Out of all the up and coming pop-punk bands finding light in recently years, Ottawa’s We Were Sharks are among the most promising. I recently spoke with Jason Mooney, one of the band’s guitarists, about their newest EP, their recent signing with Panic State Records, and their recent tour with Harbour.
For anybody unfamiliar, how would you guys describe your band’s sound?
I would describe it as feel good pop-punk. I also like to call it ‘classic pop-punk,’ but “classic” for me is early 2000s, people often get confused with that term.
For sure. How did you decide on We Were Sharks as a band name?
We were originally called Sharks, but we were approached by someone who worked for a record label saying one of their bands from the UK was also named Sharks, and we had to change ours. So, we went with We Were Sharks.
I kinda like that. So, you’re currently on tour with Harbour, hitting cities throughout Ontario and a bit of Quebec. How’s that going so far? Any standout moments?
Our Ottawa show was great! Hometown shows are always more fun. Last night was Toronto, which was also a blast. Tonight we’re in Brantford, and we’ve never been there, so, we’ll see what happens!
You guys recently got picked up by Panic State Records. How has it been working with them, and how do you think that experience has opened doors for you as a band?
It’s been really, really great. We had already established a solid relationship over, you know, phone calls, and emails, and texts. So, to finally meet them and find out just how great they were and how they treated everything really made us feel like we were part of a family. In terms of doors its opened, it allows for more people to be a part of our family, each “member” having a different focus. It allows us to focus on our music, we have Liz [Imperiale] doing the publicist stuff, we have Aaron doing social media, stuff like that. It basically allows us to take the workload and spread it across different people all while focusing on our own thing.
So, essentially you guys are still given complete creative freedom in your work?
Oh yeah, and that’s the best part. I mean, like, we’ll have an idea and we’ll shoot it over to the guys, and they’ll let us know what they think. In the same way, they’ll have an idea, shoot it over to us, and we’ll let them know what we think. So, everybody’s in it together.
Your new EP, Not A Chance, was recently released. What was it like writing and recording the songs for that?
The recording process was totally different for me because it was our first time working with our producer, Jordan Valeriote. It was really cool to see how he took our songs and said, “Hey, why don’t you try this? Why don’t you try that?” So, we kind of went in with skeletons of what we thought were songs, and then, by the time he was done, they were completely different.
There’s seven songs on this EP. Did you have more song ideas floating around before settling on these seven in the studio?
Funny story, we actually only had five songs ready when we went to go record the EP. Then we went to Jordan, we played him one of our songs and he told us to go back home, scrap it and write a new one. Which we ended up doing overnight. Anyway, we were sitting on the idea of a five song EP for a while, but we had these two other songs we were working on, since we’re constantly writing and were like, “Yo, let’s get these done too while we’re at it.” We went to our friend Sam Guaiana and recorded those two tracks as well. To tell you the truth, I didn’t think we were actually going to put those recorded tracks on the EP, at first we wanted to release them afterwards for our fans to know we’re constantly active, but it felt like a better idea to release them all together.
You guys have just released your kickass EP, and rounded up a kickass tour. What’s next for you guys? Any future shows, summer festivals maybe?
We just released a music video for our song, “Say It Like You Mean It.” Our plan right now is to go home after this tour and do another music video. We’re playing in Cornwall in two weeks, then we’re doing some business stuff with our label. We’re also looking forward to some summer festivals, and ultimately, we have plans to take us right through to the fall.
Any plans on expanding to the United States? What are your thoughts on that?
It’s definitely tough. Being a Canadian band, trying to get to the states isn’t easy. Between work visas, finding bands to tour with, and stuff like that. Finding an American band at about the same level as we are and asking them what they’re doing in a hundred days from now is hard, since they usually don’t know that far ahead. Where as being a Canadian band, we do have to plan that far in the future, so it’s hard to organize those kinds of things.
Finally, there’s plenty of pop-punk bands in every city’s local scene that would love to have the following you guys have. What advice would you give to them?
Just do it. No matter how shitty a show is. There will be shitty nights, there will be great nights. Just don’t stop.
Although We Were Sharks’ have just finished their tour, they’re not showing any signs of slowing down. Their new EP, Not A Chance, shows a ton of potential and promise, and I look forward to what they do next.
Written and Compiled by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy