“In My Opinion, We’re Still A Pop Punk Band”
I have been a fan of Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! (CNCC) for many years now, following them ever since their debut record, Something For Nothing. A few years later,after seeing these guys become the band they are today, I was honoured to have conducted my first published interview with none other than lead vocalist, Bertrand Poncet. We talked about the band’s latest record, Get Lost, Find Yourself, the metal scene, touring and of course, poutine.
So Bert, after listening to this record, I wanted to know what it was like working without Jonathan Donnaes, and with his friend, Bastien Lafaye.
So Jonathan was our previous drummer, and he had decided to quit the band after Warped Tour last year because, y’know. He wanted to go to college, get a diploma, have a real life, and settle down. We completely understood that, and we’re still good friends with him, and then Bastien joined the band. And we don’t wanna say it’s a ‘new band’ or anything like that, but it’s more like a fresh start, y’know. It’s all good and it’s for the best.
Awesome to hear! What was it like working with Kyle Black on this record as opposed to Joey Sturgis [who recorded their previous record, Pardon My French] who is the go-to guy for the ‘core’ subgenre in the scene today?
Yeah, um, we decided to go for a much more natural sound on this record as opposed to the last one. But don’t get me wrong! Like, I’m very, very happy with the way Pardon My French turned out! I think it sounds amazing, I think Joey did a great job, but like you said, y’know, it’s all digital amps, and drums and stuff like that so it fits well with all these metal and metalcore bands. And I think it was the right choice to go with him because there were a lot of heavy songs, and breakdowns and stuff like that. For this record, we wanted to go back to the roots of punk rock with real amps, and real drums, and I think it was the right move. Working with Kyle was very different than working with Joey because, y’know, they both have their own styles, and both were great experiences. But I’m glad we went with Kyle on this record and I’m very happy with it, and I hope everyone else is happy as well.
Yeah! This record is awesome! How has this tour been in comparison to others overall?
Um, it’s great! The last time we were in the states was on Warped Tour last summer, so it feels good to be back, especially on a headlining tour because most people that come to the shows wanna hear us and our new songs and are just so excited to see us. And that’s the main difference between this tour and our last one with Yellowcard and Less Than Jake because we were the opening band. Yeah, it was great playing with them but it was always frustrating because you gotta play a really short set, and the headliner plays for an hour, y’know. But it’s a great feeling! Every show on this tour has been amazing but I’ve been sick for the first week of the tour. It was kind of a pain in the ass but yeah, finally I got my voice back and now it’s all good! We also played in New Jersey at Skate & Surf with a lot of great bands, and it kinda felt like Warped Tour again. It was pretty amazing, and we have about ten shows left on this tour.
Yeah! Just looking back now, I see you wrapped up your shows here in Canada and I gotta ask: Who has the best poutine up here in Canada?
(Laughs) I actually remember we went to this place called Smoke’s and that was one of the best and also one of the wildest. My stomach was not prepared for that (laughs). We went to another place in Montreal called uh, Longue Noir and that was really good. We get a lot of good stuff up there, and poutine is definitely a must when travelling in Canada.
Describe a typical day off when on the road.
I feel like there’s a curse on us, especially on our days off. There’s always a problem. Like last time we had a day off, and the van broke down so we spent the entire day trying to fix it. Our last day off was in Ohio, and same thing; the van broke down again. Like, it could be worse, y’know, if it happens during the tour, you can’t make the show, but it sucks because you’re all excited to get some rest and then you’re like, “Shit, that’s not gonna happen!” and now you gotta try to fix the fucking van. So yeah, it’s mostly been van issues. Although, last time we had a day off and partied a little too hard like the day before or the night before, and someone ends up in jail y’know, so there’s always something bad that happens on days off (laughs).
That’s actually pretty rough to hear. Who has been the best band to tour with overall throughout your career?
