home we sell it out. When we released our first EP we sold out a place called the Ramada, there was like 700 people, we went on tour and there was like 50 people, and we were like isn’t it supposed to be like this everywhere?
Their show in Toronto was what Youngson described as a “staircase up” from their previous one, which was mostly for agents and not fans. It was their first tour and nobody knew who they were, making the experience “terrible.” Luckily things have shifted for the band.
“Everytime we go on tour more and more people know the words to songs. We’ve got a lot of emails and lot of fan response saying they love the record. Some kid in Regina said he was going through some really hard times with his dad and it helped him. That’s all I need to know. I’ m like a doctor, I prescribe him music. It’s a little pricey. When I do it on iTunes, its 99 cents. Some people run out of a pharmacy, I run out of iTunes and our merch table and HMV or any other fine distributor of music.”
Currently Sick City is touring the U.S. They will return home for Christmas and will announce new dates in the new year. For now you can check them out at www.myspace.com/sickcity or request their new video for “Turning Heads” on Much Music and Youtube.
JY: You should request it everyday, all day.
TMS: For the rest of my life?
JY: Yeah you should quit work, like you shouldn’t even be doing this interview you should be at home requesting it. Or at least while you’re doing the interview you’re not really paying attention to the questions you’re just texting it to your local radio station.