Fuck with the bull, you get the horns: An interview with Bison B.C.
TBR: So first off, there’s some big news with the lineup change: For those who hadn’t heard, Brad MacKinnon made the decision to step aside. Good to see the band take Brad’s resignation in stride and that things remain peaceful between everyone. Care to say a few words about Matt’s time with the band? Give us a few of your best memories of your time with him.
Dan: Brad was a lovely dude. It was a wild ride and we were bummed when he decided to get off.
TBR: The other side to all of this is that Matt Wood (or “Watty Moods”) has stepped up to beat the skins from here. Apart from that hillarious story, meeting him at the local watering hole, how have the first couple of months been? Has he been subjected to any sort of initiation rites since joining?
Dan: It’s been awesome, pretty much five years in the making. He was the original choice but was too busy at the time.
TBR: How would you compare the two of them insofar as their playing style? You mentioned a bit about Brad’s songwriting contributions in your news bulletin… Is that going to be hard to replace?
James: Replacing an original member is pretty drastic, but Matt has been around the band since day one and understands what we’re going for. We started writing with him immediately and it sounds like a motherfucker.
TBR: It’s easy to assume that the first little while with Matt is mainly about learning the songs – you guys have an upcoming tour with Weedeater and Saviours so I guess you feel pretty comfortable throwing him right into the fire, eh? How did the tour come together anyways?
Matt: It’s a little daunting, but there’s really no better way to learn than to tour. Their suits talked to our suits and here we are.
TBR: You’ve been out on the road with Weedeater before, right? What’s the relationship like between you all? You’ve GOT to have at least a couple of good stories about being on the road with those guys!!
Matt: We haven’t, but I did a few shows with them with my old band Goatsblood. I remember Dixie eating a Oyster Po’boy before a show and puking it up on stage. It looked the same coming out as going in.
James: We were going to some shows with them a while back, but then Dixie went and shot his toe off.
TBR: I don’t wanna turn this into any kind of a pissing match – you guys are from BC, so I know that you can keep up with just about anyone – but generally and overall, who’s got the best technique when it comes to dealing with the kind? “Dixie” Dave shared a pretty sweet recipe for his brownies with us…
Matt: Take a toke, follow it immediately with a shot of bourbon, try to blow out the smoke.
TBR: Back to serious business for a moment: What are the plans once the tour is completed? Are you guys going into “writing mode”? Do you have many new tunes written or were you guys taking a breather during the search for a new drummer? In other words… how long before you’re back in the studio??
James: When we get off tour we will take advantage of the bleak Vancouver winter and write some ragefully depressing music.
TBR: You guys have been through a lot the last year in particular. Once there’s more time for writing new songs, how do you see the affect of these changes on the new tunes or are you guys still approaching songwriting the same way you always have?
James: The process will be the same. It will be exciting to have Matt’s fresh brain (well, sort of) to contribute.
TBR: Will the next record be coming out on Metal Blade as well? What’s it been like working with such an iconic label?
Dan: Yes it will. They’re still OK with us not including any guitar sweeps in our songs
TBR: To me, Canada has always had a number of kick-ass bands and yet we always seem to be under-represented in the world market. Do you feel like the past couple of years that this is changing for the better, the worse or stayed about the same? Got any thoughts you’d like to share on that?
Matt: Thank you for recognizing that. It’s definitely gotten better in the last 10 years that I’ve been touring, but we’ll always be at a disadvantage being a Canadian band – less people, less places to play etc. As a result, Canadian bands stick together.
First of all, for those who may not have been aware of the band’s history, could you give a quick run-down on how and when you guys all met? Are you all BC natives?
Dan: The scene is small, so it was inevitable that we would meet. Masa, Matt and myself are all from B.C. James is from Manitoba.
TBR: Clearly, there are a number of different ways that nature has influenced the sound and image of the band. Is that simply a result of being a product of your environment or does it run deeper with any of you guys?
Matt: A bit of both. Everything is bigger and badder in regards to nature. Even though we all live in the city, everyone’s got a little country in them. Without sounding too dramatic, your priorities are a little different when survival is tougher.
TBR: Maybe this word is a bit too strong, but would any of you consider yourselves “activists” in some way with respect to environmental issues?
James: Not particularly, we try to live well and consider the world around us. I recently bought a portable butt pouch, so when I’m shooting up on a playground, I don’t leave my butts lying around.
TBR: You guys grew up with some hellified Punk influences. Who are a few of your favourite Canadian Punk bands of all time.
- Swallowing Shit
- Endless Blockade
- Personality Crisis
- Red Fisher
- Guilt Parade
…and a few of your top Canadian Metal bands, all time:
- Vile Intent
- Burning Love
TBR: How is the scene in Vancouver and the rest of BC these days? What’s the best part of being in Vancouver? The worst part?
Matt: The scene in Vancouver/B.C. is alive and thriving. The best part is a real feeling of community in the scene. The worst part is that there’s nowhere to play.
TBR: For those who are planning to travel to Vancouver, please give us…
Top 3 places to eat:
- The Carnegie
- The dumpster behind Sunrise Grocery
- Budgie’s Burritos
Top 3 places to drink:
- Our houses/Our friend’s houses
- A park/A beach
- There’s no bar scene in Vancouver for dirtbags like us
Top 3 sightseeing destinations:
- Drive an hour in any direction
- Main and Hastings
- Anywhere except Surrey
TBR: Everybody loves home cookin’, but what’s your favourite Canadian tour destination apart from Vancouver?
Dan: James’s sister Barb’s house in Toronto.
TBR: BC is known for producing some of finest marijuana in the world. You’ve been around touring quite a bit the last 10 years or so… Care to confirm or deny that?
TBR: Is it fairly easy to find good weed in BC? The way some people tell it, killer tops are just growing out of every ditch by the side of the road…
Matt: It’s everywhere and it’s decriminalized, so…
TBR: Got any favourite strains or do you just smoke whatever’s on hand?
Matt: I’m not too knowledgeable or discerning. Whatever’s on hand is cool.
TBR: …and before we sign off, anything else about the immediate future for Bison that the people need to know?
James: We are going to destroy you all.
…and as always, thanks to Greg Cristman for the killer pics!
More of Greg’s pics from Bison’s perfomance at Europa, Brooklyn, NY HERE!