Beartooth has been one of my favourite bands to come out of the last few years, and so I was deeply honoured to sit down with guitarist Taylor Lumley to talk about the band’s new record, Aggressive, and their plans for the summer.
First off, I gotta say that your April Fools prank was brilliant. I saw comments ranging from anger to people finding it super funny and clever. Can you explain how you got the idea to troll everyone with that jazz version of “Dead?”
[Laughs] Well, people knew that there was a new record in the works so we kinda just wanted to play off of that a little bit. We came up with a couple of different ideas and that, to us, seemed like the funniest one. I mean, there were a couple of other ideas we had, but I can’t remember them off the top of my head just because that one worked out so well. But, that ended up being the funniest one so we kinda just stuck with that one. I mean, I think it turned out great. We all thought the joke was really funny, and it seemed to have a pretty big impact, so I was excited about that one.
Looking at your tour dates, you’re hitting a lot of foreign countries, which is awesome to see. Does it bum you out a bit not to be on warped tour this year or did you feel that you needed a break from that kind of summer?
Um, kinda fifty-fifty on that one. We’re slightly bummed just because so many of our friends are playing it this year. We’re kinda sad that we kinda miss out on the ‘punk rock summer camp’ for a year, but our goal is to try and play again next year so we’re not gonna stray too far from the Warped crowd. It’s also really cool for us to do the European festival run because it’s something we’ve never done before, and we’ve done Warped Tour twice now. We took the opportunity last year to say, “Okay, we’re gonna take a break next year, and do some different stuff.” We’d love to come back, but this year we get to play the main stage at Download, play at Graspop and other cool festivals that we’ve never even been involved with before. I’m excited about it, and we get to go to Italy for the first time; I think it’s gonna be really cool. I’m excited to see how the crowds are, and be a tourist in places we’ve never been before.
I understand that you guys parted ways with your drummer. What kind of effect did it have on everyone?
It’s tough for him to go, but we’re still friends. He’s my roommate, we still all hang out, he’s been one of my very close friends for almost ten years now. It was a bummer to see him go, but we got Connor Dennis [Being As An Ocean’s former drummer] filling in for us right now, and he’s the best possible fit for having to deal with that situation. He’s a great dude; we love hanging out with him. He’s funny, and he’s an awesome drummer. It was kind of strange at first, but at the same time Brandon is still doing very well, we’re still doing very well, so there hasn’t been a downside to it. It was slightly weird of a transition, but I think it honestly worked out in the best way it possibly could’ve.
I’m happy to hear that. So, I was going to some of my friends for questions for you guys, and one of the ones that came up was the fact that a lot of people prefer the sound of the Sick EP as oppose to the newer stuff. Do you feel that the metal community is unaccepting of change sometimes?
Oh, absolutely! If we’re gonna do what other people want us to do, instead of what we wanna do, then it doesn’t really make sense to us. It’s something we’ve tried to stick to since the beginning. We’re gonna play, and do what we wanna do, because we’re the ones doing it. There’s no ulterior motive to us doing different things or anything like that. I think this record has the best mix and tones that we’ve ever had. If people don’t like it, that sucks, but they don’t have to listen to it if they don’t want to.
Are there any artists/bands that people would be surprised to find out you listen to? Do you have any guilty pleasure artists to jam to?
Personally, I’m one of the biggest Katy Perry fans ever. I love her music. If it’s a night drive in the van, I’ll spin “Teenage Dream” at least once. Kam really loves John Mayer. He loves chill CCR and James Taylor and stuff like that. We’re kind of all across the board in terms of music. Tears for Fears is one of Caleb’s favourite bands of all time. We’re kinda all over the place! We like weird, out there kinda stuff, just as much as we do heavy music.
Do you guys have any idea of when you’re coming back to Canada besides Heavy Montreal?
We’ll be doing a tour in the fall that’s definitely coming back around that way.
And last question, we ask this to any artist we interview: what is on your bucketlist?
For me personally, I want to ride a motorcycle across the United States. It’s been a goal of mine for awhile, and it’s definitely something I want to accomplish.
Be sure to check out Beartooth’s new record, Aggressive, available anywhere you buy music!
Written and Compiled by Rian Cunningham
*edited by Danielle Kenedy