I have to say, when I opened an email to find the above picture in it, I was not quite expecting such a vicious and wild style of music to come with it. That’s right, folks, Cancel might look like a bunch of lads that you could bring home to meet your mum for Sunday lunch, but whatever you do, do not leave her alone with them. The group’s use of hardcore punk values, sparsely interwoven with a more modern style of singing in places, is a breath of fresh air within the contemporary metal scene. Without gushing any more over these Swiss madmen, let’s go ahead and get right into our interview.
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
Remo Stalder (Vocals): We are all from Lucerne, Switzerland.
How did you meet?
RS: Most of us grew up in the same village. We met Felix Mechelke, one of our guitarists, a couple years ago on a show. He first helped us out for some shows and then became a fixed member after our old guitarist decided to leave the band.
How long have you been playing as a band?
RS: I have played with Dario Anderhub (Bass) and Flurin Steiner (Guitar) for about 12-13 years. We started our first band together and haven’t parted since. The three of us were looking for something heavier around 2010 and then got in touch with Yves Bucher (Drummer). In 2011 we recorded and released our first EP together.
Before you get sick of being asked… Where does the band name come from?
Yves Bucher (Drums): I was travelling through Malaysia in 2011. At one point, I was on an island which only had electricity for a few hours per day. In the evenings the locals arranged movie nights for themselves. While I was watching a foreign movie, I saw the subtitle “Cancel the sky”. We used this as the band name in 2011. For our new album we decided to shorten our name to “Cancel”.
One of the reasons we shortened it was that it fits our music better. It’s short, it’s concise and only the bare minimum.
What are your influences?
RS: That’s quite tough to answer. I think we all changed quite a bit.
Dario Anderhub (Bass): Every Time I Die and Converge are quite an influence, but there’s many more I think.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
RS: A lot of the music I hear is pretty interesting the first time. But in the context of an LP, the songs then sound very similar to each other. Early on we focused on being diverse. We try to give every song its own personality.
YB: Somehow, it’s hard to admit, but I think in the past we were trying to sound like other bands we liked. I’m convinced we now have found our own sound and people will notice it as well. I think we now have a good mix between heaviness, darkness, and energy. With this record we really focused on sounding like it was played live – a thing we miss often in modern productions.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
RS: On the first album it was conceptional. It was a story about a father, mixed with some personal experiences. The new album is more personal. It’s ‘only’ about personal experiences, views, and thoughts I [have] had [in] the last couple months and years.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
RS: First of all, they are wild. More and more, we tried to expand our live show to give a little extra to the crowd. It began with more movement on stage, we then bought some small stage lights that fit the stage scenery.
YB: Remo always says it like it was a company. In a few words: energetic, wild, unpredictable. Right now, we practice a lot to have a wild live show where the songs still sound awesome.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
RS: Dario accidentally hit me in the face with his bass. My white shirt was covered in blood. I felt pretty “black metal”.
YB: Not wild but funny; In Indonesia I had to play on a wooden chair. Since I couldn’t adjust its height, I would sometimes lose control of myself and stand up, then couldn’t find the chair again, so I had to finish the song while standing.
Of course, the chair was there, but I couldn’t risk falling on the floor if it wasn’t or if it was too low down.
What kit do you use/guitars do you play/etc.?
YB: My drum kit is a Swiss made custom drum by LB Drums. I use an S.C.S. bronze snare, which is another Swiss custom brand. After years I found a perfect cymbal set for my needs; a 15” Zildjian K custom thin hi-hat, 20” Meinl Bycance brilliant crash, 20” Sabian AAX Iso Crash and an 18” Sabian HHX Evolution effect crash. My sticks are father 5B fusion, and my pedals are Tama Iron Cobra Hi-Hat and Speed Cobra double bass.
DA: Live, I play a Musicman Stingray 4-string bass into an orange terror bass and an Ampeg cab. On the new album we recorded with two amps. An Ampeg SVT classic as clean signal and a Bad Cat Hot Cat Guitar Amp for the grind.
Flurin Steiner (Guitar): I play both live and in the studio a Gibson SG or LP with an Orange Rockerverb into a Mesa cab.
Felix Mechelke (Guitar): Live, I play a Fender Strat with EMG pickups with a Kemper into an Orange cab. In the studio, I mostly played a Diezel VH4. I also used an EGC Guitar which is completely made of aluminium.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
RS: Right now we’re promoting our new album Dark Reveries which will be out on the 11th May 2018.
What are your plans for 2018?
RS: Playing shows again and try to promote the album Dark Reveries as much as we can.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
RS: Metallica always wins! I think Every Time I Die, Norma Jean, or Converge would be cool as well.
From previous Band of the Day Muscular Child: Dave Grohl, Mick Jagger, Prince – Who would you kiss, who would you marry and who would you kill?
RS: I would marry Dave Grohl (dance to Nirvana at the wedding party), kiss Prince (I always wondered how it would feel to kiss that little moustache). Sorry Mick, this machete is for you.
YB: I’d kiss Mick Jagger, he surely had lots of girls and knows what he’s doing. I’d also marry Dave Grohl. I’m 100% sure he’s such a nice guy and will clean the house for me. It’s dark humour since Price is already dead, but yes, I was never a fan of him.
From another BotD, Vanity: If you could go back in time and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
RS: Listen to music more carefully. Learn to write songs in the beginning.
YB: Learn another instrument, no one cares for the drummer.
And from Charly&Faust: What’s your underwear colour?
RS: This red, leopard patterned two-way speedo doesn’t surprise me
YB: Under… What?
Dark Reveries is out now and is available to order here.