With an intriguing name, especially as they don’t come from Canada, we had to find out more about Toronto Blessings. And what better way to do it than by getting them to do all the work for us, and answering our Band of the Day questions…
We’re from Barnsley in South Yorkshire. It’s equal parts great and shit. There are some really great people doing cool things and there are also loads of knobheads doing shit things. Standard.
How did you meet?
We’ve known each other for years and played in lots of bands with each other such as Cavorts and G.U Medicine.
How long have you been playing as a band?
As Toronto Blessings about a year now. When Cavorts split we started writing some new songs and they were kind of coming out like Cavorts songs. Which was cool because we enjoyed doing that. But as time went on we started writing songs that sounded different and that’s what was coming naturally. So we ditched all the songs we’d wrote (about an album’s worth of tunes, so if you’re in need of some cool riffs that sound like Cancer Bats, hit us up: we can sort you out with some bangers).
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
You make the assumption that I’m not already sick. But here goes anyhow. I was in the dentist’s waiting room waiting for my girlfriend to have her check-up reading an article about Sleaford Mods. In it the singer, Jason, was described as looking like he was receiving the Toronto Blessing. I thought it was a cool turn of phrase. Good news, we got a cool name. Bad news, my girlfriend had to have a filling.
What are your influences?
At the moment we’re listening to lots of Meat Wave, IDLES, Metz, Lee Ranaldo, Pixies, Grave Pleasures, The Bronx, Pink Floyd, Sonic Youth, CHVRCHES, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Johnny Marr, Kylie Minogue.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
I don’t think anybody is unique any more. It’s a postmodern nightmare. But we’re special snowflakes because we play angular yet hooky heavy guitar music with synthesizer thrown on top for extra spice. Like the bastard lovechild of Bruce Grobbelaar, Sharon Davies and Neil Tennant.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Trying to make sense of the world. Starting conversations, being responsible for your own actions. Trying to make a connection over points of difference and similarity.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
We’ve been writing a lot so playing live has not been a main focus for us this last year or so but we’ve done a handful of gigs to keep ourselves match fit. We have an entirely new set now so we’re looking at playing that as much as possible. You can expect a fair bit of intensity, some bowel-shaking sub-bass, melodies that will stick in your head and the overwhelming urge to dance.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
I saw the infamous Dillinger Escape Plan set at the Reading Festival in 2002 when Greg had a shit onstage. It’s quite a sobering image to see an arsehole piping out a shit at midday with a crazy hangover. Then he threw it into the crowd wrapped in a tea towel. It got thrown back a couple of times then he opened up the bag and smeared the shit on himself. It was complete rock n’ roll magic and really fucking disgusting all at once. You could hear him gagging on the smell as he tried to sing. There’s nothing we could ever do that could match that and I wouldn’t want to even try.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
I use a Fender Telecaster standard Mexican model with no upgrades. Straight out of the box. Skinny Top Heavy Bottom strings from Ernie Ball. I use a two amp setup; Marshall JCM900 SLX and a Marshall1982a cab from ’77. It was once owned by The Almighty. Then an Orange Rockerverb MkII into an Orange PPC412 cab with the Hot 100 speakers. On my pedal board I keep it fairly simple; TC Polytune, Joyo AC-Tone as a preamp, EH Soul Food, Tube Screamer clone, Biyang Chorus, TC Flashback x4 and a TC Hall of Fame mini. I need a fuck off fuzz in there too but I’ve not settled on what yet.
What are your plans for 2018?
Record this album we’ve written and start to play as much as possible. We’ve got a couple of local festivals booked and we’re playing at Half Sight’s last show which should be really cool in Leeds.
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!
Before us I’d go for Rik’s other band The Lock and Keys because they’re great. Real straight up melodic punk rock as it should be. They’re all super guys too as I’m also thinking about the after party and the inevitable beervalanche. As headliner I think I’d have to go for IDLES. I fucking love that band, the new song “Colossus” is incredible and Brutalism was my favourite album by a British band last year. Yeah, IDLES, plus I think they’d be pretty handy in the after party too. They look like they know their way round some beers.