Oh! Uh, honestly we tour with so many bands, there’s not a single tour I regret. On every one we’ve met so many great bands and so many great friends but if I had to choose one, I’d have to say the guys in Our Last Night. We’re all like, really good friends and maybe we’re gonna tour together soon, but we really love these guys. They’re really nice and they’re doing really well with their covers and stuff. They just released an album as well so I think this is the kinda band that deserves way more attention, and regardless that they’re playing Warped this summer, they’re gonna do awesome stuff.
What have been your best and worst fan interactions?
There’s a lot of weirdos at every stop on tour, y’know, but on this one, I can’t really remember one. But on Warped last summer I high-fived a kid in a wheelchair that was crowdsurfing from the stage and I thought that was really awesome. But like I said, weird things happen everyday and we see weirdos everyday, but I can’t really remember one right now. But yeah, it happens, especially when you go to weird places like where the venue is in the middle of nowhere, and you always expect to have a few weirdos there but it’s always good. They’re always nice.
Yeah I completely understand. Now, I don’t wanna say it’s the ‘pop punk’ attitude, but I’m wondering what inspires your music and lyrics especially on Get Lost, Find Yourself?
Um, for the very first time in our career, we had to work with some people cause we needed help, especially with lyrics. We had some people who sat down in the studio with us and we wrote music and lyrics. I can’t say that there was one specific moment of inspiration, but this record shows everyone our experiences. Like, when you’re in a band, and have been touring like us for four years now, you learn a lot, you mature a lot, you get to meet a lot of people and sometimes you wanna show your experience. You wanna show how much more mature you are, and I think this record is exactly that. We wanted to show where we are as a band right now, and that we’re not like the band who released Something For Nothing. I mean, not anymore. We still have the Chunk roots, but I can’t really think of one band or inspiration; it’s mainly all about us and what we’ve been through, all tours and all the people we’ve met and that’s pretty much the whole idea behind the album. It’s why this record is called Get Lost, Find Yourself because we needed something new and not like a ‘Pardon My French Part 2’ y’know. We were just wondering where we stood as a band right now, and we want people to understand that we evolved.
As a fan, for me at least, I’m glad you guys didn’t go back with Sturgis just because it’s so overdone in the scene right now, both independently and professionally, that he’s the go-to guy; so I’m glad you went with someone else. It shows much more character, which I appreciated.
Exactly! I still think Pardon My French sounds good, but the mix sounds too polished and perfect, that it has mixed personalities. Sometimes you want those mistakes that bring more character to the record.
Yeah, a human sound.
Yeah! That’s it and that’s why I’m very, very happy with this record. It might not be the best mix, but I like how it sounds because it sounds accurate, y’know. The sound compliments the songs. So yeah, I’m very proud of it.
Alright I have one last question. According to your Wikipedia page, your musical style is classified as ‘easycore’. What’s your reaction to the whole subgenre war and rage debates that happen in alternative music nowadays?
Well, y’know, I’m not really a big fan of labeling music. I’m trying to find some names, or comparisons to our type of music that we play. But, music is music! You don’t need to ‘tag’ it. Yeah, like now there’s a trend in ‘easycore’, which I support because it helps the band and I hear a lot of people saying that we are easycore or whatever and I’m thinking, “Okay! That’s great!” y’know, but in my opinion, we’re still a pop punk band. We’re not trying to do anything else. We’re trying to keep the fun vibe and party vibe in our music because that’s what pop punk is about. It’s about having fun y’know. When you think of pop punk, you think of bands like Blink 182 and stuff like that. But if ‘easycore’ means that it’s the fun vibe of pop punk, then yes, I agree with that. But so far, I didn’t really get a definition of what that is, and if people are saying we’re like the center of it, I don’t know! Maybe! But I’d like to get a real definition of what easycore is, but I’ve seen it starting to take off and I support it because it helps the band, and it’s really cool to see it trending right now. But like I said, I’m not a big fan of labeling music myself I mean, we’re just trying to blend pop punk with hardcore elements, y’know.
I actually just pulled up the definition of ‘easycore’ on Wikipedia and that’s basically exactly it.
Oh! Then yeah, I guess we could say that’s what we’re doing!
Get Chunk! No, Captain Chunk’s latest record here.
Written and Compiled by Rian Cunningham