Canada's Death Wheelers are set to release their debut LP for Riding Easy Records. 'I Tread on your Grave' is a brilliant slab of dirty, acid soaked, heavy rock'n'roll.
With a cinematic slant; taking samples and influences from biker and exploitation movies from the late 60's and early 70's; it's a record with attitude. Without a doubt, 'I Tread on your Grave' is a serious contender for Atom Heart Mutha's albums of the year list.
I caught up with Max 'The Axe' Tremblay to ask about the new album and how the original ideas and concepts were fully realised right down to the artwork.
Hey Max, good to catch up with you. How are you doing and where are you speaking to me from right now?
Hey John, I am doing fine up here in the great white north.
For those that don’t know, tell me a little a bit about the band's history.
I started the band as a solo project in 2015 playing all of the instruments and decided to bring it to the stage at the end of 2015. I recruited local musicians and we started gigging the old material but it didn’t take long until we started writing new songs together which are the ones on I Tread On Your Grave.
What processes did you go through to start recording the new album ‘I Tread On Your Grave’?
We had a rough idea of what we wanted but it morphed as the songs came together and I started creating the artwork for the album. It really became what it is now at the end with the plot synopsis and the addition of the samples.
The samples really add to the experience of listening to the record and I think giving the album a plot synopsis is really clever and it fits too. Is this a formula you'll work at again for future recordings?
Yes, this is something that has been part of the band’s identity since day one and will remain. It would also be great to create our own vocal samples instead of taking bits and pieces from other movies/documentaries as it would give more unity/coherence in the end. Integrating samples in the middle of songs is also something we’ve toyed around a little bit but is definitely something we want to exploit on the next album. The ultimate for us would be to score an actual biker flick just like The Shooting Guns did for the Wolfcop movies.
Was it a long recording session?
The recording session lasted only 2 days since we decided to record everybody in the same room together instead of recording each instrument separately. This speeds up the process and keeps the jammy organic feeling we wanted to convey on the record. The only downside is that you can’t modify/manipulate much of what was recorded after. Also, if somebody fucks up during the take we had to start over. By recording all together we stay away from playing to a metronome which would make the music a little bit lifeless. Playing to the drummer gives us those micro fluctuation which gives the song this natural pulsation. We also decided to not alter anything in order to keep the recordings as authentic as possible. We also kept overdubs to a minimum to not overcrowd the tracks. Basically we wanted this record to sound like when we play live, we wanted to be able to recreate everything in a live setting.
Tell me about “Bikesploitation”? It’s a brilliant way to describe the music.
I didn’t come up with the term, this is actually a term that is used to describe movies that exploited the theme of outlaw bikers in the 60’s-70’s. What sparked this movie making movement is the cinematographic success of the famous biker flick The Wild One starring Marlon Brando in 1953. After the initial success of this movie, a wave of other movies in the same style came out in the sixties as studios tried to recreate this success with lower budgets and cruder depiction of violence/nudity. Small studios really pushed the envelope with some movies from this era trying to blend in horror as well (Psychomania, Werewolves on Wheels). Our album is an ode to this era of movie making.
How did you get involved with Riding Easy Records?
I’ve known Dan (the man!) for a few years having traded records with him and having met him at PSYCHO Las Vegas. When we were done recording the album, I sent it to him just to see what he thought of the final product. Next thing we knew, we were on the label!
How did you come up with the concept for the cover art? Everything started with the album title and plot synopsis. From there, I knew exactly what I wanted, a biker standing in the middle of a graveyard. Since I had 100% creative control over the album cover (I am responsible for all the band’s imagery) I made no compromise and created exactly what I had envisioned for this movie/album cover. It is very crude/simple and colour scheme is flashy,
Will you be touring the album widely?
We will be doing a few shows here in Canada to promote the album and hopefully some shows outside our home country as well. We are currently looking into Europe, stay tuned.
I hope you do, I'd like to see this played out live and loud. Are you planning far off in to the future; what happens next?
Brainstorming a concept for album II!
It's been great to catch up with you Max, thanks.
Good luck with the album release!